History of Whole Body Vibration Exercise Machines

Whole body vibration machines that you see today have evolved greatly from the devices that were originally created to utilize the power of vibration therapy. Indeed, the original vibration exercise machine was a device used by the early Greeks that resembled a wooden bow. This device had a wooden shaft covered with lumps of cloth and was repeatedly drawn across scabbed flesh wounds. The premise being that the bow would vibrate the injury as it was being drawn back and forth at high speed. This vibration increased circulation to the affected area and increased HGH (Human Growth Hormone) levels in the area, this process speed up the healing treatment. This procedure also improved the lymphatic drainage which would help remove toxins and puss from the area, which made the body’s job of self-repair even more effective. The physicians of the era may not have understood why this treatment was effective, but they knew it did work and their patients (often warriors and soldiers) would be fit for returning to the battlegrounds sooner than those who did not receive this basic vibration therapy. The physicians were often praised for their contribution to the war efforts of their time. These same Greek medical men eventually gave birth to what we refer to nowadays as modern day medicine. They really were the forefathers of modern day whole body vibration therapy, and much of what we know today comes from the ancient Greeks foray into medicine and human health.

isaac newton

Fast forward roughly 1800 years later and Sir Isaac Newton gives us Newton’s laws of motion, which state that F=MA. Force equals Mass times Acceleration. This principle is the basis of what Swedish physician Dr. Jonas Gustav Zander designed and built around 1870. Many of his inventions were used in medical facilities and therapy centers, which eventually turned out to be gyms of modern day. In fact, many of his devices would later be redesigned by Arthur Jones and marketed under his Nautilus brand name of exercise equipment that are common in gyms nowadays. Shortly after Dr. Zander’s products were released, John Kellogg, later known as the father of breakfast cereals, invented a unique vibration chair that was used to treat patients in sanitariums in the United States.

That takes us to the 1960’s where we see Biermann testing the principles of whole body vibration on lower body flexibility. His studies were later used by Nazarov to help Russian athletes. His experiments and studies were quickly adapted for the Russian Space agency in an attempt to aid their quest in the infamous space race against the USA at the time. His research was now being done in secret military bases that were simply named Military Unit 26266. His then almost limitless funding gave him the ability to delve deeply into the science of bio mechanical stimulation. It was shown that this vibration training would greatly increase bone density and build muscle mass and muscle strength, when applied correctly. This gave the Soviets a huge advantage over the Americans, as muscle atrophy and bone degeneration were major causes of concern for space travellers who were subjected to zero gravity environments. NASA quickly followed suit and developed their own version of vibration machines for their astronaut program which after fine tuning also induced very positive results.

carmelo bosco

By the turn of the century, an Italian physiologist by the name of Carmelo Bosco began studies for a private machine manufacturer and led the way to the first modern day vibration exercise machine.

Many independent studies were done on whole body vibration review and enormous amount of data were compiled. These studies have shown that there is a very large difference in the effects that a person would receive using one type of vibration compared to another type. Modern day research using the latest technological advances has given manufacturers much more in depth knowledge about specific motion styles, speeds, amplitudes, and dampening systems to create the most effective and safest whole body vibration machines ever made. Countless independent research studies by Universities and medical facilities have shown that whole body vibration machines are a welcomed tool in treating many different serious illnesses. In fact, whole body vibration machines are now commonly used in workouts. Vibration therapy is frequently used by chiropractors, fitness centers, weight loss clinics, naturopaths, gymnasiums, professional sport teams, Olympic sport teams, large corporations, government facilities and home users.

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Research and Development

With the advent of the first applications of whole body vibration machines utilized for the space programs in the 1960’s, we have seen the further development and improvement of these machines, to the point now, where vibration exercise machines have become highly sophisticated technological and mechanical marvels.

Early vibration exercise machines were crude units that shook uncontrollably and offered limited benefit to users. In fact, they may actually have caused more harm than good. We now recognize that there are many different forms of vibrations, and in fact the term vibration refers to a mechanical phenomenon where oscillations occur around an equilibrium point. When discussing vibration machines we are really discussing waves and wave patterns. Physics teaches us that waves are oscillations accompanied by a transfer of energy, and that is exactly what we want in a vibration exercise machine, we want to transfer energy from a machine to various points in the body. Our bodies become the medium for the energy of the wave. There are many different types of wave patterns, some are desirable for our purpose and others are actually undesirable. There are several factors in a wave that are of importance to us, such as the frequency of the wave, the amplitude of the wave, and the direction of the wave. Other important factors come into play as well, such as the steadiness of the wave frequency, that is to say are all the waves exactly the same (same amplitude, same frequency, same direction), or are some waves emanating from the machine different than others. Consistency may be one word to describe this.

Some specific waves can be very dangerous to the human body. In fact various organs in the body have different densities and these parts respond differently when subjected to the same energy wave. The CDC and OSHA both have very specific guidelines about the type, frequency and duration of acceptable vibrations that workers may be subjected to.

To properly conduct the research, all the above factors are taken into consideration. It’s easy to see that designing and manufacturing a proper whole body vibration machine has to account for a great deal of science and research. Much of this research is difficult if not impossible without very specific scientific testing equipment, and the brightest highly educated technical staff, which is very costly. So it’s completely understandable that only the larger manufacturing firms can allocate the funds necessary to properly design a whole body vibration machine that functions as desired. These firms are secretive of their research findings, and don’t share them with one another and often offset their research costs by way of trademarks and patents on their designs. Suffice it to say that the no name brand of machine is not going to perform anywhere near the abilities of a properly designed machine. It’s easy to make a machine that vibrates and looks like a name brand unit, but it’s not so easy to make one that vibrates correctly.

Once all the research is done, the next step is to physically make the machine, and with today’s multi motion machines, the mechanics themselves are very difficult to manufacture. Many of the better machines have 2 motors and 2 completely independent drive systems that have to interact with each other in very specific ways, without transferring or altering the waves of energy produced by any single motor. Think of the concept of having a car with 2 engines. Both engines are necessary for moving the car at the same time at various speeds, but one motor can’t interact with the other motor. A difficult task indeed, especially for someone with no tools and no garage to build it. Unfortunately this is not a project for a small company with little Reasearch and Development. Same reason why there are only a handful of automakers in the world. Anyone can build a go kart. But a go kart does not perform like a car and is unsafe on the highway or in traffic. In other words, beware of the copycat vibration companies on the market that are more interested in making a buck than improving your health.

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