Whole-body vibration (WBV) training, as a passive method of musculo-circulatory activation, seems to be a good alternative to conventional physical training for elderly with balance disorders and a high risk of falls. What interested the German researchers, the authors of the presented report, was the comparison of the effects of vibrations with different physical parameters. They compared vertical sine wave vibrations (vertical WBV) with vibrations of randomly varying waves (random WBV) in an analysis of their immediate effect on the condition of elderly people with a high risk of falls.
- Random WBV training had a positive effect on posture control but not gait, while vertical WBV reduced posture control.
- Random WBV significantly increased the respiratory rate from 10.0 ± 1.0 to 32.0 ± 6.0.
- The vertical WBV raised the heart rate from 69.7 ± 20.9 to 146.0 ± 24.9 beats per minute.
- No undesirable side effects were observed during the WBV training.
Prepared on the basis of:
Sinus-like versus random vibration: Acute effects on elderly people with a high risk of falling. Kiehl A, Stein L, Kerling A, Tegtbur U, Kaeding TS. Gait Posture. 2021 Oct;90:36-42.
The study included 12 elderly people with a high risk of falls (including 10 women; age 77.7 ± 5.3 years).
The presented study was of a pilot nature. It was carried out over 2 days with a weekly interval. On the first day, participants were administered vertical WBV, a week later – random WBV. The safety of WBV use as well as the influence of vibrations on postural control and gait were analyzed.
Use of vibration in the study
Efforts were made to maintain the same amplitude and frequency of vibrations with each intervention.
The vertical WBV was generated by the Board 3000 vibrating platform (FeelWell GmbH, Germany). An amplitude of 3 mm and a frequency of 8.19 Hz were used. The subjects stood on the platform with their feet parallel to each other, with a slight bend of the legs, and with a slightly lordotic back. Moreover, their abdominal muscles were tense, their head was erect, and they leaned their hands on the safety bars. The WBV training consisted of six 1-minute series of alternating vibrations with a 1-minute break in between.
The random WBV was generated by the SRT Zeptor Medical platform (SR Therapiesysteme GmbH & Co., Germany). An amplitude of 3 mm and a frequency of 8.33 Hz were used. The course of vibration training was the same as in the case of the vertical WBV, but the participants stood on 2 separate platforms.
Random WBV had a positive effect on posture control but not gait, while vertical WBV reduced posture control.
Random WBV significantly increased the respiratory rate from 10.0 ± 1.0 to 32.0 ± 6.0 (p = 0.011).
During vertical WBV, the heart rate increased significantly from 69.7 ± 20.9 to 146.0 ± 24.9 bpm (p = 0.025).
No undesirable side effects were observed.
The immediate effects of WBV showed that random vibration improves postural control, but not gait, in older adults at high risk of falls. In general, both types of WBV were safe and well-accepted by the participants, however, based on the obtained results, the authors recommend that, before using WBV in the elderly, first physical performance should be assessed by physicians.