When assessing postmenopausal, osteopenic women of a lower weight (n=70), vibration plates of a low frequency and intensity (30Hz, 0.2g) have been found to reduce the amount of bone loss both in the spine and femur (Rubin et al., 2004). In this study the vibration group maintained bone mineral density (BMD) whilst the placeabo group lost 2.13% BMD in the femoral neck and 1.6% in the spine. The evidence of mechanical vibration reducing bone loss in the femoral neck has also been supported by other studies (Lau et al., 2011).
Markers of bone resorption (where bone is broken done by osteoclast cells to release minerals in to the blood stream) have been found to be reduced by mechanical vibration. One study (Turner et al., 2011) found that after 8 weeks of vibration these markers reduced by up to 34.6%.
When mechanical vibration is compared to walking, Gusi, Raimundo and Leal (2006) found that after 3 sessions per week for eight weeks, vibration improved fermoral neck BMD by 4.3% against walking alone.
When implementing the use of vibration plates as an exercise route for osteoporosis, it is important to use low intensities and low amplitudes as this gives a lower risk of fractures (Kiiski et al., 2008).
Despite the fact that further research is needed when assessing the benefits of vibration plates for osteoporosis, low intensity vibration has been shown to be a useful tool in prevention and treatment protocols.
Rubin C, Recker R, Cullen D, Ryaby J, Mccabe J, Mcleod K. Prevention of postmenopausal bone loss by a low-magnitude, high-frequency mechanical stimuli: a clinical trial assessing compliance, efficacy, and safety. J Bone Miner Res. 2004;19(3):343-51.
Lau RW, Liao LR, Yu F, Teo T, Chung RC, Pang MY. The effects of whole body vibration therapy on bone mineral density and leg muscle strength in older adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Clin Rehabil. 2011;25(11):975-88.
Turner S, Torode M, Climstein M, Naughton G, Greene D, Baker MK, et al. A randomized controlled trial of whole body vibration exposure on markers of bone turnover in postmenopausal women. J Osteoporos. 2011;2011:710387.
Gusi N, Raimundo A, Leal A. Low-frequency vibratory exercise reduces the risk of bone fracture more than walking: a randomized controlled trial. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2006;7:92.
.Kiiski J, Heinonen A, Järvinen TL, Kannus P, Sievänen H. Transmission of vertical whole body vibration to the human body. J Bone Mineral Res. 2008;23(8):1318-25.