What is Vibration Training?
Vibration training is a method of exercise designed for muscle wasting diseases and conditions, such as MS, and any other illness that systematically takes away muscle control, whether it be muscle based, central nervous system depletion or “brain to body” interrupted communication. With MS muscular strength can be lost in the arms and legs as a result of loss of muscle control, which can exacerbate loss of muscle through the associated complications to exercise. Vibration Training can be an effective form of exercise in these circumstances as it works on involuntary reflexes rather than physical activity.
What are involuntary reflexes, what are they and why are they so special?
(1) You are born with them
(2) They are very powerful responses
(3) You do not need to be fit to use them
(4) They do not degrade with illness or old age
(5) They respond to their environment, which means no voluntary input from the brain is needed. In fact even complete spinal cord severance does not stop the muscles from reacting to vibration
Basically these are the base reflexes that range from something as mundane as blinking to full on fight or flight. But Vibration Training specifically targets muscles with directed controlled vibration at particular angles to fire off a “catching response”. This is usually the kind of response in the muscles you would use to walk down a set of stairs. Each time you go down you “catch” your own bodyweight, so you do not fall down. In a movement like that you do not really think about it, it just seems logical and normal if it happens. But how does this really work?
When your foot strikes the floor, your local muscles that receive the pressure automatically respond by producing the exact force required to hold your body weight up, in this case your legs muscles. This happens independently from everything else and is a reaction to force that is built into the very muscle and surrounding nerve tissue itself. And how powerful is this reaction? Well because of gravity pulling us down at 30 feet a second, just walking off a normal step, an 80 kg person is forced to produce 160kg of force to not fall down. And you have to catch that on one leg. That’s a 160kg squat on one leg.
Voluntarily we all know that is not possible for anyone but the best athletes to produce that kind of pressure, but you do it every time you walk down a set of stairs, without even thinking about it. This is a very smart way to put pressure and movement into a muscle that voluntarily does not function well, for whatever reason. What Vibration Training is all about, is simulating that response by putting you in certain poses and putting your feet or hands in contact with a Vibration Platform and let your involuntary reflexes do the rest. It is all very controlled and there is zero risk to you. The lighter forms can even be done sitting down. I know it sounds to good to be true but it works and it is undeniable exercise. You will feel like you have worked out and you will feel tired afterwards. So make sure you are prepared for that. But remember you do not have to be fit to do this, only alive and willing.
So what can Vibration Training actually do for you.....
(1) Increase circulation
(2) Increase muscle mass
(3) Send signals back towards the brain, which is a very large part of traditional Physio work
(4) Increase muscle control through a combination of the above
(5) Increase bone density
(6) Increase flexibility and reduce joint stiffness or pain