As part of our spinal cord recovery program here at Walk It Off, we encourage our clients to get active and out of their chairs during their workout sessions. One of the components of a workout session is getting the clients standing with a trainer. We are able to offer our clients the option to use vibrational therapy by way of the Vibe Plate during this standing session. Standing offers many health benefits to individuals with spinal cord injuries, some of which include increasing bone mass density, bowel and bladder function. The Vibe Plate uses Whole Body Vibration (WBV) technology, which offers additional health benefits to the individual standing on the equipment. It has been suggested that using the Vibe Plate for 10 minutes, three times a week will result in improved range of motion and flexibility, increased blood circulation and muscle strength, and increased bone density to help fight osteoporosis.
Due to the nature of the injury, most individuals with spinal cord injuries use wheelchairs to perform their daily activities. Constantly being in a sitting position takes the load bearing out of the lower extremity, increasing the rate that calcium leaves the bones of those lower extremities, therefore increasing the risk of osteoporosis. Evidence from multiple studies has shown that the use of WBV is an effective intervention to maintain and even improve bone mass density. The vibrations felt during the Vibe Plate sessions imitate the mechanical strains on the bone that occur during physical activity. The use of the Vibe Plate can induce osteogenesis (making new bone) and bone remodeling; increased healthy bone mass density is the result.
Vibration technology has been suggested to contract and relax the targeted muscles due to the influence on excitatory and inhibitory reflexes in the spinal cord. Given that, using the Vibe Plate may lead to reduced muscle spasticity during the time spent standing and for a short time after the standing session. For individuals who have spasticity that affects their daily living and mobility, the Vibe Plate may provide temporary relief.
WBV training has been shown to increase postural control by stimulation of the proprioceptive pathways (body position awareness) and strengthening of the postural muscles. In addition to increasing postural control, use of the Vibe Plate may aid in increasing balance through activation and strengthening of those postural muscles.
Studies looking at the benefits of WBV have reported that use of equipment such as the Vibe Plate increase blood circulation. The use of WBV in individuals with spinal cord injuries has been specifically noted to increase the circulation and blood flow in the legs. At Walk It Off, we have found that WBV also helps to increase blood pressure to lengthen the standing sessions.
Technology such as the Vibe Plate has become a common tool found in athletic training and sport performance to give athletes a competitive edge. The Vibe Plate is incorporated into workouts to increase the effectiveness of strength training because the transmission of vibration during the exercise stimulates the fast twitch muscle fibers- increasing explosive strength, motor learning and muscular endurance. As a testament to the effectiveness of the Vibe Plate, the 2013 Super Bowl Champions, the Seattle Seahawks use the Vibe Plate during their team workouts!
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Until next time,