Vibration has been used as an exercise and therapeutic tool since the late 1800s. The modern research of this technology began in the late 1970’s with the development of a vibration system by one of Russia’s key sports scientists Dr. Vladimir Nazarov. He introduced this technology to competitive sports, ballet and medicine in the former USSR. The Russian space program is currently using the technology with their astronauts to prevent bone loss (osteoporosis) due to weightlessness. NASA and the European Space Agency are studying vibration training for the maintenance of muscle strength, mass and bone density.
The VibraFlex platform vibrates in a “teeter-totter” fashion. This produces a corresponding teeter-totter motion at the pelvis resulting in two (2) key actions: it simulates the natural, locomotor crossover pattern and it requires active user participation in postural stabilization. The specific vibration patterns used activates the involuntary muscle stretch reflex (IMSR).
The vibrations of the VibraFlex provide for the application of the natural, locomotor, crossover pattern, which is the basis for all functional ambulatory activities, such as walking and running. The result is a more functional workout. The purpose of the teeter-totter movement pattern is to add a load (weight) to your vibration training. When you “Vibration Train” the contractions cause increased circulation to the tissues, enhanced motor recruitment, and beneficial hormone responses. These effects have immediate and long-term benefits.
The VibraFlex is the only teeter totter vibration platform. Research shows that exercise should be done through full range of motion for maximum benefits. The VibraFlex can be used with straight legs or slightly bent legs, similar to the end range of a squat. Other vibration devices encourage you to bend into deep angles because the units are very uncomfortable to use with straight legs.
The advantages of VibraFlex are that it:
- Simulates the natural locomotor, crossover pattern
- Provides for improved neuromuscular communication
- Provides for better stabilization of the head and spine, resulting in less vibration
- Provides for increased use of the postural muscles
- Properly re-wires the neural pathways
- Provides for larger amplitudes and forces resulting in greater work done, per unit of time
The VibraFlex provides the greatest acceleration and amplitude available for a vibration device. At either end of the platform, there is a displacement of 12.8mm, from the lowest to highest point. As a result, the user can expect greater and quicker results from his/her sessions.
Acceleration is a function of frequency and amplitude, therefore, the higher the frequency and amplitude, the greater the acceleration. At the highest frequency of 30 Hz and at the highest amplitude (at the edge of the platform), the VibraFlex platform can accelerate close to 22 times gravity. Another way to state this is 22 times your body weight. Very effective gains, in strength and power, result from this training.
Hertz is a unit of frequency, equivalent to “cycle per second”. When the VibraFlex is used at 24Hz the targeted muscles are given 24 impulses per second, causing these muscles to contract and relax by natural reflex, 24 times per second.
The vibration platform technology has been studied extensively. Here is a listing of documented benefits:
a) Improves muscle power, muscle strength & tone by increasing muscle fiber recruitment
b) Increases overall muscle performance due to better reciprocal inhibition between flexors/extensors
c) Increases blood flow to muscles
d) Increases oxygenation in the blood due to the aggressive muscle pumping action
e) Raises testosterone (7%) and growth hormone (361%) levels
f) Lowers cortisol (32%) level
g) Washes out lactic acid and amino acids in the body due to the aggressive muscle pumping action
h) Eliminates the effects of stress on joints, ligaments and tendons, compared to conventional exercise
i) Exercises and/or redevelops the postural muscles, joints and reflexes after injury
j) Reduces acute and chronic lower back pain due to muscle strain
k) Stimulates the neuromuscular system and helps to deepen and redevelop the neuromuscular pathways
l) Less stress on the cardiovascular system then other forms of exercise
m) Improves postural reflexes due to the natural locomotor cross-over pattern of vibration
n) Increases flexibility by providing an aggressive contract/stretch action
o) Increases range of motion essential in sports such as golf, tennis, baseball or hockey
p) Improves balance & coordination due to the improved inter and intra muscular communication
q) Improves mobility due to the natural locomotor crossover pattern of vibration
Vibraflex (Galileo is the European brand) is listed as a Class 1 Medical Device by the FDA. It has FDA permission to make the following claims:
- VibraFlex exercised postural muscles, joints and reflexes
- VibraFlex training improved muscle strength, reflexes and joint motion
- VibraFlex training redeveloped postural muscles, joints and reflexes after injury/disease
- VibraFlex training reduced incontinence by strengthening the perineal muscles
- VibraFlex training improved leg circulation for people with Diabetes
- VibraFlex training slowed the progress of Parkinson’s disease
- VibraFlex training reduced the pain and disability associated with Osteoarthritis.
Dr. Ross and other providers from Crossroads Apothecary and Integrative Medicine at Crossroads individualize the training program based on patient assessment.
It is provided as a part of the Vitality Program.