In one abstract presented by a research team within the New York University School of Medicine, Vibration Training (VT) helped rehabilitate all three patients in this small study group. These patients all had spinal injuries of various etiologies. All three were unable to stand at the beginning of the trial. At the end of the trial, two out of the three were not only able to stand for short periods but walk with walking aids. The third patient was able to get up and stand with minimal assistance and progressively increased their level of standing time. These patients showed that by using VT under specialist supervision they were able to partially rehabilitate the motor dysfunction caused by their different spinal injuries (1).
VT, which elicits reflex standing through the contraction of muscles, was able to rehabilitate these patients with phenomenal results. This reflex standing is involuntary, like all contraction stimulated by VT of frequencies/speed
>10 Hz. These miraculous results only show the claims of VT are legitimate: new and improved neural pathways are established which lead to gains in muscle tone, strength and power. These gains are structural and functional. Without these new and improved neural pathways no gains would have been made and a trainee would be standing on a platform and vibrating with no functional gains.
The view of this research group is that VT represents an alternative to fitness effects gained through Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) and/or treadmill induced walking with partial support (2).
VT can also been used to treat neurological dysfunction like MS and Parkinson‟s Disease (PD). These are disorders that involve of the neurological system. One example is a documented case of treating a wheelchair bound patient suffering from PD. After 16 months of VT as part of his rehabilitation treatment he was able to stand unaided and his gait scores improved from 40 to a consistent 80. (3)
In a clinical trail where motor control was assessed by the Unified Parkinson‟s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) motor score there was a significant (p<0.01) improvement of 16.8% and a 25% and 24% improvement in tremor and rigidity (4). The conclusion was reached that VT can be regarded as an additional device in physical therapy (5).
VT also influences the postural control and mobility of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients. In a double blind randomised control study only 2-4.4 Hz was applied over five 1-minute sessions with 1-minute rest between each. The measured effects were strongest 1 week after: the Get Up and Go test score change was from 9.2 seconds to 8.2, the postural assessment score increased from 70.5 to 77.5 (p=0.041) (6).
GIANUTSOS, J., L.C. OAKES, V. SIASOCO, S. APPLEBLATT, J. HAMEL, J.T. GOLD. Motor rehabilitation of spinal cord dysfunction by means of whole body vibration. Research poster 222 from the New York School of Medicine presented by the AAPMR
GIANUTSOS, J., J.H. AHN, L.C. OAKES, E.F. RICHTER III, B.B. GRYNBAUM, H.G. THISTLE. The effects of whole body vibration on reflex induced standing in persons with chronic and acute spinal cord injury. Poster presentation to: The 3rd Mediterranean Congress of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Athens, Greece, September 4-7, 2000.
GIANUTSOS, J., L.C. OAKES, N. PRUFER, V. KRAMSKII, E.F. RICHTER III, M. HUTCHINSON. Poster presented to: The 3rd Mediterranean Congress of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Athens, Greece, September 4-7, 2000.
HASS, C.T., S. TURBANSKI, K. KESSLER, D. SCHMIDTBLEICHER. The effects of random whole-body- vibration on motor symptoms in Parkinson‟s Disease. Neurorehabil. 21(1): 29-36. 2006.
HASS, C.T., S. TURBANSKI, D. SCHMIDTBLEICHER, A. FRIEDRICH, P. DUISBERG. The effects of random whole-body-vibration on postural control in Parkinson‟s Disease. Res. Sports. Med. 13(3): 243-256. 2005.
SCHUHFRIED, O., C. MITTERMAIER, T. JAVANOVIC, K. PIEBER, T. PATERNOSTRO-SLUGA. Effects of whole-body vibration in patients with multiple sclerosis: a pilot study. Clin. Rehabil. 19(8): 834-842. 2005.