Vibration therapy, founded to help astronauts maintain muscle mass in space, has down-to-earth benefits that can help patients.
Dr. Jim Tholany said that whole body vibration (WBV) therapy is offered at the Bordentown office where he works as a physical therapist and rehabilitation manager. WBV treatments are a few minutes in length, and used in conjunction with other therapies.
WBV works by a stretch-reflex contraction of the muscles when they are activated through vibration.
“When contractions occur, good things happen,” Tholany said. “You get improved activation of that particular muscle group, improved blood flow and stimulation of joint receptors in the muscles and tendons that help your body have more information to help stabilize you,” he continued.
WBV has many uses, according to Tholany, such as increasing strength, flexibility, post-training recovery, decreasing inflammation, and fall prevention.
Post-training recovery vibration therapy might allow a client to be ready sooner for another training session.
The contractions caused by WBV therapy to decrease inflammation help flush fluid out of the surrounding joints, though it’s not used for acute inflammation. It is also not used immediately post-op, or patients with bone tumor or fracture, clots, kidney stones or those who are pregnant.
When it is integrated into a treatment plan Tholany said it is used two to three times per week. Its usage varies from static held positions to moving around on the vibration plate, such as step ups and squats. It can be used for patients with both upper and lower extremity conditions.