Do Vibration Machines Really Work?

Have you ever been to the gym and noticed a person standing on an odd-looking floor plate machine and shaking uncontrollably? These are called vibration boards, and while you may find them at wellness centers and gyms, they are also available to purchase for in-home use. Verywell Health reports that there are many professionals who offer vibration board therapy for healing, including massage therapists, occupational therapists, and physical therapists.

Vibration board enthusiasts claim that participating in whole-body vibration therapy for 15 minutes, three times a week, offers health benefits such as fat burning, improved flexibility, better blood flow, weight loss, and strength building (via Mayo Clinic). While using the machine, the vibrating sensation prompts your muscles to repeatedly contract and relax, which can make the body feel like it's exerting itself.  

Unfortunately, there is not enough research currently available to fully support these theories. However, Healthline reports that there are some studies that show using a vibration board might offer some of the claimed benefits.

More research is needed to determine the effectiveness of vibration machines

Vibration board therapy for weight loss has shown to have some promise, but according to a 2019 review published in the Journal of Musculoskeletal and Neuronal Interactions, more extensive studies are needed to support the weight loss theory. Research did find that during a six month span, whole-body vibration contributed to fat loss but did not change body fat percentage. 

A 2012 trial published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine had participants use vibration board therapy twice a week for eight weeks. The results found a significant decrease in skin fold thickness and by the end of the study, a decrease in total body fat mass. The researchers report these results to be beneficial and suggest further continued research.

A 2016 study over the course of nine months found that whole-body vibration, in addition to a low calorie diet, yielded the same weight loss results as a fitness program with a low calorie diet.

In addition to fat loss, Verywell Health states that vibration therapy is used in alternative medicine treatments for conditions such as arthritis, muscle pain, Parkinson's disease, fibromyalgia, and for lymphatic system stimulation. Always discuss new medical treatments with your doctor for optimal health results.