The History of The Vibration Plate or Vibration Machines

Learn more about the history of vibration plates.

Learning about the Story of the Vibration Plate

Those who believe vibration training is a new development are very wrong: vibration training has been studied extensively since the middle of the 19th century, according to historical research. This was probably already the case even earlier, but the first steps in this field required electricity and steam engines.

Our goal today is to present the most significant steps on the way from a steaming, bumpy machine to today’s vibration plates. What is the origin of the vibration plate? Who was involved in the development process?

Vibration Training in Ancient Greece

Vibration training dates back to ancient Greece. Researchers examined the effects of vibration on the human body, produced with a cloth and a tree saw. Thus, they attempted to improve local wound healing of injured parts of the body. 

In Ancient Greece, body vibration machines were used to help soldiers recover from injuries. Using a bow-like wooden instrument, soldiers would pluck the strings of the bow in order to cause it to vibrate over their wounds. As a result of vibration therapy, Ancient Greek doctors found that soldiers’ injuries would heal more quickly. The “buzzing” allowed pus to drain faster and increased human growth hormone production. These benefits enabled the patient’s body to heal.

The origins in the 19th century

Today’s vibratory plate meets its first stop in Sweden. In the 1860s, Swedish physician and physiotherapist Gustav Zander invented a steam-powered apparatus that was used for so-called mechanotherapy. Today, he is regarded as one of the founders of modern sports medicine.

Around the same time, George Taylor developed an apparatus for vibrating the arms and backs of patients that was developed on the other side of the Atlantic.

It was now the turn of Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, who ran the Battle Creek Sanitarium in Michigan and used vibrating chairs to treat his patients. Patients’ well-being will be improved by this, he hoped. As a side note, Kellogg was the inventor of cornflakes and peanut butter.

Jean-Martin Charcot, a French neurologist, tried to cure Parkinson’s disease with vibrating chairs in 1880 but was unsuccessful.

The vibration plate in the 20th century

During the 20th century, there was relative quiet around the vibration plate. In 1960, however, it reappeared in East Germany when W. Biermann published his work on the effects of cyclic oscillation on the human body ( Influence of cycloid vibration massage on trunk flexion, American Journal of Physical Medicine. 39: 219–224). All subsequent doctors, inventors, and professors who have dealt with vibration training have used this data as a guide.

About ten years later, around 1970, the Russian scientist Vladimir Nazarov developed a device to stimulate physical activity by stimulating specific parts of the body. Following vibration training, he noticed an increase in flexibility and strength in his athletes. Furthermore, he was a member of the Soviet gymnastics team, which explains his motivation.

Russians then applied the knowledge Nazarov amassed for their space program. Vibration training can slow or prevent bone and muscle loss in space. However, there is still significant controversy regarding the effects on space. While vibration plates are sold as being used for space travel, this isn’t true. In spite of NASA and the German Aerospace Center’s (DLR) extending their feelers, vibration training has yet to be carried out on the ISS or similar space stations.

Vibration training in the present

Since 1996, vibration plates have been sold for use at home and in gyms. The vibration plates are usually used in the gym, however you are usually required to pay a monthly fee for the professional models, or you can get a cheap version for home and do your exercises there.

It is clear that the vibration plate is accessible to everyone today and is not just a pipe dream of scientists from a bygone age.

Should you use a Vibration Machine?

The cost of modern vibration plates is also much cheaper than was the case with the first models. This is not least due to series production and increased demand. Due to the lower prices, almost all fitness studios today offer training with a vibration plate. In many cases, the use of the vibration plates is already included in the membership fee and no longer has to be paid separately. In addition, there are also smaller studios that specialize in pure vibration training.

Meanwhile, more and more people are also thinking about purchasing vibration plates as a result of this development. It makes sense to save the gym trip since even short sessions on a vibration plate are enough. The vibration plates aren’t cheap, but regular training makes them worth the price. The sales of vibration plates by manufacturers clearly indicate that they are increasingly purchased for private use. This is not least due to the increasing number of models on the market. The increasing competition between manufacturers has a positive effect on price and quality.

Through the effective training provided by vibration plates, the technique once developed for space training has been able to thrive. A constant product development has also made it more interesting for the in-house fitness room to purchase training equipment.

References

  • Bierman, W.. “INFLUENCE OF CYCLOID VIBRATION MASSAGE ON TRUNK FLEXION.” American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation 39 (1960): 219–224.

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