Benefits of vibration massage

Vibration massage therapy is something that can be done at home, at a therapist's office, or in any space. You just need the right tools for it.

While there are many benefits of vibration massage including increased circulation, reduced muscle soreness, decreased stress levels, and more, there are also some rules you should follow to avoid pitfalls.

Let's cover the basics of how to use vibration therapy as well as some safety precautions you should take before starting a session with one of these tools.

What is vibration massage therapy?

a woman using vibration platform

Vibration massage uses a technique that involves shaking your body in upwards and downwards movements, or back and forth movements.

Your muscles contract and relax during these movements, which in turn triggers a variety of reactions from your body that we will discuss in the rest of the article.

There are different massager machines that can perform vibration massages. These include handheld devices such as a massage gun and full-body devices like a massage chair or a vibrating platform.

Types of vibration massage

There are two main types of this therapy, depending on whether it's performed on the whole body or in a localized area only.

woman using massage gun

When you receive whole-body vibration therapy, a vibrating platform supports your body while you stand, sit, or lie down. This might be combined with standing in certain poses such as slightly bent knees with the legs shoulder-width apart.

Another kind of whole-body vibration session can be done in a massage chair that has this function.

Localized vibration therapy involves placing hand-held vibrating devices on particular areas of your body. It could be used on frozen shoulders, the upper back, or on your thighs or calf muscles, for example.

How does vibration therapy work?

Vibration therapy was developed by Dr. John Harvey Kellogg in 1895.

woman using vibration platform

Doctors discovered that astronauts suffered from bone loss and fractures much sooner than normal during the Soviet space program. Vibrational massage was part of the range of experiments to find a solution that can deal with the bone mineral density issue. It continues to be used by NASA even today to prevent bone loss.

The mechanical signals from vibrations act on bone and muscle to stimulate growth factors and reactivate previously inactive muscle fibers and nerve pathways.

Vibration therapy may work differently depending on the direction and intensity of vibrations. Vibrations may be produced only vertically by some machines. Other vibration generators produce upward and downward vibrations, as well as front-and-back vibrations. In order to produce rapid muscle contractions, upward and downward vibrations are thought to be the most effective.

What are the health benefits of vibration massage?

A variety of health benefits are claimed by supporters of all-body vibration therapy, as well as localized vibration therapy. Vibration massage, for example, is claimed to help:

  • Enhance bone density
  • Strengthen muscles
  • Increase circulation
  • Pain relief for joints
  • Relieve back pain
  • Relax the body and mind
  • Enhance metabolism

Most researchers are quick to point out that further research and a deeper understanding of vibration therapy are needed. However, early findings suggest it may be beneficial in the treatment of certain conditions.

Let's look at some of these benefits.

Muscle mass and bone density

A study published in Clinical Rehabilitation examined how vibration therapy affects muscle strength and bone density. According to the researchers, vibration therapy may help older adults improve leg muscle strength.

Man using massage gun

It did not improve bone density significantly in older adults, according to their findings. This, however, is the very problem it was created to solve, and since it's still being used today we can assume there are benefits in this area too.

Faster wound healing

Numerous scientific studies have examined the effects of vibration on healing, from fractures to wounds, and muscle to nerve repair.

The most beneficial application of vibration massage, for this reason, is 15-20 minutes of 44-50 Hz per session.

Muscle pain

Exercising vigorously damages your muscles on a microscopic level.

Whole-body vibration therapy may reduce delayed onset muscle soreness after exercise, suggests a study published in the Journal of Athletic Training.

The authors noted that to determine the full extent of this effect there is a need for further research.

Improved blood flow

woman using massage gun

Improving blood flow to a specific body area that is injured or sore is one of the main reasons for local vibration therapy.

Often performed as a percussion massage session, this can be easily done by a family member at home with the aid of affordable massage guns.

Parkinson’s disease

An article published in NeuroRehabilitation suggests that vibration therapy can benefit people with Parkinson's disease in the short term.

This treatment might be beneficial for reducing stiffness and tremors. To assess the long-term effects, more research is needed.

Relaxing body and mind

Vibration massage therapy can be strangely invigorating and relaxing at the same time.

It will invigorate you by increasing blood flow but the massage strokes will also loosen tight muscle fibers and soft tissues and induce the creation of relaxing hormones in the brain.

At the same time, it can lower cortisol levels, which is the primary hormone causing stress, benefiting your hormonal balance from both sides.

What are the risks of vibration therapy?


Even as we have explored numerous benefits of vibration massage therapy, we absolutely have to mention some potential risks associated with it.

The most common source of adverse effects is overusing a vibration massager machine. Basically, all the studies that have found benefits of vibrational therapy have used short sessions of 10-20 minutes at a time.

If you are new to percussion massage or other vibrating massage strokes, it is important to go with a light vibration setting at the beginning. Your body and muscles need time to adjust to this unfamiliar massage therapy. You don't want to end up with muscle soreness caused by the very device used to dissolve it!

Keep the first few sessions short - even just 5 minutes - whether you are using a vibrating chair or another electronic device. Increase the time as your body gets used to the new massage stroke.

There have also been some cases of people having bad reactions to even a normal exposure to vibration treatment. If your skin or muscles are sensitive to firm pressure or have experienced any adverse effects after massage therapy before check with your physician before trying vibrational massage.

Vibration frequencies

Scientists measure the frequency of vibrations in Hz (cycles per second).

To determine the ideal frequency, studies were done at both 30 and 50 Hz. While both were beneficial, 50 Hz gives better results, delivering quicker effects with a broader range of benefits.

Researchers have demonstrated that muscles contract when exposed to vibrations between 100 and 200 Hz, which can also be applied, depending on the outcome you are looking to get from vibration massage.

What is a vibrating massager?

Vibrating massager devices come in 3 main forms, handheld, chair, and platform.

woman relaxing on massage chair

A vibrating platform is used for whole-body vibration therapy. It's a machine you stand or sit on and expose your body to the vibrating movement of the device.

The most common handheld vibrating massagers are massage guns. Often used by therapists and athletes these are often used to enhance performance in sports med.

Are vibrating massagers good for muscles?

When used in moderation, vibrating massagers have been shown to benefit muscle recovery, lower muscle pain and prevent delayed onset muscle soreness.

Regular use at the right frequencies may also improve muscle strength as they cause muscles to contract, just as exercise does.

Can it damage the muscle?

massage gun after workout

If overused, yes, but this is true to just about everything. Start with a short massage session on a low setting and slowly increase both pressure and duration to the optimal level.

The improved blood circulation will contribute to faster healing by carrying oxygenated blood faster to the tissues and waste materials away from them at the same time.

What are the benefits of handheld massage tools?

Not everyone has easy access to a vibrating platform or a massage chair. Handheld massage tools are affordable and can be used by anyone at home.

They also make it easy to reach trigger points or a painful area to loosen tight muscles or improve circulation where needed.

Vibration in Massage Chairs

Many modern massage chairs come with vibrational massage programs.

A massage session in a vibrating chair may be a great way to wind down after exercise to reduce muscle tightness and to enjoy the other benefits of vibration massage therapy at home.


Is vibration good for your brain?

In studies, whole-body vibration has been shown to have positive effects on the brain such as improved motor function and sustained level of attention.

However, some of the benefits like shorter reaction times were partially offset by slightly higher error rates so, as usual, more research is needed to assess the overall effects of vibration on the brain.

Is vibration good for your body?

According to experts, a few minutes of total-body vibration three times a week could be beneficial to your health. In addition to weight loss and an increase in metabolism, this lifestyle improvement can also significantly improve blood circulation, reduce soreness after exercise, and minimize cortisol levels.

Can vibration reduce belly fat?

It was found that obese women who followed a weight loss diet and regularly exercised with vibration plate machines experienced better long-term weight loss and reduced belly fat than those who incorporated more conventional exercise into their daily regimens.

women using vibration platform massage

With this in mind, vibration therapy is not a magic cure and can't replace healthy eating habits if you want to lose weight permanently.

What are the side effects of using the vibration machine?

Using vibration therapy at too high a frequency and/or during long sessions can be dangerous. The result may be back pain and injuries to the lumbar region.

Does vibration tighten skin?

You can make your skin look younger and firmer by using vibration massage. Massaging the body with one of these devices will increase blood flow, which helps to deliver nutrients to the skin. This results in healthier and tighter skin, especially when combined with healthy eating and exercise.

Grant Moore