Vibration Massage Illustrated

Vibration massage therapy can be used for the whole body or localized areas of the body.

What is Vibration Massage Therapy?

First and foremost, vibration is a shaking motion. Therefore, vibration massage therapy is a technique where the tissues of the body are pressed and released in an up and down or back and forth movement. In fact, the movement causes fine trembling and creates a tingling sensation. Moreover, the therapy causes muscles to contract and relax. As a result, the body produces osteoblasts. By the way, osteoblasts are cells that synthesize bones and increases bone density.

Vibration Massage and Percussion Therapies

Most of all, a vibration massage uses a stroke that encompasses vibration, jostling and shaking. For example, some vibration massage devices produce a back and forth motion across the body’s skin. Moreover, depending on the speed and amount of pressure applied, it can be effective in soothing or stimulating the body. Indeed, vibration massage assists in relaxing muscles when applied to the abdomen or lower back.

On the other hand, percussion massage therapy devices produce a piston-like up and down motion on the body’s surface. This motion creates comfortable compression waves that travel to the body’s deepest connective tissues. Moreover, percussion massage relaxes tense muscles by providing maximum comfort to your back, neck, and shoulders.

When to Use Vibration Therapy

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

First and foremost, when parts of your body are subject to unfamiliar or unaccustomed muscular workouts, they may experience pain 24 to 72 hours later. In fact, this pain is caused by tears of microscopic muscle fiber from the unfamiliar or unaccustomed high-force muscular workouts. Most noteworthy, this pain is referred to as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS. Meanwhile, DOMS, which increases risk of injury, has the following features:

  1. 1
    First, it may be accompanied by muscular pain
  2. 2
    Next, it reduces the intensity of force that can be generated by muscles
  3. 3
    Also, it reduces range of motion. Consequently, it becomes difficult to absorb the shock of physical activity.
  4. 4
    Lastly, it creates discomfort

Other Reasons

  1. 1
    First, muscle injury
  2. 2
    Also, shin splints. In fact, trigger point sticks help decrease chronic tension that may build up in the calf and tibialis anterior.

How Effectively Does Vibration Therapy Help DOMS?

First and foremost, a study in Journal of Clinical & Diagnostic Research reported that vibration and manual massage therapies are equally effective in preventing DOMS.

In fact, manual massage therapy is effective in restoring concentric strength, the most familiar type of strength. Especially relevant, concentric strength is associated with muscles contracting or shortening with resistance. For example, the curling part of a bicep workout, where the muscles contract to do the curl, is concentric strength.

So, while manual massage therapy is effective at restoring DOMS concentric strength, vibration therapy is good at reducing likelihood of DOMS muscle pain.

By the way, concentric strength is considered the weakest of applied strength, while static strength is twenty percent greater than concentric strength and eccentric strength is forty percent greater than concentric strength.

Meanwhile, static strength involves contracting a muscle in a fixed spot. In addition, it involves holding the contraction or contracting against an immovable force. Also, in static strength, muscles are neither lengthening or, shortening.

Range of Motion

Next, vibration therapy can increase range of motion. In fact, the therapy synchronizes motor neurons. As a result, muscle groups generate more force. In addition, the therapy can cause synchronization of motor neurons between muscle spindles. In addition, the therapy may recruit previously inactive motor neurons. Which results in production of even greater force. And, because the exercise load is distributed over a larger number of active fibers, there is less risk of damaging muscle fibers.

Maximal Isometric Force (MIF)

The force generated during an isometric contraction is wholly dependent on the length of the muscle while contracting. In fact, Maximal Isometric Force or MIF is that force produced at the muscle’s optimum length.

Meanwhile, eccentric strength is strength generated when a muscle is stretching with resistance. For example, lowering weight from a contracted position, such as during a biceps curl is an example of eccentric strength. Furthermore, eccentric muscle action, involves lengthening of a muscle as it develops tension and contracts to control motion performed by an outside force, such as gravity. As another example, the calf muscle shortens when you rise on your toes. But it lengthens to brake or control your descent. Indeed, the descending phase is an eccentric contraction. In conclusion, eccentric contraction is the motion of an active muscle while it is lengthening under load.

Most noteworthy, strength reduction that may occur following eccentric muscle workouts is due to myofibrillar damage. Incidentally, this damage may involve z-band and sarcomere disruption from the eccentric contractions. By the way, sarcomeres are a structural unit of a myofibril in striated muscle. And, researchers have shown that post exercise vibration therapy has no impact on restoring MIF after eccentric muscle workouts.

Cretain Kinase

Next, Cretain Kinase or CK is the primary enzyme that regulates anaerobic metabolism. In fact, CK is released when there is damage to muscle tissue or when myocyte membrane permeability changes. Indeed, the myocyte membrane permeability of muscles undergoing unfamiliar workouts changes. Consequently, this change in permeability causes release of CK.

Meanwhile, vibration therapy reduces changes to myocyte membrane permeability. As a result, CK release falls. Therefore, vibration therapy before a muscle workout causes less damage to muscle tissues and less changes in myocyte membrane permeability. And, this results in less release of CK in blood 48 hours after the workout. Furthermore, studies have shown that vibration therapy after a muscle workout results in significant reduction of CK levels.

Lactate Dehydrogenase

First, almost every cell of the body, including muscles contains the enzyme Lactate Dehydrogenase or LDH. Moreover, the enzyme turns sugar into energy. However, high levels of LDH is an indicator of some form of tissue damage.

Furthermore, anaerobic exercise increases levels of LDH. Indeed, the increased LDH activity occurs for 12 to 24 hours after the exercise. Most of all, when muscles run out of oxygen during exercise, pyruvate gets catalyzed into lactic acid by the enzyme, lactate dehydrogenase.

Meanwhile, vibration therapy increases skin temperature and blood flow. As a result, the therapy reduces accumulation of lactic acid in the blood. Therefore, lower levels of LDH and significantly lower levels of lactic acid are found 48 hours after a muscle workout.

Muscle Strength

Finally, studies have shown that vibration therapy is not effective in recovering isotonic muscle strength after a muscle workout.

Benefits of Vibration Massage Therapy

Benefits of vibration therapy include:

  1. 1
    Soothing irritated nerves
  2. 2
    Loosening scar tissue
  3. 3
    Relaxing muscles in the forearms
  4. 4
    Stimulating blood circulation
  5. 5
    Stimulating glandular activity
  6. 6
    Decrease muscle, joint, and back pain. Provides pain relief because vibrations create numbness somewhat like anesthesia. As a result, tense muscles nearby are relaxed. This is especially helpful for joint pain, back pain, and general muscle pain.
  7. 7
    Relieve stress and reduce its negative effects on the body
  8. 8
    Boost digestive health
  9. 9
    Boost metabolism
  10. 10
    Increase flexibility
  11. 11
    Causes relaxation

Increases Muscle Mass and Strength

Indeed, an article in the Journal Clinical Rehabilitation reviewed research on how vibration therapy effects muscle strength and bone mass. And, the article reported evidence that vibration therapy helps improve leg muscle strength in older adults.

Improves Bone Density

However, the same research found no significant evidence that it improves bone density in older adults. However, more recent research in Current Osteoporosis Reports and Current Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Obesity is more promising. In fact, findings suggest that vibration therapy may help stimulate bone formation and improve bone strength. Furthermore, the findings suggest that the intensity of vibrations may affect whether it’s effective. However, more studies are needed.

Parkinson’s Disease

Next, a study reported in NeuroRehabilitation reported that vibration therapy may provide short-term benefits for people with Parkinson’s disease. For example, the therapy may help decrease muscle tremors and rigidity. However, more research is needed to assess the long-term effects.

What Are the Risks of Vibration Therapy?

Regrettably, vibration therapy may be dangerous if the intensity of the vibrations is too high. For instance, high frequencies may cause lumbar injuries and severe back pain. Therefore, talk to your doctor before trying vibration therapy. Especially relevant, doctors may advise you to avoid it:

  1. 1
    First, if you are taking blood thinning medications
  2. 2
    Or, if you have advanced diabetes
  3. 3
    Next, if you have heart disease
  4. 4
    Or, if you are pregnant

Comparing Vibration and Manual Massage Therapies

Effectiveness

First and foremost, manual massage can vary dramatically in effectiveness.

Soothing and Relaxing

Meanwhile, manual massages are perfect for those looking for a soothing and relaxing massage. On the other hand, vibration massagers can also be soothing and relaxing, but likely not as much as a good manual massage.

Penetration

Manual Massage

First, in a manual massage, to get deep penetration, the massager, literally, has to squash the underlying muscles. Also, a deep massage requires more pressure. Consequently, the massage becomes harder to do. Also, more pressure often equals more pain. Consequently, muscles tighten up - which is the opposite of what the massage is trying to achieve.

Furthermore, to massage a small deep section, the massager may use the thumb. Or, to get deeper the massager may use an elbow, which increases the area and the pain. As a result, the amount of physical effort and the amount of pain inflicted limits what the massage can do.

Vibration Massage

On the other hand, for deeper penetration, vibration massagers have a distinct advantage over a manual massage. First, a vibration massager sits on the skin and sends its vibrations deep into the muscles. As a result, these vibrations relax the muscle. Moreover, there is no pain as with a manual massage trying to get deep.

Also, the vibration massager is only limited by the size and shape of the massage head along with the power of the motor. Consequently, a larger area can be deeply penetrated with comfort. Moreover, vibration massagers can do in five to ten minutes what would take a manual massage an hour. And, do it without the pain. 

Regular Repetition

Most of all, using a vibration massager at home is convenient. Consequently, it can be used and regularly and repeatedly. Moreover, research shows that to remedy long standing muscular issues require large number of repetitions of therapy over time. In addition, studies now show considerable health and wellness benefits by regularly repeating a simple massage.

With all things being equal twenty to thirty vibration massages are a lot more beneficial than just one or two manual massages. Consequently, machine massagers have a significant advantage over manual massage. In fact, they allow the option of self-massaging at home. Which allows practically unlimited quality professional standard massages, without the cost, and inconvenience of manual massages.

Cost

However, a vibration massager has an initial investment to buy the massager and get some advice. But, after this investment, one can have a massage every day if one wants. On the other hand, each manual massage requires a payment.

Convenience

Finally, vibration massage therapy is simply convenient: just plug in the machine and use it. On the other hand, a manual massage requires making an appointment, and travelling to a specialist.

About the Author Lisa