Although there are vibration plate contraindications, whole body vibration therapy is being provided by more doctors and therapists than ever before. If you are like most people that have shown interest in vibration training, then you may have seen the vibration plate contraindications that pop up on every website. Most consumers get surprised by these and unfortunately begin to believe that vibration exercise may not be right for them. Nothing could be further from the truth. Whether you are a consumer or a health or fitness professional, this article goes over some of these vibration plate contraindications and gives you a good idea on how vibration exercise machines can help you.
I had a cardiologist that sent me patients that were either deconditioned or came out of surgery and needed some form of strength training. He understood the value of vibration therapy and how it could help with strengthening without putting a lot of stress on the heart. One day, he sent me a patient with a pacemaker. My new therapist had told the patient they would not be allowed to work with them because a pacemaker was one of several vibration plate contraindications. We cleared things up and the patient was able to use the vibration plate. My therapist got caught up in the whole ‘contraindication’ list and assumed that these people were not allowed to use the vibration exercise machines. He didn’t realize that these vibration plate contraindications are actually ‘precautions’. That means a person should take them into consideration, see a health professional prior to starting an exercise program, and be a bit more careful not to over do it.
Vibration training originated from Russia, similar to electrical muscle stimulation. The contraindications for vibration exercise were conveniently taken from electrical stimulation and placed on vibration. However, once you go through each contraindication, you’ll realize that most of them are just precautions. A health professional that places a patient on a vibration platform knows that the reason to use the vibration technology depends on the patient goals, stage of healing, and feedback and close monitoring of their therapy.
Although we’ve seen some great results with vibration therapy, the decision to place someone on the vibration platform is no different than the decision to know when to place someone on a strengthening program. Of course there are subtle differences, but the rationale is the same. For someone coming off a surgery to the knee, has the patient healed enough to warrant strength training? Is there potential to provide a deep tissue massage distal to the surgery so we can begin with increasing circulation? How about starting the patient on a full body workout with vibration, but avoiding the surgical area? This will help with increasing fitness and eventually lead to better results from what we call the ‘cross over effect.’ We’ve seen some great results doing this with athletes that have come off ACL knee surgery. They started vibration training immediately for the rest of their body, which helped maintain their conditioning and strength.
Although most of the contraindications are precautions, there are some ‘absolute’ ones. Pregnancy, active cancer, recent fracture, acute inflammation, current blood clots, and recent surgery are some that you want to avoid vibration plate exercises with. Pacemaker used to be an absolute contraindication. However, there are no ‘electrical’ impulses from a vibration platform. Hence, there is no need to deny someone with a pacemaker the benefits of strength and flexibility through vibration therapy. Best thing to do is discuss with the patient’s doctor or specialist on what you are looking to achieve. We’ve also had some women that became pregnant while they were undergoing vibration training. This will not cause any adverse effects. We simply will stop vibration training until they have their baby.
I hope this provides a simple overview of vibration plate contraindications. At the end of the day, most of these are no different than any other form of exercise. With any type of exercise, consulting a health or fitness professional is always a good idea before you begin something new, especially when there are vibration plate contraindications.
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.