Whole Body Vibration (WBV) is a resulting development of technology introduced to help cosmonauts retuning from zero gravity with wasting bone and muscle mass. The technology was developed in the Soviet Union and was then refined and used by athletes to gain a competitive strength advantage. Today WBV is used widely throughout Europe, North America and Australasia by athletes, gymnasts and physiotherapists.
Vibration works by stimulating the muscles and therefore simulating the actions of exercise, in fact, just 5 minutes on a Whole Body Vibration machine is the equivalent of 4000 steps.
The research into this technology didn’t really start until the late 1970s by Russia’s key sports scientists Dr. Vladimir Nazarov. Being an active sportsman himself and a member of the soviet gymnastics team, he also occupied a chair for the sports biomechanics at State College in Minsk.
He developed a vibration system originally for competitive sports, ballet and medicine but the technology is now being used by the Russian Space Programme with their astronauts suffering from considerable bone loss due to weightlessness. The European Space Agency and NASA have since started using the same technology for the improvement and maintenance of muscle mass and bone density.
The difference with the Galileo vibration plate is that it works by tilting around an axle. The person who stands on the machine will need to try and keep their head and body straight and upright. All the muscles that keep the body in this position are forced to react to the oscillatory movements provided by Galileo, thus exercising them. This is what is known as Whole Body Vibration (WBV), training. Studies show that vibrations at the right dose can lead to many benefits.