Vibration Therapy: Does It Work?

Updated: Aug 23, 2019

If you’ve been anywhere near social media or the sports world, you have probably seen the

increasing prevalence of vibration therapy devices. There are plenty of these devices on the

market at varying price points, including the Hypervolt, TheraGun and more. Anecdotally, they

are receiving rave reviews and excellent ratings from athletes and weekend warriors alike. But

I’m sure you have found yourself asking: do these things even work? Are they just a fad that will

pass with time?


Let’s find out!


I dove into the research for us to determine the answer to these questions. Interestingly

enough, it was not very easy to find some quality research about these jigsaw-turned-massage-

gun devices. But, there are a few studies that have reviewed the literature to provide us some

answers. These devices are variable based on manufacturer, but you can basically assume that

they are handheld and thump-thump your muscles before or after exercise.


Before we get into the research, we need to pose some questions:


● Do these devices make us feel better after exercise?

● If they do make us feel better, do they cause any physiological changes? Or is it all just

perception?

●For what purpose could we use this device in our usual training program?


In a recent systematic review and meta-analysis, researchers investigated vibration therapy on

delayed-onset muscle soreness.(1) Delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is the soreness and

fatigue you experience following exercise that is caused by a multitude of mechanical and

physiological processes. For our purposes, we view DOMS as counterproductive for training

purposes since it can decrease your ability to resume effective exercise following intense bouts

of activity. Anyone who has done a very challenging workout and struggled to get out of bed

the next morning knows what I am describing.


This study found some interesting results. Among the studies pooled, vibration therapy applied

post exercise for at least 60 seconds to each muscle significantly decreased DOMS and creatine

kinase when compared to a control group that did not receive vibration. Creatine kinase is a

blood marker that shows cell damage, so it is a great indicator of physiological damage and

recovery. Additionally, vibration therapy also decreased the pain athletes were experiencing

post exercise.


Specifically, vibration therapy decreased soreness and pain at 24, 48 and 72 hours post-exercise

when compared to the control group. It decreased creatine kinase at 24 and 48 hours, but not

72 hours. Intuitively, this makes sense, because your post-exercise soreness is typically gone

after three days.





So, what can we take away from this? Well, let’s go back to our questions posed earlier:

●Do these devices make us feel better after exercise?

o According to this study, yes! Vibration therapy applied to muscles following

intense exercise decreases soreness and pain for 72 hours.

●If they do make us feel better, do they cause any physiological changes? Or is it all just

perception?

o While perception can go a long way in our response to pain, vibration therapy

appears to also affect cellular and physiological processes with recovery. It

decreases the presence of cell-damage-indicating creatine kinase for 48 hours

post exercise.

●For what purpose could we use this device in our usual training program?

o It appears that vibration therapy has the potential to help us feel better and

recover faster following intense exercise. This can allow us to move on to the

next training session feeling fresh and strong.


The research for these vibration devices is still budding, so remember to take these findings

with a grain of salt. But, the initial findings are pretty encouraging for us and may offer some

benefits to our training season now!


If you are interested in trying a vibration therapy device, Precision Performance has several

HyperVolts for sale. We prefer this device since it is very quiet and has pressure sensors to keep

your self treatment safe and effective. Contact us today if you are interested!


Keep training!

Ryan


1. Lu, X., Wang, Y., Lu, J., You, Y., Zhang, L., Zhu, D., & Yao, F. (2019). Does vibration benefit delayed-

onset muscle soreness?: a meta-analysis and systematic review. Journal of International Medical

Research, 47(1), 3-18.


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