Ever since pop singer Madonna told reporters that her very fit form was due to working out with something called a ‘vibration plate’, a lot of my patients have asked me about this new fitness device. Other celebrities, as well, have reported fitness success by using vibration plates. I was familiar with vibration plate exercise previously from sports medicine as many athletes use them to get in shape faster. I did a little more research on them – their pros and possible cons – and here’s what I found.
Just What Is a Vibration Plate?
A vibration plate is a device that looks much like a stair stepper without the steps. Instead, it has a vibrating plate on a sturdy platform that you stand on. It has the side handles you can hold onto and the electronic settings control panel in front of you. Powered by electricity, the vibration plate intensely vibrates your entire body – causing up to 90% of all your muscle fibers, ligaments, and connecting tissues to rapidly contract – about 30-50 times a second. This is done for several minutes in low to moderate frequencies.
With these rapid contractions, it exercises, stretches, tones, strengthens all your muscles, ligaments and connecting fibers. In turn, all this muscle and fiber movement against bone encourages bone density growth – a good thing especially as you get older. Vibration plate exercise also burns calories faster than most traditional exercise – about 170 calories in 5 minutes – thus can aid in weight loss. Here’s one of the best parts. Vibration plate exercise accomplishes a total body workout in about 10-15 minutes.
The Benefits of Vibration Plate Training
By now you’re likely thinking, wow, vibration plates sound incredible. Well, in many ways they are. Their benefits don’t end with strengthened muscles, bones, and fat loss, though. Here are some other benefits of vibration plate training:
- Improves the flow of lymph fluids. Lymph glands do not have any pumps in them so the only way they are drained is by exercise. Stagnant lymph fluid can lead to disease.
- Decreases blood pressure. As we get older, our blood pressures start to rise from a variety of reasons. Vibration plate exercise, like other exercise, can help stabilize it.
- Increases blood circulation. Better circulation means all tissues are being revitalized with nutrients carried in your blood.
- Improves oxygen uptake. Every tissue of your body needs oxygen. Regular exercise always helps to intake more oxygen, but vibration plates increase this process. More oxygen flow throughout your body means more energy for you.
- Increases production of Human Growth Hormone. HGH helps repair all bodily tissues, muscles and bones. HGH also helps increase serotonin – the “feel good” hormone and decrease cortisol – the “feel stressed” hormone.
- Boosts immune system function. Anything that stimulates your lymph gland fluid movement boosts your immune function.
- Boosts metabolism. As your circulation and oxygen levels increase and you build muscle strength, in turn your metabolic processes will increase. This helps you to burn more fat even when at rest.
- Strengthens joints, relieves pain. Movements on the vibration plate strengthen your muscles and ligaments that support joints, giving more stability to them, and allowing the joints to move more easily with less pain. The increased blood circulation can help decrease inflammation and remove toxins from the joint that also cause pain.
Any Downsides to Vibration Plates?
With all these healthy benefits of vibration plates, you might be wondering, if there are any disadvantages, or downsides, to using them? Well, possibly. Here are some potential disadvantages of using a vibration plate:
- Vibrations take getting used to. The vibrations on these plates are intense. Starting at very low frequencies should help this though.
- Not a magic bullet. You still need to eat a healthy diet to stay, or become, fit.
- Possible retina, brain, kidney concerns. Recent research out of the State University of New York (SUNY) focused on whether vibration plates could be harmful to your eyes – perhaps causing tears or detachments of the retina. Other concerns focused on the vibrations possibly harming the brain, as in “shaken baby” syndrome, or the kidneys. However, research has been inconclusive to date.
- Not for bad backs, nerve, blood clot conditions. People with slipped disks or pinched nerves may worsen these conditions with vibration plate exercise. If you’ve had blood clots before, intense vibrations may dislodge one and cause stroke.
While vibration plates can be amazing fitness aids they really don’t do anything that other forms of exercise can’t do – they only do it faster. Get certified training on how to use them, use them for just a few minutes at a time and always have a spotter nearby.
Mark Rosenberg, M.D.
Natural Health News
The Benefits of a Vibration Plate, http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/fitness/equipment/the-benefits-of-a-vibration-plate.html
Cellulite and vibration platform training: Separating Fact From Fiction, http://www.lipotherapeia.com/cellulite-questions-answers/cellulite-and-vibration-platform-training-separating-fact-fr.html
photo credit: vibrationplatebuzz.co.uk