Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Vibration Exercise

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome often presents with the inability to engage in any sort of intense exercise program. When I recommend vibration exercise therapy, most of my patients are initially skeptical. It is difficult to recommend something without being sensitive to what my chronic fatigue syndrome patients are going through. That’s why this article sheds some light on why vibration exercise can be a beneficial therapy to pursue.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is based on ‘reduced effort tolerance’

Chronic fatigue syndrome is characterized by low effort capacity. It’s difficult to initiate any form of exercise. Hence a person becomes deconditioned. This continues on in a vicious cycle until the deconditioning continues to make one more and more unable to engage in any activity. This is a peripheral thing. You can’t use your muscles because for some reason your body can’t handle the load. You avoid it. The muscles get weak. Your ability to do anything goes down and down. However, there’s another factor also present. This is what we call the reduced effort tolerance. Most people with chronic fatigue syndrome just can’t do something because their tolerance to the activity is quite low. A study found that those with chronic fatigue syndrome had altered cerebral oxygenation and blood volume. This led to a significant exercise intolerance. So it’s not just that the muscles can’t handle the exercise. By having altered oxygenation in the brain, a simple exertion through an easy exercise program can be ‘perceived’ as harder than it actually is. Then of course one doesn’t do the exercise and then the muscles get deconditioned and the vicious cycle continues.

Vibration therapy is an effective ‘early adoption’ of exercise for chronic fatigue syndrome

So now we know that someone with chronic fatigue syndrome is unable to engage fully in an exercise program. However, exercise is exactly what they need. That’s where vibration exercise has some significant benefits. A person can get a high enough intensity workout in a fraction of the time as conventional training. What this means is that you can easily start with a few seconds and work your way up to a couple of minutes. By having a high number of muscle contractions in a short period of time, there is less chance of quitting because you are unable to exert yourself. Also, whole body vibration exercise can be done in gentle static positions, thereby making the ability to actually complete an exercise session more plausible. Not only is there strengthening involved, but also flexibility and deep massage and circulation.

Do your research when you purchase a vibration plate for chronic fatigue syndrome

All these effects makes it clear that vibration plate training is an ideal choice for exercise. However, just like any other exercise program, you will need to have a program designed for you by a competent professional or trainer. Don’t just follow a standard poster or exercise dvd. What is your limitation? What aspects do you need to work on? Is it flexibility? Massage? Strengthening? Also, what kind of vibration unit will be the best fit for you? If you have chronic fatigue syndrome, all these things need to come into consideration when you are looking at engaging in vibration exercise.

About the Author Dr. Jasper Sidhu

Dr. Jasper Sidhu has been using vibration platforms for over 10 years in rehabilitation, sports, fitness and weight loss settings. In addition to hands on treatment of patients and clients in these settings, he has lectured at various universities and medical association meetings on the application of vibration training.  

Leave a Comment:

Linda says January 3, 2013

I would like to hear from any chronic fatigue sufferer who may have used the vibration method to hear their personal experience with WBV. My daughter is almost 17 and has suffered CFS for almost 4 years. Deconitioning is a concern. If anyone can shed some light on the matter it would be greatly appreciated.

    Dr. Jasper Sidhu says January 3, 2013

    Hi Linda, thanks for your question. Here are some key points to consider, in addition to a link to an article i did on this site that looked at the research behind chronic fatigue.

    Vibration is just exercise, except its something that can specifically help people that are deconditioned. Take a look at the following article and let me know if there’s any other questions:

Katie Bird says January 23, 2013

HI, I’m a physiotherapist working in palliative care. We have been given the opportunity to aquire a vibration plate but I’m a little unsure as to the effects on patients with cancer related fatigue. Do you have any information or any research/articles that can help my decision?
Many thanks.

    Dr. Jasper Sidhu says January 23, 2013

    hi Katie

    Your situation isn’t rare. There’s a lot of tools and devices out there that could be beneficial for your patient, but its’ difficult to know which ones are effective. Your situation really depends on what your goals are, the patient population you will be placing on the vibration platform, space required, and whether you would like the vibration platform to be mobile or stationary. I’m going to send you a link in your email with my collection of research article abstracts. Start with those first and then I can narrow down what type of machine may be the best suited for your facility, or whether your facility may not require a vibration platform either. Thanks.

    Jasper Sidhu

Allana Ram says April 6, 2013

Hi, I have had cfs since 1985 when I was just 19years old and Fibromyalgia for the last 8 years.
I have just learned that we have a new Vibrational exercise gym come to our small town in Keswick, Ontario, Canada. I will most defiantly let you know all aspects and outcome of this “therapy”.
Wishing you a day filled with Happiness! ;0)

    Dr. Jasper Sidhu says April 8, 2013

    Good stuff Allana!

    I’ve seen some great results with vibration for CFS and fibromyalgia. If you find it’s not going as planned, let me know. I’d love to give you some feedback on your program and hope you can see some good results. Just remember that you need patience and it does take time.

Linda says June 4, 2013

Hi Allana,
I wish you luck. We have purchased a machine so my daughter can do a bit every day. She has been using it for about 6weeks now, progressing slowing so we don’t have any setbacks. Whilst there has not been a radical change we are intentionally going slow and do not anticipate anything too great yet but I feel her mood is improved and there seems to be minimal improvement. I imagine that therenis even some change in the shape of her legs now that the muscles are being used!
Once school holidays start we will ramp up a bit more and hope for the best.
Hang in there. Watch your diet. It is so important.
And I would love to hear how you go.

Linda says June 4, 2013

Is there anyone else out there who has used this method to improve their symptoms?

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