Vibration therapy improves mobility and strength in young people with cerebral palsy

March 10, 2016 by Nicola Shepheard
Dr Silmara Gusso demonstrates the vibration plate

Young adults with cerebral palsy enjoy stronger bones and greater mobility after training on a specialised vibration plate.

The were participating in a clinical trial of the whole-body vibration training by the Liggins Institute at the University of Auckland. A paper about the study is now published online in Scientific Reports, a journal from the Nature Publishing Group.

In the trial, 40 young people with , aged 11 to 20, stood on a specially designed vibration plate for nine minutes a day, four times a week. After 20 weeks of training, researchers found multiple benefits.

Liggins Research Fellow Dr Silmara Gusso, who led the study, said some participants showed dramatic improvements.

"We expected them to increase their and muscle mass, which is what happened. What we didn't expect was that their day-to-day functioning would also improve.

"Some kids were walking 30 per cent further in a 6-minute walk test – that might not sound much for us, but being able to walk an extra 100m is huge for them. The feedback from parents and carers about the changes they were noticing was especially encouraging: improved mood, greater manoeuvrability and fewer falls. In a group with troublesome constipation vibration therapy was also unexpectedly beneficial.

"Parents and physios saw not only physical but also emotional changes. Confidence improved: kids who used to walk around holding onto rails are now walking around the school with their chins up."

Jubilee Crippled Children Foundation Trust and the Sir David Levene Foundation funded the research.

Cerebral palsy, a group of movement disorders, is the most common cause of physical disability in childhood. It affects 2 in 1000 children, and usually appears at birth or in early infancy. It's caused by abnormal development or damage to parts of the brain that control movement, balance and posture. Children with the disorders have impaired muscle function and reduced muscle and bone mass. Muscles that normally work in complementary action will simultaneously go into spasm, making movement difficult, and over time the muscles waste. About half of children have a higher-than-normal risk of bone fractures, partly because their muscles aren't pulling on their bones in the normal way to promote healthy bone development.

Until now, treatments to relieve the disorders' effects have been fairly limited: injection of botox, surgery, passive stretching by physiotherapists and injection of bisphosphonates to increase bone density.

Previous, small-scale studies had indicated that Whole Body Vibration Training (WBVT) offered benefits for young people with cerebral palsy. This trial, the biggest and most rigorous to date, confirms and elaborates on the benefits.

The trial used a vibration plate that has been specially developed and tested for physical therapy. Patients stand on it barefoot, holding onto its metal frame for support if necessary. Its see-saw movement stimulates a pattern similar to walking. This is thought to improve communication between the muscles and spine, thereby aiding balance and co-ordination.

Gusso and her team at the Liggins Institute are now conducting follow-up trials to ascertain the best training regime for optimal, ongoing gains, and to investigate potential benefits for people with more , and people with other disorders.

The researchers hope WBVT will be introduced into all physical therapy sites across the country.

Said Gusso: "It's something simple that can help a lot of kids."

Explore further: Whole body vibration therapy increases bone strength

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3 comments

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LloydShaw
not rated yet Mar 11, 2016
Please Note: I do not sell machines..It is very unfortunate this scam has been running for a while now in a few countries. NZ leading the charge..
And no I am not speaking of Vibration Therapy. I am a massive proponent of this science.
I am speaking of this pattern of behavior .....
One retail company forming an alliance with academics to only do studies on their machines. Which happen to be the most expensive Pivotal units on the market.
Studies on various disabled groups are done ( these studies are replicated in different countries ) which is all good..... And usually show promise or good results.. BUT when the studies are done the participants are told they "have" to buy a machine from the only retail company the academics support at a minimum of $5000 each...
40 teens x $5000
One clinic a few years back were quoted $ 25,000.
LloydShaw
not rated yet Mar 11, 2016
They are told the lie that no other machine can perform the same functions. Which is simply not even remotely the truth.

The fact is a number of companies globally have designed units that surpass the engineering limitations of these smaller older platforms years ago.
That parent company now relies on these "studies" to sell any machines now. As their own attempt at pure retail failed years ago.

Note: I was once a fan of this company but their behavior over the last few years. Which included telling other disabled people that other machines will give you brain damage ( not joking ) etc... has convinced me their only interest is to make money at any cost.
LloydShaw
not rated yet Mar 11, 2016
A few points to help people understand the situation in full....In N.Z.

(1) There is lifetime free training for people with disabilities in centers all academics working in this field in N.Z. are aware of For 13 years now. That the subjects are not told about. Even if they cant afford a machine at the end. They just get dropped.

(2) The machines used for the studies are not even suitable for disabled people...
Eg....... Google . " Industry failing the Obese, Disabled and Health Professionals? "

(3) Premium Speed Pivotal units like the one used in the studies are just one category out of 6 in this industry. They are not "magic" ,machines.
Google ...... Vibration Training Advice Machine Reviews

(4) For most of the people involved in a study like this, Proprioreception is a major goal . The parent companies own research shows a Low Speed Pivotal will do that job nicely. And some $500 units go up to 20hz now.

But who has the power to question an academic

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