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Elsevier, Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 6(16), p. 526-531

DOI: 10.1016/j.jsams.2013.01.004



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Safety and severity of accelerations delivered from whole body vibration exercise devices to standing adults

Journal article published in 2013 by Jesse Muir, Douglas P. Kiel ORCID, Clinton T. Rubin
This paper is available in a repository.
This paper is available in a repository.

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OBJECTIVES: Whole body vibration devices are used as a means to augment training, and their potential to treat a range of musculoskeletal diseases and injuries is now being considered. The goal of this work is to determine the degree to which acceleration delivered by whole body vibration devices at the plantar surfaces of a standing human is transmitted through the axial and appendicular skeleton, and how this mechanical challenge corresponds to the safety threshold limit values established by the International Standards Organization ISO-2631. DESIGN: Non-blinded laboratory assessment of a range of whole body vibration devices as it pertains to acceleration transmission to healthy volunteers. METHODS: Using skin and bite-bar mounted accelerometers, transmissibility to the tibia and cranium was determined in six healthy adults standing on a programmable whole body vibration device as a function of frequency and intensity. Measures of transmissibility were then made from three distinct types of whole body vibration platforms, which delivered a 50-fold range of peak-to-peak acceleration intensities (0.3-15.1gp-p; where 1g is Earth's gravitational field). RESULTS: For a given frequency, transmissibility was independent of intensity when below 1g. Transmissibility declined non-linearly with increasing frequency. Depending on the whole body vibration device, vibration ranged from levels considered safe by ISO-2631 for up to 8h each day (0.3gp-p @ 30Hz), to levels that were seven times higher than what is considered a safe threshold for even 1min of exposure each day (15.1gp-p @ 30Hz). Transmissibility to the cranium was markedly attenuated by the degree of flexion in the knees. CONCLUSIONS: Vibration can have adverse effects on a number of physiologic systems. This work indicates that readily accessible whole body vibration devices markedly exceed ISO guidelines for safety, and extreme caution must be practiced when considering their use.