How Does Vibration Therapy Help Improve Circulation for Athletic Recovery?

Vibration therapy has been shown to improve circulation, which makes it a great way to heal from sports injuries. Find out how this method increases blood flow and helps muscles heal after working out.

whole body vibration therapy

Learn how vibration therapy can help athletes get better faster by making the blood flow better. Find out about the science behind the treatment and how it helps heal muscles and ease pain.

A sedentary lifestyle can prove fatal for your health. When your body does not move enough, blood circulation slows down. This causes several problems.

An inadequate supply of circulation not only invites joint and muscle deterioration but also reduces the healing and recovery process. Vibration therapy is one way to improve circulation. And it’s become popular among fitness centers and in physical therapy clinics.

How does vibration therapy support circulation? And what are the benefits of vibration for athletes? We’ll explore that in this guide.

What is the circulatory system?

The circulatory system (also known as the cardiovascular system) plays a vital role in keeping us healthy. Your circulatory system mainly works with the help of blood vessels, which are arteries, veins, and capillaries.

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The primary objective is to send the oxygenated blood (oxygen-rich blood) from the heart to the body through arteries and carry the de-oxygenated blood (oxygen-poor blood) back to the heart through veins.

Ultimately, your circulatory system delivers oxygen, nutrients, and hormones to all the cells in your body.

But it also plays an important role in detoxification. The system picks up carbon dioxide and delivers other waste products, such as chemical byproducts from biological processes and waste from food or drink, to the kidneys and lungs for disposal.

A few of the common signs and symptoms of poor circulation include:

Now, let’s look at vibration therapy and how it works for circulation, muscle pain, etc.

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What Is Vibration Therapy?

Vibration therapy has been used for thousands of years. In fact, there’s evidence it was used in ancient Greece, Japan, and French culture in the 16th century. However, early innovations using major medical and technological advances were not identified until the onset of the 19th century.

Ultimately, vibration therapy transmits gentle vibrations throughout the body. This vibration causes your muscles to contract and relax. With vibration stimulation, researchers have seen several positive benefits, including stress reduction, pain reduction, and increased energy.

Much of the research is still underway to determine whether the direction and intensity of the vibrations play a deciding role in successful vibration therapy.

It is mainly done with the help of a vibration machine or vibration plates. Some vibration machines oscillate vertically, whereas a few others produce vibrations that go up-down, front-back, and sideways.

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Types of Vibration Therapy

There are two main types of vibration therapy:

  1. Whole-body Vibration (WBV)
  2. Local Vibration

#1. Whole-body Vibration

Vibration plates are used to spread the vibrations over the whole body during this treatment. The person might be asked to stand, sit, or lie down on a machine with a vibrating floor under it. On occasion, they are asked to do workouts like push-ups and squats on the machine.

WBV devices usually cost more than their handheld counterparts and aren’t easy to transport due to their sheer size.

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#2. Local Vibration

With time and advancements, vibration devices have become smaller, and they can now treat a localized area. Handheld devices are affordable and have become more effective as they can be applied directly to the affected muscle or tissue.

Such devices typically cost between $200 and $2,000 and can be easily carried anywhere.

Devices like vibrating foam rollers, handheld gun percussion massagers, and vibrating plates have paved the way into therapy clinics.

Whether whole-body vibration therapy or localized vibration, both have been proven to improve an individual’s health and wellness through circulation. Let’s understand it in detail.

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How does vibration therapy enhance circulation?

Vibration therapy helps with circulation and is mostly preferred by people who have experienced sore muscles or pain. A common complaint among these patients is muscle tightness or stiffness, and they seek physical therapy, chiropractic care, or massage therapy.

The amplitude and frequency of the vibration are directly proportional to the treatment’s effectiveness. For example, targeted vibration therapy (TVT) is an innovative application using high-frequency, low-amplitude vibration (>50 Hz) to reduce pain and enhance muscle flexibility.

Below are the direct effects of vibration therapy observed:

#1. Increased Blood Flow:

Vibration therapy has been proven to improve blood circulation. A study published in the ‘Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology’ showed that WBV therapy increased skin blood circulation and nitric oxide production in patients with neurovascular complications.

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#2. Muscle Activation:

The 30 Hz frequency of WBV increased the peak blood velocity (PBV) after 1, 2, and 3 minutes of therapy, concluding that whole-body vibration is an effective method to improve leg blood flow and activate muscle mass.

#3. Reduction of Arterial Stiffness:

Increased arterial stiffness is a well-established cardiovascular risk factor. Oscillation due to WBV mechanically stimulates the abdominal and leg arteries and may help in decreasing arterial stiffness.

#4. Promotion of Lymphatic Drainage:

Lymphatic drainage removes toxins, waste products, and excess bodily fluids. The lymphatic fluid only circulates by movement in the lymphatic system. Whole-body vibration therapy helps move muscles to pump lymphatic fluid and oxygen through the body.

Benefits of Vibration Therapy

Studies conducted over a period of time have shown significant benefits of vibration therapy, such as:

If you are feeling any signs or symptoms of poor blood circulation, as discussed in the beginning, it is advisable to incorporate vibration therapy into your daily routine. You may look for a WBV at your local gym, physical therapy institute, or massage therapy center.

The best practice for using vibration therapy devices is under the supervision or guidance of a healthcare professional to gain effective results.

Wrapping Up

Since the early 1900s, vibration therapy has helped to take us one step closer to longevity.

With continuous innovation in vibration therapy devices, the future holds substantial result to effectively prevent and combat osteoporosis, increase bone mineral density, build muscle strength and mass, stimulate blood circulation and lymphatic flow, and improve balance and coordination.

Using vibration therapy for as little as 15 minutes a day may aid in weight loss, burn fat, improve muscle flexibility, reduce muscle soreness, decrease the stress hormone cortisol, build strength, and more.

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