Vibration therapy, also known as vibration healing, is the use of mechanical vibration to supposedly prevent, treat and promote recovery from a variety of physical ailments, including pain, sports injuries and bone density loss. Whole-body vibration therapy is applied for more systemic complaints. A patient stands on a machine or sits in a chair that vibrates. Many physical therapists for professional athletes use vibration therapy to decrease the recovery time after an injury. However, evidence of benefit is currently unclear.
In a new study, researchers conducted a comprehensive literature search for studies evaluating the effects of whole-body vibration therapy on various factors, including strength, balance and quality of life, for patients with neurological diseases. Thirteen studies evaluating effects in Parkinson's disease, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and stroke were identified for inclusion.
The researchers found that there is some evidence suggesting potential short-term benefits of whole-body vibration therapy for strength. There was also weak evidence suggesting potential benefits for quality of life. In the long-term, the authors noted that there was limited evidence suggesting potential benefits for balance, strength and walking.
Further well-designed clinical trials are necessary before any conclusions can be made.
Parkinson's disease is a movement disorder that is chronic and progressive, meaning that symptoms continue and worsen over time. Parkinson's disease affects nerve cells in a part of the brain that controls muscle movement.
The term cerebral palsy refers to a neurological disorder that appears in infancy or early childhood (most commonly under 37 weeks of age) and permanently affects body movement and muscle coordination but does not worsen over time.
There is currently good evidence of benefit that suggests music therapy may modestly improve symptoms including some aspects of motor coordination, speech intelligibility and vocal intensity, emotional functions, activities of daily living and quality of life for patients with cerebral palsy and Parkinson's disease.
For more information about vibration therapy, please visit Natural Standard's Health & Wellness Database.