history

History of Whole Body Vibration

History of Whole Body Vibration

The science and benefits of whole body vibration stretch across centuries. Dating back to the ancient Greeks, and continuing in to the 1900’s, body vibration machines have seemingly always been a part of human life. In this article, we provide a brief history of the modern day vibration machine. We will also analyze how vibration therapy has woven its benefits into the fabrics of many cultures across the world.

Body Vibration Machines in Ancient Greece

The Greeks were a warrior society. As with any warrior people, dealing with injury from armed conflict was a reality of daily life. Ancient Grecian doctors invented the first body vibration machines as a therapeutic methodology to help soldiers recover from their injuries. They utilized a bow-like wooden instrument, and would ‘pluck’ the strings of the bow to allow it to vibrate over soldiers’ wounds. Doctors in Ancient Greece found that soldiers’ injuries would heal faster as a result of vibration therapy; this “buzzing” allowed pus to drain faster from wounds and stimulated the production of human growth hormone. Together, these benefits helped to stimulate healing in the patient’s body.

Vibration Therapy in the 1800s

Although Ancient Greeks invented body vibration machines, whole body vibration was not widely used until the late 1800s, when a Swedish doctor named Jonas Gustav Zander established the modern gym. In Zander’s gymnasiums, members could test out various types of gym equipment. Included in some of Zander’s earliest gyms was the vibration machine. Indeed, Zander employed vibration therapy as a way to help stimulate weight loss and muscle gain in his patients.

In 1895, John Kellogg, who would later invent the modern breakfast cereal, improved on Zander’s designs and came up with the first whole body vibration machine. Kellogg’s invention paved the way for modern machines like the Power Press.

Whole Body Vibration in the 20th and 21st Centuries

In the 1960s, scientists became increasingly bullish on whole body vibration, believing in its utility across various health aspects and careers.

Russia was the first country to fully embrace vibration therapy. In the 1960s, the nation utilized what they called rhythmic neuromuscular stimulation. This led to the discovery that whole body vibration could not only support muscle growth, but also help stimulate bone regeneration. Some of the first people to enjoy the benefits of vibration therapy were the Russian cosmonauts, who commonly suffered from poor bone density as a direct result of space travel.

The Russian space program took huge steps forward as a result of vibration therapy. In 1995, equipped with an effective solution for the negative effects of weightlessness in space, the cosmonaut Valery Polakov became the first man to stay in space for more than 400 days. In addition to the space program, Russian athletes also leveraged body vibration machines to speed up their rehab during the Olympics.

From its birthplace in Russia, body vibration machines spread far and wide. The Americans used it to get a man on the moon. German scientists put it to work in improving people’s flexibility. An Italian physiologist named Carmelo Bosco then came up with the modern day whole body vibration machine, allowing people from all over the world to access the benefits of vibration therapy in the comfort of their homes or in their neighborhood gyms.