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All,

 

Bone health is a perennial topic of discussion for folks practicing CR. I'm not quite as personally concerned about bone health on CR as I used to be for several reasons: 

  1. In both humans (Fontana et al. PMID: 20969721) and mice (PMID: 26572927), CR appears to result in lighter, but perhaps not more fracture-prone bones, particularly once body weight is factored in, as we discussed in this thread.
     
  2. I practice both weight bearing exercise (jogging & resistance training) which is known to help build or at least maintain bone health.
     
  3. I practice cold exposure to increase brown adipose tissue (BAT). The amount of BAT tissue a person has is positively and quite strongly correlated with their bone mineral density at all measurement sites, independent of their body weight (PMIDs 22259053 and 24140784) as discussed here. This is particularly encouraging for us skinny folks, since BMD is usually associated with higher weight, but BAT is generally much less prevalent in obese people - suggesting (but obviously not proving...) you can be skinny but still have strong bones as long as you've got BAT. 

Nevertheless, I still have lingering doubts about the potential negative impact of long-term CR on bone health for my own case and in general. Read this for a scary anecdotal perspective from a former CR practitioner whose osteoporosis made him quit CR and spend a few years in rough shape, trying to build back his bone health. While he acknowledges his diet wasn't optimal, it's still a somewhat troubling story.

 

So with these lingering concerns in the back of my mind, I was quite interested to come across recent evidence on topic germane to bone health that we discussed (and some of us even practiced) many years ago on the CR list, namely vibration therapy.

 

I actually (re)discovered whole body vibration (WBV) therapy accidentally, in my never-ending search for ways to boost BAT. Remarkably, it turns out that WBV boosts BAT levels in rats (PMID 26125027), mice (PMID 25317067) and people (PMID 23423629), as discussed here

 

It also appears to improve balance, boost leg muscle strength & power, and promote weight & visceral fat loss [1][2].

 

But perhaps the most interesting and relevant effect of WBV is it's influence on indicators of bone health, specifically bone mineral density (BMD) - a metric whose relevance for CR folks is questionable (given our thinner but not necessarily weaker bones), but which serves as the gold standard for bone health in the medical community. Several individual studies [1][6] as well as systematic reviews [2-5] found that WBV builds bone mass, in some cases as well or better than exercise [2][6].

 

There was a recent randomized (allegedly placebo controlled!?) trial [7] of WBV therapy in 174 elderly men and women, which only found a non-significant trend towards improved BMD after 24 months of WBV therapy for 10 minutes per day. I seems to me the likely explanation for the disappointing results of [7] tells us something interesting about the right protocol for effective WBV therapy for bone health and other benefits.

 

But first, a little history. Anyone who recalls the ancient CR email list discussion of vibration therapy will remember that the only viable and affordable, DIY option for many of us at the time were massage seat covers like this one - which were really quite pitiful in terms of their ability to create any sort of significant, and therefore effective, vibration. The tiny eccentric rotating mass motors used in this type of massage seat just don't have the mass or the power to create a very strong vibration effect. They might feel soothing, but they aren't likely to build bone mass. So I gave up on this sort of vibrating seat massager as a bone-building therapy years ago. I suspect others did as well.

 

And this sort of lack of vibration power appears to be the explanation for the failure of WBV therapy to result in improved BMD in [7]. In particular [7] used a vibration frequency of 37 Hz, which is in the range shown in other studies to be efficacious, but used a very mild 0.3g vibration magnitude - which is really quite anemic. In fact, the weakness of the vibration may be why they could characterize their study as a placebo-controlled trial, since simply standing on the motionless vibration platform may have not felt much different from turning the machine on for the so-called "active" treatment!

 

In contrast, studies where WBV has proven effective at improving strength, reducing BMI and building BMD used a much more vigorous vibration protocol.

 

For example [1] used a similar, although slightly higher, vibration frequency (40-60hz), but the real difference was in the vibration amplitude. In [1], the vibration plate had a motion range of 2-5mm. That may not sound like much, but at 40-60 Hz, those tiny excursions result in pretty strong G-forces. For example, the manual for the vibration plate I'm now using (see below), says a 2mm, 40Hz vibration pattern results in an acceleration of 6.5g, and a 5mm, 40Hz vibration pattern results in 16.2g acceleration, which are 22x and 54x more vigorous, respectively, than the vibration protocol used in the failed RCT [7]. At the higher end of the vibration frequency used in [1] (i.e. 60Hz rather than 40Hz), the acceleration forces would be even higher. 

 

Here are some other protocols detailed in [4] (full text - I highly recommend this paper for anyone interested in pursuing WBV further) that have proven effective:

 

In a study by Verschueren et al. [ref], in which the subjects were exposed to vertical vibrations 3 times per week for 24 weeks (35-40 Hz; 1.7-2.5 mm; 2.28-5.09 g), reported an increase bone mineral density of the femur. 

 

[T]he study of the Von Stengel [79], which included 108 postmenopausal women randomly assigned to three groups: 1) pivotal vibration platform (PVT - 12.5 Hz; 12 mm [excursion]), 2) vertical vibration platform (VVT), which had three 15-minute treatments per week (both groups had a magnitude of vibration of 8 g) and 3) control/fitness group which had two low-intensity workouts per week. They came to the conclusion that bone density increased significantly when it comes to the lumbar spine (PVT + 0.7% ± 2.2% and VVT + 0.5% ± 2%), while, when it comes to the femur, progress which was recorded in both vibration groups (PVT + 0.3% ± 2.7% and VVT + 1.1% ± 3.4%) was not statistically significant. The control group’s bone mineral density was decreased in the lumbar spine (-0.4% ± 2%), whilst the femur bone mineral density was maintained at the same level (-0.0% ± 2.1%).  

 

The study of Ruan et al. [ref] showed the highest increase in bone mineral density. In fact, after 6 months of 10-minutes, 5 times per week, vibration training at a frequency of 30 Hz and amplitude of 5 mm (overall magnitude 18 g), on a sample of 116 postmenopausal women, these authors recorded an increase in bone mineral density at the lumbar spine by 6.2% and hip by 4.9%, compared to control (n = 50) group.

 

Interestingly, also from [4], comes this encouraging analysis for us skinny folks:

 

Also, noteworthy is that, in that same study, after a post hoc analysis, authors [ref] found statistically significant differences in women with low body weight (<65 kg) as opposed to the heavier ones, where difference was not statistically significant. These authors found that women with lower body weight, in this case, below 65kg, recorded the best effects. Namely, compared to the placebo group, they have achieved a relative benefit in bone mineral density values of 2.1% at femoral neck, 1.92% at trochanter and 3.35% in lumbar spine.

 

Also from [4] comes this discussion of another failed WBV trial whose protocol was apparently too weak:

 

The best proof that the correct determination of the frequencies and amplitudes can be very important can be found in a study by Rubin et al. [ref]. In their study, after 12-month treatment that included daily, 2x10 minutes, vibration training (30 Hz; 0.2 g; 0, 5 μm), authors [49] showed a decrease in bone mineral density in experimental (-0.69%) and placebo (-0.27%) group at femur (-0.69%; -0.27%), the trochanter (-0.07%; -0.19%) and the lumbar spine (-0.51%; -0.65%). Such small differences after this extensive treatment (12 months x 7 days x 2 x 10 min) can be found in the intensity that was not enough to, not only increase the anabolic effects, but also inhibit the resorptive ones. This can be primarily attributed to very small amplitude, which was less than one millimeter.

 

So it looks like WBV therapy can be effective, even in skinny older folks, but at least several G's of acceleration are required for WBV therapy to work. 

 

Fortunately, the technology available to consumers at an affordable price today has improved dramatically since the early 2000s when I last pursued vibration therapy with a seat massager.

 

In fact, thanks to Kenton's recommendation (thanks Kenton!), I'm now the proud owner of a vibration plate that hits the sweet spot of the effective WBV protocols described above.

 

It cost $179 on Amazon but shipping from them was extra. So I actually bought it for a couple dollars more on ebay with the advantage of free shipping, saving more than $20 on overall cost. It shipped the same day I ordered it, and arrived quite quickly (3-4 days) considering it's large size - the box was almost 3'x3'x1' and weighed 30-40 lbs.

 

I've been using it now for about a week and really like it. It's quite rugged and I expect it to last. Kenton says he's been using his everyday for about a year. Here is what it looks like based on the manufacturer's image posted to Amazon:

41B8M%2BQeBuL.jpg

MbuHKFu.png

 

 

It's hard to get a feel for just what it's like and how big it is, from these pictures, so here is one I took of myself standing on it in the posture I've been using:

 

3N0SSNb.png

 

Notice the straps? I think they are designed to help maintain stability. It's quite a weird sensation, and I can imagine someone losing their balance and falling off, particularly if frail. But as a bonus, I find by holding the straps taut, they help to couple my shoulders and back to the vibration, rather than just my legs, thereby (hopefully) increasing the bone-building effects on my spine.

 

As I alluded to, the specs on the machine put it directly in the sweet spot for the therapeutic vibration magnitude observed in the studies cited above. In fact, just like [1], it has an excursion range of either 2 or 5 mm (the 'soft' vs 'strong' settings) and an adjustable frequency of 5 to 42Hz. According to the manual, at 42Hz the plate generates a 7.1g vibration on the 'soft' setting and 17.8g on the 'strong' setting. Quite in line (if not a bit higher) than the studies I cited which found benefits.

 

Subjectively, it's really quite vigorous and downright weird feeling, particularly on the max (17.8g) setting. It's nothing like the very gentle vibration you feel with the kind of seat massager I experimented with previously. I can well imagine this sort of stimulus could have physiological effects. I fact, I've been keeping the sessions brief - only 1-2 minutes once or twice a day. As I understand Kenton uses it in a similar fashion.

 

The vibration is so vigorous in fact, it's worth considering contraindications. Again from review article [4]:

 

Contraindication factors for the use of vibration training, enlisted by the manufacturers themselves [refs] are: the existence of kidney or bladder stones, epilepsy, cancer, pacemaker, recent implantation or surgery, thrombosis, hernia, rheumatologic arthritis, migraine, some cardiovascular problems and spinal injuries.

 

Slatkowska et al. [ref] stated that there is no risk of using vibration training, and that it represents a new, promising modality for improving the characteristics of the skeletal system in postmenopausal women, respectively, same authors stated that the whole body vibration training increases muscular strength and power and slows down bone mineral density loss. Also, Russo et al. [ref] reported that there were no adverse effects of vibration training for women in menopause and post-menopause. The only side effect that was observed was increased itching in the lower extremities, more specifically, 6 of 17 participants, who were included in high magnitude vibration training reported these side effects. Moawed and Mohammed [ref] have explained in their study that the itching that occurs during the first use of the vibrating stimulus is the result of an increase in skin blood flow. In addition, in that same study, knee pain was reported by two obese subjects diagnosed with osteoarthritis, but it withdrew after a few days allowing subjects to continue with the treatment. Besides that, it is noteworthy that some authors [ref] claimed that at frequencies above ~50 Hz severe muscle soreness and even hematoma may emerge in untrained subjects, but this hasn’t been empirically tested due to the ethics issue.

 

Overall, I'm very satisfied with the purchase, and pretty optimistic based on the available evidence that the vibration therapy this machine delivers has the potential to be beneficial for building bones, brown/beige fat, and perhaps even muscle. I think this would be especially true for people who aren't already naturally as active as I am. 

 

I'm interested what others think. Kenton, I know you've been using this same machine for a while. Anything you would add? Exactly how are you using the machine (settings, frequency, duration etc)?

 

TomB, I know you're interested in optimizing your time spent exercising. Maybe it would be worth adding a brief bout of vibration therapy to your protocol?

 

James Cain, I asked you about vibration therapy when we were together (in the exercise room!) at the CR Conference. You expressed skepticism about its likely efficacy, but acknowledged you hadn't looked at it too carefully lately. Does any of the evidence presented above change your mind?

 

--Dean

 

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[1] Int J Med Sci. 2013;10(3):307-11. doi: 10.7150/ijms.5161. Epub 2013 Feb 2.
 
Ten-week whole-body vibration training improves body composition and muscle
strength in obese women.
 
Milanese C(1), Piscitelli F, Zenti MG, Moghetti P, Sandri M, Zancanaro C.
 
 
This work explored the short-term effect of whole body vibration (WBV) training
on anthropometry, body composition and muscular strength in obese women. Fifty
obese women (age = 46.8 ± 7.81[sD]y; BMI = 35.1 ± 3.55 kg/m(2)) were assigned to 
a ten-week WBV training period, two times a week (in each session, 14 min
vibration training, 5 min rest; vibration amplitude 2.0-5.0mm, frequency 40-60
Hz), with (n = 18) or without (n = 17) radiofrequency, or to a non-exercise
control group (n = 15). Subjects were instructed not to change their habitual
lifestyle. Before and after the ten-week experimental period, anthropometric
measurements, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), and the leg press, leg curl
and leg extension strength tests were carried out. All changes in the two groups 
of WBV training, with or without radiofrequency, were similar and these groups
were combined in a single WBV intervention group. As compared to controls,
subjects submitted to WBV training had significantly lower BMI, total body and
trunk fat, sum of skinfolds and body circumferences. On the other hand, lower
limb strength tests were increased in the WBV group. These preliminary results
suggest that WBV training may improve body composition and muscular strength in
obese women and may be a useful adjuvant to lifestyle prescriptions.
 
PMCID: PMC3575626
PMID: 23423629
 
------------
[2] Disabil Rehabil. 2012;34(11):883-93. doi: 10.3109/09638288.2011.626486. Epub 2012
Jan 6.
 
Efficacy of whole body vibration exercise in older people: a systematic review.
 
Sitjà-Rabert M(1), Rigau D, Fort Vanmeerghaeghe A, Romero-Rodríguez D, Bonastre
Subirana M, Bonfill X.
 
Author information: 
(1)Blanquerna School of Health Science, Universitat Ramon Llull, Barcelona,
Spain. mercesr@blanquerna.url.edu
 
PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to perform a systematic review of the
literature on whole body vibration programs in older population and a
meta-analysis of randomized controlled clinical trials.
METHOD: A search was conducted in MEDLINE, EMBASE, CENTRAL, CINAHL and PsychINFO 
databases. We included randomized controlled trials evaluating the efficacy and
safety of whole body vibration training in older populations compared to
conventional exercise or control groups that assessed balance, muscle strength,
falls, bone mineral density and adverse events.
RESULTS: Sixteen trials met the inclusion criteria. Comparing the vibration and
the control group, we found that vibration significantly improved knee muscle
isometric strength (18.30 Nm, 95% CI 7.95-28.65), muscle power (10.44 W, 95% CI
2.85-18.03) and balance control (Tinetti test: 4.5 points, 95% CI 0.95-8.11).
Comparison with a conventional exercise showed that the only significant
difference was bone mineral density in the femoral neck (0.04 g/cm(-2), 95% CI
0.02-0.07). There were no serious complications in most of studies.
CONCLUSION: Whole body vibration training may improve strength, power and balance
in comparison with a control group, although these effects are not apparent when 
compared with a group that does conventional exercise.
 
PMID: 22225483
 
-----------
[3] Sportverletz Sportschaden. 2014 Sep;28(3):125-31. doi: 10.1055/s-0034-1366545.
Epub 2014 May 14.
 
[Does muscle activation during whole-body vibration induce bone density
improvement in postmenopausal women?--A systematic review].
 
[Article in German]
 
Calendo LR(1), Taeymans J(2), Rogan S(2).
 
Author information: 
(1)Fachhochschule Südschweiz, Departement Graubünden, Landquart, Schweiz.
(2)Berner Fachhochschule, Fachbereich Gesundheit, Disziplin Physiotherapie.
 
BACKGROUND: Whole body vibration training (WBV) stimulates muscles by mechanical 
vibrations. The resulting muscle activity and bone deformation may provoke an
increase in bone density. The aim of this systematic review was to evaluate
whether muscle activation and muscle strengthening caused by vibration training
has an effect on bone density in postmenopausal women.
METHODS: This systematic review was conducted according to the guidelines of the 
PRISMA statement for meta-analyses and systematic reviews. The literature search 
was conducted in several electronic databases (PubMed und CINAHL) and Google
Scholar. The literature search was conducted between June 2012 and August 2013.
The methodological quality of the included studies was assessed using the
Cochrane risk of bias tool by two independent persons.
RESULTS: A total of 246 studies was found. In this present analysis three studies
with vertical and two studies with side-alternating WBV were included, totalling 
368 participants with an age range between 60.7 and 79.6 years. From those 132
participants trained on vertically while 67 participants trained on
side-alternating WBV engines. The included study shows a moderate to high risk of
bias. The selected frequencies ranged from 12.0 Hz to 40.0 Hz for vertical WBV
and 12.5 Hz for side-alternating WBV. The amplitude ranged between 1.7 and
12.0 mm with an acceleration from 0.1 to 10.0 g.
CONCLUSION: This systematic review showed significant influences on the isometric
maximal voluntary contraction (IMVC) between 15.1 and 16.5 % and on dynamic
maximal strength (DMS) between 7.9 to 16.5 % after vertically WBV (frequencies:
30.0 to 40.0 Hz; 3 sessions per week; 15 minutes per session) and on IMV with
26.6 % (frequency: 12.5 Hz; 3 sessions per week; 15 minutes per session). This
increased muscle activity resulted in an improved bone density in the lumbar
spine between 0.5 % to 0.7 % and the hip between 0.8 % to 0.9 % in postmenopausal
women. These clinically significant findings should be confirmed by a large
high-quality randomised controlled trial and reported following the CONSORT
Statement guidelines.
 
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York.
 
PMID: 24828509
 
---------
[4]  J Osteopor Phys Act 3:150. (2015) doi:10.4172/2329-9509.1000150
 
Whole Body Vibration Training Effects on Bone Mineral Density in Postmenopausal Osteoporosis: A Review.
 
Abazovic E, Paušic J, Kovacevic E
 
 
Abstract
 
Objective: Evaluate long term whole body vibration training effects on bone mineral density in postmenopausal osteoporosis. Background: Osteoporosis has been defined as a skeletal system disease characterized by low bone density and deterioration of bone microarchitecture which results in increased risk for fracture occurrence and predisposes the person to injury. Whole body vibration therapy showed positive effects on Bone mineral density. Materials and methods: Literature and scientific papers review of was conducted through the use of several databases: Science Direct, Web of Science, SCIdirect, PubMed, Taylor and Francis Online, Springer Link, SAE publications, JAMA Pediatr Idea: drexler e-repository and archives, Google Scholar and City Library Marko Marulic Split University Library in Split Online catalog. Conclusion: Whole body vibration training is a relatively new and promising non-pharmacological method for bone mineral density decline prevention.

 

------
[5] Osteoporos Int. 2010 Dec;21(12):1969-80. doi: 10.1007/s00198-010-1228-z. Epub
2010 Apr 21.
 
Effect of whole-body vibration on BMD: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
 
Slatkovska L(1), Alibhai SM, Beyene J, Cheung AM.
 
Author information: 
(1)Osteoporosis Program, University Health Network/Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto,
ON, Canada.
 
SUMMARY: Our systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials 
(RCTs) examining whole-body vibration (WBV) effect on bone mineral density (BMD) 
found significant but small improvements in hip areal BMD (aBMD) in
postmenopausal women and in tibia and spine volumetric BMD in
children/adolescents, but not in other BMD measurements in postmenopausal women
and young adults.
INTRODUCTION: Animal experiments report anabolic bone changes in response to WBV,
but data in humans are limited. Our objective is to conduct a systematic review
and meta-analysis of RCTs examining WBV effect on BMD.
METHODS: Eligible RCTs included randomized or quasi-randomized trials, with
follow-up of ≥ 6 months, examining WBV effects on BMD in ambulatory individuals
without secondary causes of osteoporosis. The weighted mean differences between
WBV and control groups in absolute pre-post change in spine and hip aBMD, and in 
spine and tibia trabecular volumetric BMD (vBMD) were calculated.
RESULTS: eight RCTs in postmenopausal women (five RCTs), young adults (one RCT), 
and children and adolescents (two RCTs) were included. The regimens were
heterogeneous, study durations were relatively short, and available data was
mostly per-protocol. In postmenopausal women, WBV was found to significantly
increase hip aBMD (0.015 g cm(-2); 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.008-0.022;
n = 131) versus controls, but not spine aBMD (n = 181) or tibia trabecular vBMD
(n = 29). In young adults, WBV did not increase spine or hip bone mineral
content, or tibia trabecular vBMD (n = 53). In children and adolescents, WBV
significantly increased spine (6.2 mg cm(-3); 95% CI, 2.5-10.0; n = 65) and tibia
(14.2 mg cm(-3); 95% CI, 5.2-23.2; n = 17) trabecular vBMD.
CONCLUSIONS: We found significant but small improvements in BMD in postmenopausal
women and children and adolescents, but not in young adults. WBV is a promising
new modality, but before recommendations can be made for clinical practice,
large-scale long-term studies are needed to determine optimal magnitude,
frequency, and duration.
 
PMID: 20407890
 

----------

[6] J Osteoporos. 2014;2014:702589. doi: 10.1155/2014/702589. Epub 2014 Jun 18.

 
Effects of whole body vibration and resistance training on bone mineral density
and anthropometry in obese postmenopausal women.
 
Zaki ME(1).
 
 
Objective. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of two exercise
programs, whole body vibration and resistance training on bone mineral density
(BMD) and anthropometry in obese postmenopausal women. Material and Methods.
Eighty Egyptian obese postmenopausal women were enrolled in this study; their age
ranged from 50 to 68 years. Their body mass index ranged (30-36 kg/m(2)). The
exercise prescription consisted of whole body vibration (WBV) and resistance
training. Bone mineral density (BMD) and anthropometrical parameters were
measured at the beginning and at the end of the study. Changes from baseline to
eight months in BMD and anthropometric parameters were investigated. Results. BMD
at the greater trochanter, at ward's triangle, and at lumbar spine were
significantly higher after physical training, using both WBV and resistive
training. Moreover, both exercise programs were effective in BMI and waist to the
hip ratio. Simple and multiple regression analyses showed significant
associations between physical activity duration and BMD at all sites. The highest
values of R (2) were found for the models incorporating WBV plus BMI. Conclusion.
The study suggests that both types of exercise modalities had a similar positive 
effect on BMD at all sites in obese postmenopausal women. Significant association
was noted between physical activity and anthropometric variables and BMD measures
at all sites.
 
PMCID: PMC4086652
PMID: 25136473
 
------------
[7] J Bone Miner Res. 2015 Jul;30(7):1319-28. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.2448.
 
Low-Magnitude Mechanical Stimulation to Improve Bone Density in Persons of
Advanced Age: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial.
 
Kiel DP(1,)(2,)(3), Hannan MT(1,)(2,)(3), Barton BA(4), Bouxsein ML(3,)(5),
Sisson E(6), Lang T(7), Allaire B(5), Dewkett D(1), Carroll D(1), Magaziner J(8),
Shane E(9), Leary ET(10,)(11), Zimmerman S(12), Rubin CT(13).
 
Nonpharmacologic approaches to preserve or increase bone mineral density (BMD)
include whole-body vibration (WBV), but its efficacy in elderly persons is not
clear. Therefore, we conducted the Vibration to Improve Bone in Elderly Subjects 
(VIBES) trial, a randomized, placebo-controlled trial of 10 minutes of daily WBV 
(0.3g at 37 Hz) in seniors recruited from 16 independent living communities. The 
primary outcomes were volumetric BMD of the hip and spine measured by
quantitative computed tomography (QCT) and biochemical markers of bone turnover. 
We randomized 174 men and women (89 active, 85 placebo) with T-scores -1 to -2.5 
who were not taking bone active drugs and had no diseases affecting the skeleton 
(mean age 82 ± 7 years, range 65 to 102). Participants received daily calcium
(1000 mg) and vitamin D (800 IU). Study platforms were activated using radio
frequency ID cards providing electronic adherence monitoring; placebo platforms
resembled the active platforms. In total, 61% of participants in the active arm
and 73% in the placebo arm completed 24 months. The primary outcomes, median
percent changes (interquartile range [iQR]) in total volumetric femoral
trabecular BMD (active group (2.2% [-0.8%, 5.2%]) versus placebo 0.4% [-4.8%,
5.0%]) and in mid-vertebral trabecular BMD of L1 and L2 (active group (5.3%
[-6.9%, 13.3%]) versus placebo (2.4% [-4.4%, 11.1%]), did not differ between
groups (all p values > 0.1). Changes in biochemical markers of bone turnover
(P1NP and sCTX) also were not different between groups (p = 0.19 and p = 0.97,
respectively). In conclusion, this placebo-controlled randomized trial of daily
WBV in older adults did not demonstrate evidence of significant beneficial
effects on volumetric BMD or bone biomarkers; however, the high variability in
vBMD changes limited our power to detect small treatment effects. The beneficial 
effects of WBV observed in previous studies of younger women may not occur to the
same extent in elderly individuals.
 
© 2015 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.
 
PMCID: PMC4834704 [Available on 2016-07-01]
PMID: 25581217

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I remember the old discussions of vibration and bone health. I also remember that upon researching it, I came across an effect that gave me some pause. I'm sure it's all down to specific frequencies, duration and use scenarios, but I think it's something to keep an eye on: vibration-induced neuropathy.

 

Scand J Work Environ Health. 1987 Aug;13(4):317-22.

 

Vibration-induced neuropathy. Detection by nerve conduction measurements.

 
Brammer AJ1, Pyykkö I.

 
Abstract

 

An analysis of electroneurographic studies of workers who operate hand-held vibrating power tools reveals that, when controlled for polyneuropathy and the effects of heavy manual work, significantly reduced sensory nerve conduction velocities occur within the hands. This finding is compatible with the available pathophysiological evidence. The detection of this presumed vibration-induced neuropathy and its distinction from compression neuropathies involving a localized primary lesion, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, thus requires a detailed investigation of nerve conduction within the hands. A technique well adapted to the detection of abnormalities in the most peripheral sensory nerve fibers and mechanoreceptors has been developed based on vibrotactile stimulation of a fingertip. The compound action potentials recorded noninvasively at the base of the finger and wrist from healthy male subjects possess peak-to-peak amplitudes of no more than 0.5 and 0.25 microV, respectively.

PMID: 2829347 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] Free full text
 
Also, question, Dean: does the one you got incorporate a weight measurement function and/or fat measuring?
Edited by TomBAvoider

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Thanks TomB,

 

Signs of neuropathy are definitely something to watch for. 

 

Also, question, Dean: does the one you got incorporate a weight measurement function and/or fat measuring?

 

No - it's just a vibration platform. I've got several standalone body weight and conductance-based body fat scales for those measures.

 

--Dean

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Thanks, Dean. How loud is it, and how much does the vibration transfer to the floor... don't want the whole place to rattle and bring down plates from the table, pull nails out of the wall etc.

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Tom,

 

It isn't very loud - about as loud as a box fan I'd estimate. Depending on the setting and the resonant frequency of your floor, it can induce a small amount of floor vibration, but nothing I'd be concerned about.

 

--Dean

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I've used these, and they're a bit of a, um, trade secret toward learning contortion. If you choose to go contorting your eager body, that is, haha... Use of gentle vibration while holding long static poses (eg, targeted stretching like yin yoga) def relaxes bound up muscle and cobwebbed up fascia, even shakes up tender spaces between bones, carefuuuuuuuuuuuukkl!, relaxes and sends nutrients into tendons, ligaments, red zone cartilege (you dont want push too extreme here -- like moi: my problem is with moderation and acceptance of spine & limb flexibility limitations -- I don't wanna over stress, injure, yadda, but it's so individual-body-part focused, so sensitive, even fragile, but also Tough! so precisely targeted...)

 

I wish someone would invent one of these things that wasn't just a platform. I mean, standing on it in balancing poses is an awesome lesson in humility. Oh do practice that, Dean. Standing yoga balance poses, that is. But I want some floor mat vibration. The vibrating yoga mat! Imagine the marketing possibilities 4 the vibrating yoga mat haha... Especially if that thang's eco-sensitive and powered solar by Sun Goddess! Also rig the data to suggest very specific graph points for Time Spent On YogaVibe correlated to Weight Loss. Aww shit now everyone I meet wants this thing...

 

But skinny me, I wanna lay on it and stretch and feel the vibes up in my marrow. I wanna sit on the healing vibes in padmasana and link chakras. I want to breathe -- like Iyengar advised -- consciousness into every cell (assisted of course by Buddhist peace chant -- "So Hum" -- some good ole Hare Krishna chants, essential oils, maybe incense (Al has me worried about particulates -- Thanks Al!) and, um, maybe just the perfect dose of shrooms for six to ten hours on VibraYogi. Combine that with some prolonged water-only fasting and a whole food plant based Dr. Greger-approved vegan diet, and now sit and sit and sit, and watch longevity science continue its slow motion unfurl. Like a fern is Regenerative Medicine -- one of our oldest plant species: The Pytophactor: http://phytophactor.fieldofscience.com/2009/05/oldest-species-on-earth-is-fern.html?m=1.

 

Oh and I almost forgot! But if you're interested in the most amazing results I've seen about how to learn to control internal and external vibrations simultaneously, watch her! https://youtu.be/ELROG7uppps

Edited by Sthira

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I've used these, and they're a bit of a, um, trade secret toward learning contortion. If you choose to go contorting your eager body, that is, haha... Use of gentle vibration while holding long static poses (eg, targeted stretching like yin yoga) def relaxes bound up muscle and cobwebbed up fascia, even shakes up tender spaces between bones, carefuuuuuuuuuuuukkl!, relaxes and sends nutrients into tendons, ligaments, red zone cartilege (you dont want push too extreme here -- like moi: my problem is with moderation and acceptance of spine & limb flexibility limitations -- I don't wanna over stress, injure, yadda, but it's so individual-body-part focused, so sensitive, even fragile, but also Tough! so precisely targeted...)

 

I wish someone would invent one of these things that wasn't just a platform. I mean, standing on it in balancing poses is an awesome lesson in humility. Oh do practice that, Dean. Standing yoga balance poses, that is. But I want some floor mat vibration. The vibrating yoga mat! Imagine the marketing possibilities 4 the vibrating yoga mat haha... Especially if that thang's eco-sensitive and powered solar by Sun Goddess! Also rig the data to suggest very specific graph points for Time Spent On YogaVibe correlated to Weight Loss. Aww shit now everyone I meet wants this thing...

 

But skinny me, I wanna lay on it and stretch and feel the vibes up in my marrow. I wanna sit on the healing vibes in padmasana and link chakras. I want to breathe -- like Iyengar advised -- consciousness into every cell (assisted of course by Buddhist peace chant -- "So Hum" -- some good ole Hare Krishna chants, essential oils, maybe incense (Al has me worried about particulates -- Thanks Al!) and, um, maybe just the perfect dose of shrooms for six to ten hours on VibraYogi. Combine that with some prolonged water-only fasting and a whole food plant based Dr. Greger-approved vegan diet, and now sit and sit and sit, and watch longevity science continue its slow motion unfurl. Like a fern is Regenerative Medicine -- one of our oldest plant species: The Pytophactor: http://phytophactor.fieldofscience.com/2009/05/oldest-species-on-earth-is-fern.html?m=1.

 

Oh and I almost forgot! But if you're interested in the most amazing results I've seen about how to learn to control internal and external vibrations simultaneously, not even to mention bone strength, watch her! https://youtu.be/ELROG7uppps

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Dean,

 

Thank you for providing so many details on the vibration machine that you purchased (after recommendation from Kenton). I won a bid for the same model on eBay yesterday afternoon -- and was surprised to see that it was delivered to me so soon -- this morning. [by the way, because I'm in California the added tax made the total cost about the same as it would have been from Amazon.]

 

For several years now, I've been doing a (supported) handstand every morning (for just a minute or so) on a Soloflex WBV Platform. The Soloflex vibration frequency is variable, but the movement is simpler and subtler -- particularly compared to the 'strong' mode of the new machine. It will be interesting to experiment with this new toy.

 

Todd

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My pleasure Todd. I'm glad you found my review & recommendation helpful. BTW, it was great to see you at the Conference! 

 

I too was impressed with how quickly the ebay seller of this particular vibration plate shipped and delivered the system.

 

For several years now, I've been doing a (supported) handstand every morning (for just a minute or so) on a Soloflex WBV Platform. The Soloflex vibration frequency is variable, but the movement is simpler and subtler -- particularly compared to the 'strong' mode of the new machine. It will be interesting to experiment with this new toy.

 

Cool. I hadn't thought about trying to use the plate inverted like that. Just today I started experimenting with bending my knees into a squat and closing my eyes while standing on the plate in its strongest vibration mode. I find it quite a test of balance, and expect it will be good for balance training. I consider maintaining one's ability to balance a very important part of healthy aging - so I'm glad it can help with that too. I'll give a handstand a try, keeping my feet against a wall for balance, at least to start - I'm certainly not in Sithra's league when it comes to balance and flexibility!

 

--Dean

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For several years now, I've been doing a (supported) handstand every morning (for just a minute or so) on a Soloflex WBV Platform.

 

Very cool, and what benefits for your handstand are you discovering?

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Sthira,

 

I find it invigorating. I first hang from my ankles on a "Teeter Hang Ups" inversion table for about a minute before moving on to the handstand on the WBV platform.

 

There is a good description of what happens in the body with inversion in chapter 8 (The Headstand) of "Anatomy of Hatha Yoga" by H. David Coulter.

 

-----

 

The basic core of my exercise practice for the last 32 years has been a three times per week noon-time "old style" aerobic dance class (now called cardio-mix) at the gym I go to. I've always supplemented that with additional strength exercises, but in recent years have switched from using strength machines in the gym to bodyweight exercises from the online courses available from the www.gymnasticbodies.com website. I own Foundation One through Four, Handstand One, Movement One, and the three stretch series (Front Split, Middle Split, and Thoracic Back). I haven't made available the time to follow all the progressions, but I enjoy making progress (however slow) on those few things that I do find the time to work on.

 

When others in my cardio-mix class are doing pushups, I slip behind a small wall (to hide out) and do my (stomach to the wall) 60 wall runs --  

     https://www.gymnasticbodies.com/forum/topic/1030-handstand-wall-runs/

 

In my morning (back to the wall) handstand, I've fairly recently started doing it farther from the nearby vertical surface, pushing the upper chest out while pulling the lower ribs in and holding a firm posterior pelvic tilt -- to turn the handstand effectively into an elevated bridge. I'm hoping to slowly remodel my thoracic spine sufficiently towards a gymnastic-style bridge -- thus overcoming my (non-severe) congenital pectus excavatum and habitual forward slumped shoulders. I want to avoid becoming permanently hunched over as I age!

 

Thanks,

Todd

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In my morning (back to the wall) handstand, I've fairly recently started doing it farther from the nearby vertical surface, pushing the upper chest out while pulling the lower ribs in and holding a firm posterior pelvic tilt --

Very good, you're speaking my language! There are many many ways to work handstands -- but for theraputic benefits I'm exactly on your page -- tuck the buttocks, open the collar bone, lift, lift, lift, pull those front lower those ribs in... Handstands are like standing on your feet with proper posture! Hands themselves don't go too wide -- like feet don't either -- hands shoulder width, feet hip width -- and it's fun to play with different hand positions for different alignment effects. Turn your hands outward -- fingers pointed away to the sides -- for different shoulder and alignment effects. Try! And for deep wrist and forearm stretches & strengthening -- turn the hands directly backwards so fingers are pointed back toward your inverted body. Careful with this one!

 

I'd think this vibrating platform would be good for headstands, too? Put down a mat, stand on yo head, shake up yo mind?! Headstands -- King of Asana -- is amazingly theraputic (as you know!) Doing them combined with vibration is really something.

 

Planks seem good too. And narrow yoga standing poses.

 

Are you able to use the small platform design to deepen your front splits and side splits? I've tight quads I've been opening forever, og -- any help here with the vibe machine for opening quads?

 

Oh dammit I think I'm going to have to hunk it and buy one of these damned things :-(

 

Thanks for writing, Todd, I appreciate your perspective.

 

Now please, if interested in "bone health" please watch this AMAZING goddess and tell me how what she's performing is relevant to general bone health. Her act is what I'm leaning into right now:

 

https://youtu.be/ELROG7uppps

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Sthira,

 

I plan to use the new vibrating plate with handstands, but it is so powerful that I'd be wary of using it for headstands. You don't want to rattle your brain too much!

 

I've only tried the Front Split Series and the Middle Split Series follow-along videos once each, so I am not experienced enough to know if the vibrating plate might be useful for those. The surface area is fairly small. The quality of the machine seems to be very good. [it appears to be an unbranded version of the branded "VMAX Q2" which sells for $1248 on the VMAX website.]

 

I've seen that youtube video balancing act before, but I think it was with a different performer. It is very enjoyable to watch. It is mesmerizing. It looks like it takes strength, balance, and mobility. Beyond that, I don't know how it would help with bone strength. I hope you succeed in learning it.

 

 

Thanks,

Todd

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Todd,

 

Terrific information about your gymnastic exercise routine. The wall stands and "walking" look quite challenging. I'm going to give them a try. 

 

And thanks so much for the insights about the vibration platform we both purchased. It does indeed appears identical to the VMAX Q2 which retails for $1250. We got quite a bargain. Thanks again Kenton for recommending it.

 

I agree with you Todd, doing a headstand rather than a handstand is not recommended on the vibration plate we've got - even on its low setting it seems like it could scramble your brain. I'm not even convinced about the viability of doing a handstand on it, but we'll see.

 

Sthira, if you breakdown and do buy one, I'll be curious what use you put it too!

 

--Dean

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Dean,

 

Be careful with trying handstand if you are not used to it. You want to avoid getting an injury -- such as impingement in the shoulder.

 

If you are not used to being inverted, it is best to start with learning headstand. The Coulter book I mentioned above describes the "crown headstand" and the "bregma handstand", which are distinguished by the contact point on the head. There are also variations on where you place your hands or forearms.

 

For handstand, it is important to elevate the shoulders (always strongly pushing your hands above your head) while also protracting your shoulders. This will prevent impingement. You also want to maintain strong "posterior pelvic tilt" (top of the pelvis pushed backwards). Keeping the 'glutes' contracted helps to achieve this.

 

A proper gymnastic handstand has your shoulders, hips, and the rest of your body stacked vertically above your hands, rather than the body taking a banana shape. In order to achieve this, you have to work on "opening up' your shoulder 'flexion' enough to be able to get the hands, shoulders, and hips aligned.

 

When I first started working on handstands, I found it interesting how strongly I felt that my body was telling me to get out of the handstand. I'm very comfortable with them now, although I haven't yet attempted long hold times.

 

When I first started working on wall runs, I found them fairly quickly exhausting -- and felt that I must stay very conscious of whether it felt like an elbow might collapse. I'm still careful with them, but they are easier -- and I like doing them.

 

Thanks,

Todd 

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Todd,

 

Thanks for the warning. I've been doing 6-min per day of inversion therapy (using this Exerpeudic inversion table), for a couple years now, so I'm used to being upside down. But you're right that I'll want to be careful to avoid injuring my shoulder, or falling over! One of the few bones I've ever broken was a collarbone, when I collapsed while walking on my hands when I was a teenager. I don't want to repeat that experience.

 

I'm very impressed that you are able to do the "wall runs" illustrated in that video you sent. That is very impressive - especially for a person your age. After seeing you at the conference, I too, like Grace, I'm quite surprised to hear how old you are. I'd have guessed much younger.

 

Congratulations and more power to you!

 

--Dean

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I'm gonna get the machine Kenton & Dean recommended - so thanks, guys. Once I get it, I'll explore a few things, like trying to see what bones can be affected - legs and spine are a gimme, but what about arms and other somewhat fragile bones like ribs, collarbone etc.? I imagine there's got to be some way to get vibration into your arms (other than handstands, which I'm too chicken to try on a vibrating platform!). The other thing is purely speculative. I'm thinking in terms of analogies - f.ex. with weight training... you can do free weights or you can do the equivalent on specially dedicated machines that isolate muscle groups (like the old Nautilus machines used to do). Now, for a while the isolation machines were a big fad, but eventually a lot of people drifted more toward free weights and only did minority of training on the machines. The idea was that with machines you are training specific muscles but are actually throwing your musculature out of balance - because you need to see all muscle groups as part of a system, that is composed of minor supporting muscles, tendons and so forth - if you isolate a muscle group in a machine, you are hypertrophying the isolated muscle without equivalent development of the supporting muscles and tendons around that tissue and your overall musculature starts to malfunction. Meanwhile, with free weights when you lift a weight, you are exercising everything at the same time in the configuration meant to work that way - all muscles and tendons work together in harmony - you are not favoring any one subsystem over the rest - when you do arm curls with a dumbbell, you are using your hand, forearm, and stability muscles all over your body because the weight is functioning just as in nature, not isolated on a machine, but flying about freely (and so in a machine you are not using f.ex. stability muscles). 

 

OK, long-winded analogy. I wonder if that might not apply to some degree to the vibration therapy. The reason vibration works - I speculate - is because it mimics the vibration transmitted to the bones as you are f.ex. running or pounding something with your arms, thus signalling to the bones in the legs, spine, arms etc. to grow or strengthen or not re-absorb because stronger bones are needed to survive long runs and various efforts. But note, that it too isolates the effect of vibration from the whole constellation of other signals that go together with the vibration signal when you run or pound, namely you engage muscles and tendons too which are attached to the bones. When you run you get the whole symphony of all effects on the bone and skeletomusculature - but in a vibration platform you only experience the vibration without the accompanying signals from muscles and tendons. So in effect, it is as isolating as the isolation machines vs free weights. You might strengthen some aspects of the bones, but who knows at what cost of unbalanced development vs other systems. Therefore, perhaps one might consider something like the equivalent of free weights - use the vibration platform in conjunction with muscle + tendon stimulation - as you stand on the vibrating platform, you might at the same time (a) balance without additional supports (b) do arm curls with dumbbells (3) do squats. So the therapy would be: get on the vibrating platform and do squats with simultaneous arm curls with dumbbells. 

 

Of course, I would have to experiment with all this to see what is plausible once I get the machine, which I'll try to get sometime next week.

Edited by TomBAvoider

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Tom,

 

Great to hear you're going to give WBV a try. The more people we have experimenting with it and sharing their ideas & results the better.

 

I agree with you that it's worth trying to mix it up with WBV, testing various ways to engage as much of our skeleto-muscular system as possible. I've been experimenting with a few things so far, including closing my eyes to improve balance, bending my knees to varying degree, tensing various muscles groups (esp. abs and pelvis), and experimenting with various ways Of using the straps to transmit more of the vibration to my upper body.  I haven't tried weights yet, and I'm certainly not yet ready to try a handstand (even supported) on it! One thing I haven't tried yet but will soon is planking with my feet on the platform.

 

One thing I think you'll find is that the vibration is strong enough on the higher settings to transmit the vibration effect all the way up the body. I think in this regard our lightweight frames have an advantage relative to heavier people.

 

I'll be very curious how you like it and the ways you find to use it!

 

--Dean

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I thought before I order the machine, I should digest more information, explore the literature and do some basic cogitating. Since Dean covered the positives, I thought I'd mention some things that strike me as thought-provoking.

 

First something more general and philosophical - the measure of success/failure used in these papers when it comes to effect on the bones is BMD. This is not fully satisfying. There are pharmaceuticals prescribed to osteoporotic individuals, which demonstrably increase BMD and yet result in more fractures (especially thigh bones) than controls who take nothing. In studies that show gain or loss in BMD also show that the effect on fractures is anything but linear - so there is no easy dose-response curve here. And everyone reading this is acutely aware of bone quality vs mere density. So right off the bat, I would like to see studies showing fracture rates long term with WBV vs controls. WBV is a novel therapy - I don't think relying exclusively on a biomarker like BMD is a good surrogate for bone fractures or even general health outcomes. Yet, the studies are limited in this way.

 

Furthermore, the studies are much more focused on individuals who are already osteoporotic or suffer from osteopenia. I am not sure I identify with a group of primarily older people, or injured people, or postmenopausal women, and generally osteoporotic people who don't exercise; while there are studies with a more diverse subject group, I still find the data not as rich when it comes to someone with my profile.

 

Beyond bones, any intervention is bound to have spillover effects into general health. For example, we've seen how giving older men growth hormone and testosterone shots boosted muscle volume and strength, but did not result in better overall health, especially cardiovascular health. I want strong bones, but even if WBV delivers on that, at what cost (if any)? For example, I was not happy to read this from Dean's (4) cite (J Osteopor Phys Act 3:150. (2015) doi:10.4172/2329-9509.1000150):

 

"Whole body vibration training also affects bone remodeling indirectly through the endocrine system response. As stated in some previous researches [72], it increases growth hormone and testosterone levels in the body. The positive effect of testosterone on bone mineral density was detected in the forearm, the lumbar spine and hip in healthy men and women [73-75]."

 

Whaa? WBV increases growth hormone and testosterone - and that (at least in part) is the mechanism behind greater BMD? Oh boy. So are direct injections of GH and testosterone in their effect on muscles in older men, but we're rather gunshy about the overall health effect. How is this different? WBV an unproven intervention - who says that the way WBV achieves greater BMD is healthy overall apart from the bones (or indeed as I argued above even when it comes to bones and BMD)? I don't think I necessarily want my GH and testosterone levels increased, never mind the method - WBV, drug injections, or some other therapy that has not been studied longitudinally and with all-cause health, morbidity/mortality outcomes.

 

Bottom line, WBV is a very novel intervention that has more questions than answers. Is it advisable to blithely plunge in? History is littered with interventions that were very promising that turned to nothing or worse in the longer term. What should we do about WBV?

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Interesting Tom,

 

What's your testosterone level now? I ask because, while I'm not convinced WBV will accomplish it,  for some of us (including me), boosting T relative to it's current below-reference-range value might be beneficial, given the evidence that having an adequate T level might be important for maintaining heart, brain, and yes, bone, health - something I coincidently happened to mention in this thread earlier today. T may be another case where lower isn't always better.

 

--Dean

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All,

 

The evidence I presented early in this post in favor of WBV for bone health was all from humans, which obviously is more relevant for us than rodent studies. But for completeness, and to (perhaps) partially assuage some of Tom's fears about its unproven nature, here is a list just some of the recent rodent studies showing benefits of WBV for bone health [1-4] and even reductions in accumulation of visceral fat and fatty liver [5] via mitochondrial uncoupling, which may relate to the observed upregulation of thermogenesis and BAT that originally rekindled my interested in WBV.

 

Tom - our diet and lifestyle already puts us out on a limb, and at risks that other folks may not face, including potential bone health issues. That's why I think it worth considering unconventional, but non-pharmacological interventions to mitigate potential risks like osteoporosis. But obviously we all must chose for ourselves what we're willing to experiment with.

 

--Dean

 

-----------

1. Bone. 2010 Oct;47(4):746-55. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2010.07.014. Epub 2010 Jul 16.

Effect of whole-body vibration on bone properties in aging mice.

Wenger KH(1), Freeman JD, Fulzele S, Immel DM, Powell BD, Molitor P, Chao YJ, Gao
HS, Elsalanty M, Hamrick MW, Isales CM, Yu JC.

Author information:
(1)Medical College of Georgia, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, 1459 Laney
Walker Blvd., Augusta, GA 30912, USA. kwenger@mcg.edu

Recent studies suggest that whole-body vibration (WBV) can improve measures of
bone health for certain clinical conditions and ages. In the elderly, there also
is particular interest in assessing the ability of physical interventions such as
WBV to improve coordination, strength, and movement speed, which help prevent
falls and fractures and maintain ambulation for independent living. The current
study evaluated the efficacy of WBV in an aging mouse model. Two levels of
vibration--0.5 and 1.5g--were applied at 32Hz to CB57BL/6 male mice (n=9 each)
beginning at age 18 months and continuing for 12 weeks, 30 min/day, in a novel
pivoting vibration device. Previous reports indicate that bone parameters in
these mice begin to decrease substantially at 18 months, equivalent to
mid-fifties for humans. Micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) and biomechanical
assessments were made in the femur, radius, and lumbar vertebra to determine the
effect of these WBV magnitudes and durations in the aging model. Sera also were
collected for analysis of bone formation and breakdown markers. Mineralizing
surface and cell counts were determined histologically. Bone volume in four
regions of the femur did not change significantly, but there was a consistent
shift toward higher mean density in the bone density spectrum (BDS), with the two
vibration levels producing similar results. This new parameter represents an
integral of the conventional density histogram. The amount of high density bone
statistically improved in the head, neck, and diaphysis. Biomechanically, there
was a trend toward greater stiffness in the 1.5 g group (p=0.139 vs. controls in
the radius), and no change in strength. In the lumbar spine, no differences were
seen due to vibration. Both vibration groups significantly reduced pyridinoline
crosslinks, a collagen breakdown marker. They also significantly increased
dynamic mineralization, MS/BS. Furthermore, osteoclasts were most numerous in the
1.5 g group (p≤ 0.05). These findings suggest that some benefits of WBV found in
previous studies of young and mature rodent models may extend to an aging
population. Density parameters indicated 0.5 g was more effective than 1.5 g.
Serological markers, by contrast, favored 1.5 g, while biomechanically and
histologically the results were mixed. Although the purported anabolic effect of
WBV on bone homeostasis may depend on location and the parameter of interest,
this emerging therapy at a minimum does not appear to compromise bone health by
the measures studied here.

Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

PMID: 20638490

---------------
2. Mol Med Rep. 2014 Dec;10(6):2835-42. doi: 10.3892/mmr.2014.2597. Epub 2014 Sep
23.

Low-magnitude high-frequency loading, by whole-body vibration, accelerates early
implant osseointegration in ovariectomized rats.

Liang YQ(1), Qi MC(2), Xu J(3), Xu J(1), Liu HW(1), Dong W(2), Li JY(2), Hu M(1).

Author information:
(1)Department of Stomatology, Chinese PLA General Hospital, Beijing 100853, P.R.
China. (2)College of Stomatology, Hebei United University, Tangshan, Hebei
063000, P.R. China. (3)Department of Stomatology, Tongchuan City People's
Hospital, Tongchuan, Shaanxi 727100, P.R. China.

Osteoporosis deteriorates jaw bone quality and may compromise early implant
osseointegration and early implant loading. The influence of low‑magnitude,
high‑frequency (LMHF) vibration on peri‑implant bone healing and implant
integration in osteoporotic bones remains poorly understood. LMHF loading via
whole‑body vibration (WBV) for 8 weeks has previously been demonstrated to
significantly enhance bone‑to‑implant contact, peri‑implant bone fraction and
implant mechanical properties in osteoporotic rats. In the present study, LMHF
loading by WBV was performed in osteoporotic rats, with a loading duration of 4
weeks during the early stages of bone healing. The results indicated that 4‑week
LMHF loading by WBV partly reversed the negative effects of osteoporosis and
accelerated early peri‑implant osseointegration in ovariectomized rats.

PMCID: PMC4227418
PMID: 25270245 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

-----------------
3. Bone. 2013 Apr;53(2):507-14. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2013.01.023. Epub 2013 Jan 22.

Therapeutic impact of low amplitude high frequency whole body vibrations on the
osteogenesis imperfecta mouse bone.

Vanleene M(1), Shefelbine SJ.

Author information:
(1)Department of Bioengineering, Imperial College London, London, SW7-2AZ, UK.
mvanleene@gmail.com

Osteogenesis imperfecta (OI) is characterized by extremely brittle bone.
Currently, bisphosphonate drugs allow a decrease of fracture by inhibiting bone
resorption and increasing bone mass but with possible long term side effects.
Whole body mechanical vibrations (WBV) treatment may offer a promising route to
stimulate bone formation in OI patients as it has exhibited health benefits on
both muscle and bone mass in human and animal models. The present study has
investigated the effects of WBV (45Hz, 0.3g, 15minutes/days, 5days/week) in young
OI (oim) and wild type female mice from 3 to 8weeks of age. Vibration therapy
resulted in a significant increase in the cortical bone area and cortical
thickness in the femur and tibia diaphysis of both vibrated oim and wild type
mice compared to sham controls. Trabecular bone was not affected by vibration in
the wild type mice; vibrated oim mice, however, exhibited significantly higher
trabecular bone volume fraction in the proximal tibia. Femoral stiffness and
yield load in three point bending were greater in the vibrated wild type mice
than in sham controls, most likely attributed to the increase in femur cortical
cross sectional area observed in the μCT morphology analyses. The vibrated oim
mice showed a trend toward improved mechanical properties, but bending data had
large standard deviations and there was no significant difference between
vibrated and non-vibrated oim mice. No significant difference of the bone
apposition was observed in the tibial metaphyseal trabecular bone for both the
oim and wild type vibrated mice by histomorphometry analyses of calcein labels.
At the mid diaphysis, the cortical bone apposition was not significantly
influenced by the WBV treatment in both the endosteum and periosteum of the oim
vibrated mice while a significant change is observed in the endosteum of the
vibrated wild type mice. As only a weak impact in bone apposition between the
vibrated and sham groups is observed in the histological sections, it is possible
that WBV reduced bone resorption, resulting in a relative increase in cortical
thickness. Whole body vibration appears as a potential effective and innocuous
means for increasing bone formation and strength, which is particularly
attractive for treating the growing skeleton of children suffering from brittle
bone disease or low bone density pathologies without the long term disadvantages
of current pharmacological therapies.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

PMCID: PMC3590448
PMID: 23352925 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

------------
4. Hip Int. 2012 Mar-Apr;22(2):218-26. doi: 10.5301/HIP.2012.9033.

High-frequency and low-magnitude whole body vibration with rest days is more
effective in improving skeletal micro-morphology and biomechanical properties in
ovariectomised rodents.

Ma R(1), Zhu D, Gong H, Gu G, Huang X, Gao Jz, Zhang X.

Author information:
(1)Department of Orthopaedics, First Hospital of Jilin University, Changchun,
Jilin Province, China.

We explored the optimal regime in preventing or treating bone loss, using
ovariectomised rodents loaded by mechanical stimuli with rest days during the
loading cycle. Eighty-four Sprague-Dawley rats, aged 6 months, were randomly
divided into 7 groups after bilateral ovariectomy. Mechanical vibration with
1-day rest (ML1R), with 3-day rest (ML3R), with 5-day rest (ML5R), with 7-day
rest (ML7R), daily loading (DL), comparing the ovariectomised group (OVX) with
baseline (BCL) measurements. After a recovery of one week, all the rodents were
loaded daily by whole body vibration at 35 Hz and 0.25 g for 15 minutes. Eight
weeks later, a three-point bending test of the radius and micro-CT scanning of
the femoral head were performed after animal sacrifice. Large improvements in
biomechanical properties occurred in all the experimental groups for failure
load, elastic modulus and deflection, while a significantly enhanced efficacy was
detected in ML7R compared with daily loading (p<0.05). In micro-CT scanning, bone
volume fraction, trabecular thickness, number and separation were improved by the
regime in all experimental groups, while ML7R showed a significant improvement
over daily loading (p<0.05). Early bone loss in human subjects may be improved by
high-frequency and low-magnitude whole body vibration with rest days or daily
stimuli. Mechanical stimulus with a 7-day rest was more effective in improving
biomechanical properties and micro-morphology compared with daily loading. This
may have clinical implications in relation to the prevention and treatment of hip
fractures, and in postoperative management following hip arthroplasty.

PMID: 22344486 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

 

--------

5. PLoS One. 2016 Feb 17;11(2):e0149419. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0149419.
eCollection 2016.

Whole-Body Vibration Partially Reverses Aging-Induced Increases in Visceral
Adiposity and Hepatic Lipid Storage in Mice.

Reijne AC(1,)(2,)(3), Ciapaite J(2,)(3), van Dijk TH(4), Havinga R(2), van der
Zee EA(5), Groen AK(2,)(3), Reijngoud DJ(2,)(3), Bakker BM(2,)(3), van Dijk
G(1,)(6).

Author information:
(1)Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences, Neurobiology, Unit of
Behavioral Neurosciences, University of Groningen, Nijenborgh 7, NL-9747AG
Groningen, The Netherlands. (2)Department of Pediatrics, Center for Liver,
Digestive and Metabolic Diseases, University of Groningen, University Medical
Center Groningen, Hanzeplein 1, NL-9713GZ Groningen, The Netherlands. (3)Systems
Biology Centre for Energy Metabolism and Ageing, University Medical Center
Groningen, University of Groningen, Antonius Deusinglaan 1, NL-9713AV Groningen,
The Netherlands. (4)Department of Laboratory Medicine, University of Groningen,
University Medical Center Groningen, Hanzeplein 1, NL-9700RB Groningen, The
Netherlands. (5)Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences, Neurobiology,
Unit of Molecular Neurobiology, University of Groningen, Nijenborgh 7, NL-9747AG
Groningen, The Netherlands. (6)ESRIG Center for Isotope Research, University of
Groningen, Nijenborgh 4, NL-9747AG Groningen, The Netherlands.

At old age, humans generally have declining muscle mass and increased fat
deposition, which can increase the risk of developing cardiometabolic diseases.
While regular physical activity postpones these age-related derangements, this is
not always possible in the elderly because of disabilities or risk of injury.
Whole-body vibration (WBV) training may be considered as an alternative to
physical activity particularly in the frail population. To explore this
possibility, we characterized whole-body and organ-specific metabolic processes
in 6-month and 25-month old mice, over a period of 14 weeks of WBV versus sham
training. WBV training tended to increase blood glucose turnover rates and
stimulated hepatic glycogen utilization during fasting irrespective of age. WBV
was effective in reducing white fat mass and hepatic triglyceride content only in
old but not in young mice and these reductions were related to upregulation of
hepatic mitochondrial uncoupling of metabolism (assessed by high-resolution
respirometry) and increased expression of uncoupling protein 2. Because these
changes occurred independent of changes in food intake and whole-body metabolic
rate (assessed by indirect calorimetry), the liver-specific effects of WBV may be
a primary mechanism to improve metabolic health during aging, rather than that it
is a consequence of alterations in energy balance.

PMCID: PMC4757540
PMID: 26886917 [PubMed - in process]

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Testosterone Total - depending on the year, it ranges from 635 ng/dL with ref. range of 260 - 1000 ng/dL to 412 ng/dL with ref. range of 280 - 1250 ng/dL. Latest Testosterone Free 105.7 pg/mL with ref. range 50-210 pg/mL and Testosterone Percentage Free 1.66% with ref. range 1.0 - 2.7%. I don't know if that's high, low, where it's supposed to be optimally or what - my GP didn't say anything about my testosterone levels.

 

However, in general I'm OK with hormone levels changing as a result of a "natural" stimulus such as exercise or diet, but I become uneasy if it's the result of an intervention that is not found in nature, such as pharmacological or indeed a novel treatment such as WBV.

 

Again, I am not saying any of this to bag on WBV - I'm just providing what I thought would be a balancing to your positives. More as an opening point of discussion than dire conclusions. 

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Tom,

 

Your testosterone levels certainly aren't as low as some of us suffer from / enjoy. I'm not sure whether to console or congratulate you. 

 

 I agree with you that T level is worth keeping an eye on, whether or not one chooses to engage in relatively novel therapies like WBV.

 

--Dean

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Is it advisable to blithely plunge in? History is littered...

I blithely plunged in, bought the thing, and now am awaitin' da shakin'. I'll use it to help with the crazy acro funny I do with all those brightly colored feathers over there in the park haze. Donation hats are out; shaking platforms are in.

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FWIW, I also just placed an order with Amazon for a $199 total. I guess I'll experiment with it. I'm hoping to convince my wife to use it, as I suspect it may be of more benefit to her - she's got quite some time before menopause, but she was on PPI's for some 5 years or so for GERD, now off of it thankfully - but I can't discount the possibility of damage, so if she goes for the WBV, I think she might benefit. 

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