What is Vibration Therapy?

Oct 27, 2010

Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy

by Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy

When I first heard of vibration therapy I wasn’t really sure what it was. The first thing that came to mind was those cool message chairs you see in stores. The second thing was the crazy weight loss contraptions from the 80’s that had the big belt-like things you positioned around your waist and hooked into a machine and, when turned on, your whole midsection (or below) would vibrate at a teeth shattering rate. Turns out the vibration therapy of today is used for, and effective with, all kinds of injury treatments and specialty sports training.
With so many advances in physical therapy, and unfamiliar medical terms floating about, it is no wonder most people find themselves a little uncertain as to what therapy technique they might need to get better.  The good news is that there are so many effective rehabilitation modalities to help people heal from injury. The even better news is you don’t have to figure it out by yourself. The therapists at Foothills Sports Medicine are trained in a multitude of therapy procedures and guide patients through the mending process depending on what their individual needs are.
One method of healing that is largely unknown is vibration therapy.  I asked the owner of Foothills Sports Medicine- Arrowhead, Doug  Howard, PT, MPT, about the system:
Q:What is Vibration therapy?
Doug:  A vibrating platform on which exercise and balance training activities are performed.  The vibration is delivered at a rate that is not otherwise produced physiologically.  The human body responds with physiologic adaptations to these stimuli, and we see improvements in tissue healing, accelerated injury recovery, improved balance and proprioception, and enhancement of sports performance.  Simply put, it is the application of rhythmic oscillation to place forces on and through the body. The platform on which you stand applies a mechanical stimulus to the tissues of the body.
Q: How does it work?
Doug: The vibrating platform applies a force that the muscles and other tissues of the body have to “manage”.  This “management” of the vibrating platform causes a sudden, unconscious, and rapid change in length of the myofascial tissue, which stimulates feedback from the muscle spindles and golgi tendon organs, and dramatic improvement in neuromuscular performance is subsequently seen.
Q: What kind of injuries is vibration therapy best used for?
Doug: There are actually very few clinical conditions that Vibration Therapy can not help!  Since tissues in the human body respond to the type of forces that are placed on them, they respond in a far superior manner to high velocity vibration, as this technology allows us to deliver therapeutic forces not otherwise possible in the standard clinical or performance training facility.  Also, vibration therapy has a broad scope of application including specialized preventive care with conditions such as osteoporosis, comprehensive clinical application in the rehab/physical therapy setting, and also has generated superior outcomes in performance enhancement protocols.
If you think vibration therapy might help you, contact our Arrowhead clinic and schedule a free Rapid Recovery® assessment.

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