With whole body vibration machines, you can never get too much power. Or can you? Although it may seem counterintuitive at first sight, there is such a thing as too much power, as studies have shown that once you exceed a certain frequency, body vibration machines no longer exert their beneficial effects on the human body.
These platforms send energy waves through the body, stimulating the muscles, improving circulation and lymph drainage and promoting a higher bone density. However, the muscle fibers, which absorb most of the vibration, can only respond to a certain amount of electrical stimuli. Our muscles, just like any other physical object in this world, have a certain frequency at which they resonate, and once that value is exceeded, they no longer respond.
The maximum frequency to cause muscle activation is 50Hz, but proper muscle activation happens even at lower values, of about 20Hz. Under this value, you can still use body vibration machines for massage and relaxation, while above 50Hz, no matter how much you increase the frequency, you won’t get a different response or effect.
Knowing these facts is important before purchasing a WBV platform for home use, as lots of people who buy whole body vibration machines end up disappointed with the “lack of results”. It’s therefore crucial to know what a WBV machine can be used for and what it won’t do.
3 applications of whole body vibration machines
1. Massage and relaxation
When using a vibration platform at a frequency that’s between 5 and 12 Hz, you can get a relaxing massage, and relieve the tension from sore and painful muscles. This range of frequencies is also good for stimulating the blood and lymph flow, so if your feet tend to get swollen in the evening due to poor circulation and water retention or if your work involves spending lots of hours standing, a session of WBV before bedtime can solve these problems.
2. Muscle toning and strengthening
Another way to use whole body vibration machines at home is for strength workouts. Although they don’t look like classical weight machines, these platforms can stimulate your muscles very efficiently, increasing the load on your body and making it “feel” heavier. When you perform an exercise on a WBV platform, the muscles have to work harder than when the same exercise is done using bodyweight only. So you can replace your strength routine with WBV training, or incorporate this machine in your daily workouts, for toning and strengthening your muscles.
3. Rehabilitation and active recovery
Last, you can use a body vibration machine for rehabilitation and recovery purposes. Again, the frequency you’ll be using will be lower than 20Hz, but in some cases a higher value might be recommended. You can increase the frequency progressively, as your body recovers and you feel stronger, this form of training being a low-impact activity that puts less stress on joints, bones and muscles than lots of the classical rehabilitation exercises.