Recently, an interesting randomized placebo controlled “Vibration to Improve Bone in Elderly Subjects” (“VIBES”) trial conducted by some of my favorite researchers (Mary Bouxsein and Clint Rubin) revealed that 2 years of vibration platforms as compared to placebo controls did NOT result in bone density increases in the vertebral bodies or femoral neck nor bone marker improvements in subjects of average age 82. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25581217
174 men and women (89 active, 85 controls) were exposed to either 10 minutes of Whole Body Vibration (WBV) on a standing platform or a placebo platform daily for 2 years. At the 2-year follow-up, biochemical bone markers and bone density as tested by QCT did not improve.
The results do not surprise me. I have never been a fan of vibration platforms for older adults…they are too expensive and can’t really be practically used for the masses especially if 1 in every 2 people over age 50 have low BMD. If they were effective for improving bone density in older adults and a vibration “floor” could be designed to vibrate 50 people at a time in a group class, I am all for it! Sounds like my gut feeling was right all along. We need to stop depending on devices and keep moving our own bodies against gravity!