I’m Pickin’ Up Good Vibrations

(Editor’s note: This article is from a past issue of Brain World magazine. If you enjoy this article, please support us with a print or digital subscription!)

For thousands of years in many traditions around the world, vibration has been used as a form of exercise to release stress and heal illness. Ancient Greeks, for example, promoted vibration therapy to heal bruising and increase joint mobility. In Asian culture, vibration is a form of energy, and vibration massage has been used to reduce pain and encourage healing. Today, whole-body vibration (WBV) devices are used to prevent bone-mass loss for astronauts returning from space.

Vibration is not exercise per se — like doing pushups or going running—but it can be a good exercise for the body and the brain. Vibration exercise, in a physical sense, is a forced oscillation where energy is transferred from an actuator (the vibration device) to a resonator (the human body, or parts of it). Brain Wave Vibration is a form of vibration exercise where one usually starts by intentionally making the body vibrate by shaking or bouncing.

BETTER FLEXIBILITY, BONE AND MUSCLE; LESS PAIN

“Evidence suggests that acute vibration exercise seems to elicit a specific warm-up effect, and that vibration training seems to improve muscle power,” Jorn Rittweger writes in the European Journal of Applied Physiology, noting that “the potential benefits over traditional forms of resistive exercise are still unclear.”

Although there are concerns about chronic vibration in an occupational setting (construction jobs, etc.), if it is used as an exercise, it has many benefits:

  • In the elderly, vibration can help improve balance and muscles.
  • Together with conventional exercise, it can reduce pain and fatigue in women with fibromyalgia.
  • Acute vibration exercise seems to be effective for knee stabilization in rehab.
  • In Type-2 diabetes patients, vibration can also can decrease glucose levels in plasma and show improved glucose tolerance.
  • In patients with Parkinson’s disease, acute whole-body vibration has been found to reduce body sway and to reduce tremors and rigidity.
  • Body sway was also reduced in patients with multiple sclerosis.
  • For children who were not able to stand by themselves, vibration helped improve their functional abilities and independence.

GOOD FOR STRESS MANAGEMENT

Vibration is now being studied to help improve emotional states. According to the journal, Neuroscience Letter (Kang, D.H., et al., “The effects of mind-body training on stress reduction, positive affect, and plasma catecholamines”), people who meditated using Brain Wave Vibration — one form of vibration mind-body training — exhibited less stress and higher dopamine levels in stressful situations compared to a control group.

(Editor’s note: This article is from a past issue of Brain World magazine. If you enjoy this article, please support us with a print or digital subscription!)

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