Are Gym Vibration Plates Harmful To Your Bone Health? What’s A Better Option?


If you’ve been to a gym or an exercise facility, you may have noticed the high-intensity vibration plates, sometimes referred to as power plates or shaking platforms. These devices are often marketed as a way to give your body a high-speed workout without putting the hard work and effort into exercising. The theory is that the vibrations created by the devices stimulate your muscles to contract and relax, while encouraging strong bone growth at a cellular level. While vibration therapy is medically linked to improvements in both health, not all vibration platforms are created equal – and there’s a lot that’s not being said about these “high intensity” gym vibration platforms.

Many of the generic high-intensity vibration machines placed in gyms do not meet the safe vibration thresholds that can support bone health and help prevent osteoporosis, like low-intensity vibration can. It is well-documented that high-vibration plates may actually be seriously damaging to those with underlying health conditions such as osteoporosis, as the magnitude of the forces they exert on the body is much higher than is necessary. 

So what is the difference between low-intensity vibration (LiV) like the Marodyne device and high-intensity vibration (power plate) therapy, and how can the right magnitude of vibrations improve your bone health, help prevent osteoporosis, and improve your physical health? Here’s a look into the research.


What Exactly Is Vibration Therapy?

Vibration Therapy was initially developed by scientists who were attempting to reduce bone density loss that astronauts experience from spending time in space with zero gravity. Weight-bearing exercise has a positive influence on bone health, and vibration therapy works in a similar way by stimulating cells within the bones to reproduce. Vibration therapy involves standing on a platform, which vibrates the body, stimulating your muscles to contract and relax dozens of times each second, with various benefits for your bones, muscles and circulation.1 


How Does Low-Intensity Vibration Therapy Stimulate Bone Growth?

A number of studies have found that low-intensity vibration therapy is highly effective in stimulating new bone growth, by replicating the natural mechanical movements and contractions that our muscles make when we move, which are exerted onto our bones.2,3 As we get older, our cells tend to produce less bone and more fat, and this can be exacerbated by other factors such as diabetes, low BMI, and steroid use, among others. Over time, this gradually reduces bone density and increases our risk of developing osteoporosis.

Low-intensity vibration therapy counteracts this in a safe, natural and gentle way, by gently stimulating the body’s bone building cells to work using targeted, low-intensity vibrations, which can increase bone mineral density over time.4

For example, if you stand on a low-level vibration device such as Marodyne, an impulse of 0.4g (‘g’ stands for gravity of the earth) is transmitted to the sole of your foot. Approximately 0.1g of this is absorbed by the legs, and 0.2g by your hips and spine. These vibrations travel through muscle and bone tissue, and stimulate the mesenchymal stem cells and osteoblast cells within your bones, while inhibiting your osteoclast cells: 

    • Stem cells can transform into either bone, cartilage, or fat cells. LiV forces encourage the cells to develop into bone, rather than fat, by stimulating the bone-forming processes within the stem cells.
    • Osteoblast cells are the cells within our bodies that are responsible for building new bones. LiVs target these osteoblasts, encouraging new bone growth, which can increase your bone density over time.
  • Osteoclast cells are responsible for removing old bone cells. LiV reduces the activity of these cells, so that less bone is lost over time, helping to maintain stronger, thicker bones.


High Intensity Whole-Body Vibration Versus Low-Intensity Vibration – What’s The Difference?

High-intensity and low-intensity vibration therapy are both types of whole-body vibration therapy, but it’s essential not to confuse the two. There are over 50 vibration plates on the market – and not all are suitable for those with underlying health conditions such as osteoporosis.5


High-Intensity Vibration Devices 

  • These are common-place in many gyms, and emit high-acceleration, high-level vibrations, typically over 1.0g (1.0g = earth’s gravitational pull), which many people report finding unpleasant – and discontinue using out of concerns for their safety.
  • They operate at much higher frequencies than LiV devices. and many far exceed the thresholds for what is considered to be safe for even brief exposure for a healthy adult, as defined by The International Standards Organisation, The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and EU-OSHA (European Union Information Agency for Occupational Safety and Health). 
  • Research has found that two commonly used high-intensity platforms, Power Plate and Vibrafit, deliver vibrations that are not safe for even seconds of daily exposure according to these limits,6 and that they pose potential health risks, including musculoskeletal, circulatory and nervous system injuries, including damage to the brain, cartilage and more. As such, they are not for safe for anyone with the following health conditions:7,8,9,10
  • Osteoporosis
  • A recent orthopaedic surgery or injury
  • Cardiovascular disease such as heart attacks, strokes, angina or arrhythmia
  • Back pain, spinal injuries or fractures
  • Epilepsy or prone to seizures
  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis or joint disease
  • Retinal conditions
  • Migraines
  • Recent infections
  • Any recent or current blood clots
  • Any implants, pacemaker, or intrauterine devices
  • Kidney or bladder stones
  • Cancerous tumours
  • Neuropathy
  • Dizziness or inner ear conditions
  • Pregnancy


Low-Intensity Vibration Devices 

  • LiV devices use extremely gentle, precise, low-magnitude vibrations that travel through the feet, up the spine to the jaw. The Marodyne LiV resembles a set of large bathroom scales that emits tiny up and down (vertical) vibrations 30 times per second at 0.4g. This remains well below the recommended thresholds, and is considered safe for between 4 to 8 hours daily, with no side effects, and it is suitable for everyone – no matter their health conditions.11 
  • As little as ten minutes each day has been shown to significantly improve bone muscle density, as well as circulation, lymphatic flow, muscle tone, balance, and reduce fall risk.12 
  • The Marodyne LiV is certified by the British Standards Institute (BSI) as a Class IIa medical device, certified by the European Union, recognised by the Royal Osteoporosis Society, and is backed by over 50 years of scientific evidence and clinical research.


The Marodyne Home-Use Device

The safest, most effective LiV tool currently available on the market is the Marodyne LiV. Marodyne is a modern device that has been recognised as a safe and effective tool for the prevention of osteoporosis and the improvement of bone health. Marodyne does not require a prescription, is safe to use at home, and is suitable for both prevention in healthy individuals and for treatment for those with weaker bones, and for people of all ages, from young children, to elderly people aged over 100. 

Doctor Clinton Rubin Ph.D. is a distinguished State University of New York professor and a global authority on vibration therapy, whole body vibration platforms and their impact. He recommends a minimum of 10 minutes per day, citing that the most important component for success is not duration, but consistency, and simply aiming to use it for at least 5 sessions a week should allow you to receive all of the clinical benefits. If you are unable to stand on the device for the full 10 minutes, Dr Rubin recommends breaking up your sessions in the morning and the evening, as allowing a rest period of 2-5 hours between sessions can actually increase the beneficial bone-building effects.13 

There is no special posture or exercise required when using the device, just stand on the device and relax. If you would like the vibrations to be targeted more on your legs and hips, you can bring your weight to bear on your front foot, and if your weight is directed back towards your heels, the vibrations will rise through to benefit your spine and neck.


How To Start Improving Bone Health Today

You can start improving your bone health, managing your osteoporosis, and reducing your risk of fractures with the use of the Marodyne LiV at home. Marodyne is a simple, easy and effective solution for osteoporosis. It can be utilised by all age ranges, and all physical abilities, without the need for repeat prescriptions or GP visits, and without strenuous or unmanageable exercise. 


Marodyne LiV is available exclusively from Rehacare. To purchase the device, or for any questions please contact Marodyne LiV Australia on 1300 653 522.


[1]  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20190375/
[2]  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30814687/
[3]  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4440196/
[4]  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30814687/
[5]  Muir J, Keil D, Rubin C. Safety and severity of accelerations delivered from whole body vibration exercise devices to standing adults. J Sci Med Sport. 2013 Nov;16(6):526-31. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2013.01.004.
[6]  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23453990/
[7]  https://www.researchgate.net/publication/5503172_Transmission_of_Vertical_Whole_Body_Vibration_to_the_Human_Body
[8]  https://www.researchgate.net/publication/291164875_Whole_Body_Vibration_A_Revolutionary_Mode_of_Exercise_or_A_Trend
[9]  https://bmcophthalmol.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12886-019-1291-y
[10]  Wong, M.L., Widerstrom-Noga, E. & Field-Fote, E.C. Effects of whole-body vibration on neuropathic pain and the relationship between pain and spasticity in persons with spinal cord injury. Spinal Cord (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41393-022-00806-w
[11]  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23453990/
[12]  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4440196/
[13]  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30814687/

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