Whole body vibration training has become somewhat popular over the past several years, thanks in small part to some celebrity endorsements and testimonials. However, real scientific data in the form of bona fide vibration training research is basically non-existent.
Let’s see how Vibra-Train, self-appointed "Vibration Training Specialists,” deals with what for them must be the uncomfortable reality that there isn’t reliable data to support the use of their product.
On Vibra-Train’s home page there is a hyper-link to a “Research” page. When you click on this link, you are taken to page on the Vibra-Train site that tells us, “There are over 200 academic papers released to date (7/29/07) all pointing to its (vibration training) positive benefits to some degree or another.”
Incredibly, rather than provide us with some stellar research that shows us what these positive benefits are, and to what degree – or another – it works, Vibra-Train just tells us, “Type into Google…Vibration Training Research…for results.”
This kind of laziness is inexcusable. You would think that a company that’s selling a product that costs thousands of dollars, and that tells us there are hundreds of sources of info, could at least pick some of the best studies for us to read and put them on site, rather than have us do their job for them. Perhaps Vibra-Train just wants us to take their word, and not actually find out what this research consists of.
So let’s see what happens when we do Vibra-Train’s job for them, and do a Google search on vibration training research (without quotation marks). These results are as of September 3, 2007.
The first spot on Google is occupied by a website called the Sports Injury Bulletin, and the piece is just a summary of the state of WBV research. This item doesn’t provide us with any research and leaves us with the following conclusion: “The bottom line? There isn’t one. Vibration training could yet be the next big thing; but so far, the men in white coats cannot give us a green light, and anyone using this technique will be doing so with their fingers firmly crossed behind their backs" (my emphasis).
The folks at Vibra-Train can’t be happy about this one. If you’re a business owner or consumer thinking about changing your business and spending thousands of thousands of dollars on WBV platforms, would you want to do so with “fingers crossed firmly behind your back?”
In the second spot on Google is a company that sells WBV platforms that recycles the same old, old information that allegedly the Russian space program found that WBV training aided those who have been in a weightless environment. The first six items of the research that this company provides us with were done by the person for whom the company is named, and who has a vested interest in producing research that supports the claims that WBV offers some benefits so that they can sell their machines.
This in itself isn’t always a bad thing. However, in this case the guy who did the research and who the company is named after doesn’t even let us look at the results of his research, he just gives us the titles of the studies. Many of the titles of the other studies on this page involve elderly individuals or people who are suffering from injury or disease. And we don’t get to see the details of these studies either.
This reminds me of the kind of research that the tobacco companies did that told people that cigarette smoking isn’t bad for you.
Another platform retailer occupies the third spot on Google and they at least have the common courtesy to provide us with links to actual studies for us to read. As usual, these studies aren’t ringing endorsements of WBV training, as even the studies that aren’t flawed come to wishy-washy conclusions. It’s interesting that these studies never mention or consider the exorbitant cost of vibration platforms in comparison to traditional, proven, and free methods of exercise such as walking and stretching.
This retailer also relies on the biased research that was performed and promoted by the retail WBV site that is mentioned above as being in the second spot on Google.
The forth and fifth spots on Google are occupied by items that I have written for this site. I think it is very funny that given the amount of time and effort that the people at Vibra-Train have spent on their efforts to harass me, they are sending people to my articles that de-bunk the whole myth that they are trying to perpetrate.
The sixth spot on Google is held by a summary of a study in progress that is being done at the University of Melbourne to find out if vibration training can aid those who have traumatic spinal cord injuries, and is not an actual study. The summary concludes with, “This study will make an important contribution to the paucity of data currently available on the effects and underlying mechanisms of vibration training in humans” (my emphasis). So the University of Melbourne confirms what I have been saying all along — that there is no evidence to say that WBV is a valid method of training.
The seventh spot on Google is held by an item from the Mayo Clinic. Their physical medicine and rehab specialist Edward Laskowski, M.D. says, “Passive exercise via whole body vibration isn't an effective means of increasing your endurance, flexibility, strength or stability. It's possible that vibration platforms may help you burn a few extra calories — but they are far less efficient than an activity you initiate and maintain yourself. For this reason, whole body vibration is unlikely to result in any measurable weight loss or fitness gains. Also, whole body vibration platforms can be expensive, ranging in price from about $400 to $6,000. Physical activity, such as walking, doesn't require any specific equipment — other than good shoes.”
So you don’t have to listen to me, but how about giving credence to Dr. Laskowski from the Mayo Clinic? Perhaps the Vibra-Train people can start to harass Dr. Laskowski since his comments rank right up there with mine in calling WBV training a waste of time.
The eighth spot on Google is held by a blog site that discusses WBV from a variety of angles and doesn’t provide us with any research that speaks to the efficacy of WBV, and the ninth spot is an article that discusses WBV and doesn’t provide research that indicates WBV works.
Another WBV retailer occupies the tenth spot on Google. Unlike Vibra-Train, at least this company had the courtesy of linking to some actual research studies rather than have us search around the Internet on our own. On this company’s website the same flawed studies are used. These companies think – or rather try to get the public to think – that because sedentary women with osteoporosis make improvements over a six-week period that WBV is a valid mode of training for the non-infirm.
Studies of any sort with regard to exercise-related subjects that use the infirm, diseased and/or aged and that last less than 10-12 weeks don’t have any real merit and certainly do not pertain to the rest of the population. With regard to WBV training there’s also never any mention of the exorbitant price of these machines in this research, and how traditional modes of exercise like walking and stretching are free, and work just as well as WBV even for specialized segments of the population. Which is what the doctor from the Mayo Clinic says.
All in all, this is a pretty lousy showing. What are the people at Vibra-Train thinking?
Laziness, and a lack of attention to detail is evident throughout the Vibra-Train website. From the factually-challenged, sexist and poorly written item dealing with cellulite loss and vibration training – all this money for a machine and they can’t afford a proof reader? – to the constant misrepresentation of the state of research dealing with WBV, this site is a mess.
With the kind of overt sloppiness that is evidenced on almost every page of the Vibra-Train website, why would anyone buy what these folks are selling?
Vibra-Train can’t provide us with research precisely because such research doesn’t exist; they just want people to take them at their word. The University of Melbourne and the Mayo Clinic provide all of the info that anyone should need when they tell us that there’s no data to support the use of WBV training.
You don’t have to listen to me but take the word of researchers from Melbourne and a doctor from the Mayo Clinic. And you can thank Vibra-Train for providing us with all of the reasons NOT to bother with WBV platforms. The Vibra-Train folks can rant and rave until they turn blue in their vibrating faces, but they have only themselves to blame.Powered by Sidelines