Whole-body vibration reduces the severity of chronic constipation

The aim of the Taiwanese researchers was to determine whether whole-body vibration (WBV) could improve symptoms of chronic constipation of the functional constipation type (which accounts for almost 60% of all constipation cases) and associated health-related quality of life (HRQOL). The results of the presented report may be important for patients struggling with haemorrhoids (anal varices), as constipation is often the cause of their formation and persistence. Furthermore, the risk of constipation increases in patients taking multiple medications or in patients with neurogenic diseases (such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s disease).

  • WBV treatment (6 sessions) significantly reduced constipation severity from 40.3 to 32.4 CSI scores, with no change in CSI in the control group (no vibration).
  • There were no significant differences between the WBV-treated group and the control group in subjective HRQOL scores.

Compiled from:

Whole-body vibration for functional constipation: a single-centre, single-blinded, randomized controlled trial. Wu TJ, Wei TS, Chou YH i wsp. Colorectal Dis. 2012 Nov;14(11):e779-85.

Study population

Twenty-seven subjects with chronic functional constipation (diagnosis according to Rome III diagnostic criteria) were studied; mean age: 39.1 ± 14.1 years in the WBV treatment group and 31.0 ± 7.7 years in the control group. 

Study procedure

The study was conducted at a hospital in Taiwan. It was a clinical randomised, controlled, single-blind study. Patients were randomly allocated to the WBV treatment group (n = 14) or the control group (no vibration treatment; n = 13 at baseline, nine patients completed the study). The vibration treatment group received six 15-minute WBV therapy sessions over a 2-week period. Immediately before and after the study, symptoms of constipation severity were analysed, assessed using the constipation severity instrument (CSI). Health-related quality of life (HRQOL) was also analysed using the Taiwanese version of the Short-Form-36 health questionnaire (SF-36).

The CSI consisted of three subscales scored as follows:

  • obstructive defecation subscale = 0 – 28
  • colonic inertia subscale = 0 – 29
  • pain subscale = 0 – 16,

with a higher score indicating more severe constipation symptoms. The possible scores of all CSI subscales added up to a range of 0 – 73 points.

Use of vibration in the study

A non-invasive oscillation platform AV-001 (BodyGreen, Taiwan) was used. Vibrations were generated with an acceleration of 0.58 g, an amplitude of 2 mm and a frequency of 12 Hz, which were administered to patients in a semi-supine position.


At the start of the study, there were no significant differences in CSI scores between the two groups (CSI total: 40.3 ± 9.5 for the WBV group or 40.8 ± 10.5 for controls; p > 0.05). Both total CSI and obstructive defecation subscale scores improved significantly after WBV treatment (CSI total: 32.4 ± 6.8 for WBV group or 41.7 ± 11.1 for control; p < 0.05).

There were no significant differences between the WBV-treated group and the control group, or within these groups (before vs after therapy), in any of the eight SF-36 items.


The results presented here suggest that WBV may be an effective form of therapy to support the reduction of constipation severity in patients with chronic functional constipation.

The authors further note that this safe and non-invasive form of physical therapy may also be beneficial for older patients in need of general physical strengthening, improved bone mineral density and balance, and who also suffer from constipation.

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