Beware of “research” (these days, research begins with a G and ends with an oogle) Most machines on the market are violent, inexpensive (to make) machines and have wonderful websites touting terms such as G-Force, Level 1, 2 and 3 machines etc, with wonderful websites and wonderful reviews written by the company itself; with a convenient link at the bottom of each “expert article” to their specific brand.
Exposing the Myth's Of High G-Force
Some whole body vibrations machines claim that more G-force is better boasting upwards to 17.4 g's of acceleration and beyond.
Before we dispel this potentially harmful myth, lets briefly define G-force and look at international safety standards along with common sense.
One “g” is equal to earth’s gravitational field, or an acceleration of 9.8 meters per second per second. Frequency corresponds to the number of cycles delivered per second.
Levels of vibration are typically considered as a function of magnitude (G-force), which depends on the frequency (Hz), amplitude (usually measured in millimeters) and the weight of the person. Plus the duration of exposure (time) and type of vibration (pivotal/oscillating, linear/vertical, etc.) is an important factor. Pivotal or oscillating motions are much gentler and beneficial than the pounding of an "up and down" vertical or linear machine which can be hard on the back and joints.
Is Vibration Therapy Safe?
There is mounting scientific evidence, through both animal and clinical studies, that low-level, mechanical signals, delivered via whole body vibration machines, can stimulate bone formation, assist in weight loss, reverse back and joint pain and arthritis, and assist in overall increased strength and mobility.
However, just because some vibration may be beneficial, not all vibration is the same and more vibration is not necessarily better. One should always be concerned that “too much of a good thing” may be true in mechanical stimulation such as whole body vibration as well. Just because one aspirin is good for you, doesn’t mean that you should take 50 aspirin per day.
The Dangers of High G-Force Whole Body Vibration Machines
The acceleration magnitudes used in some whole body vibration machines can be as high as 17.4 or even 22.0g which is well beyond the limits recommended for human tolerance by ISO 2631 and OSHA standards, and can be considered dangerous to use, especially for the elderly or young. These ridiculously high G-forces are even beyond the safety limits set by NASA and the U.S. Air force. Consider for example that the space shuttle is calibrated to stay close to only 3 g's on the takeoff and re-entry into the earth's atmosphere. Fighter pilots need special anti-G suits to withstand G-forces over 8 or 9 g's to prevent the pilots from fainting. And its generally considered that the average person could not survive a sustained G-force of over 15 g's (for even a few minutes). It simply defies safety standards and even common sense to use such high g -forces.
Check out these links for Vibration Exercise in the Media!
Physical Therapy Articles:
Vibration Machines Stop Fat From Forming - Scientific American
Whole Body Vibration Does Your Bones and Muscles Good - Dr. Mercola
Wobble to Wellbeing Vibration Platform - Sydney Herald