I devoted many years of my career to understand how to make best use of vibration as an exercise intervention for various populations (from the Olympic Athlete to the aged individual) performing many scientific studies published in international peer-reviewed journals. Unfortunately many companies use my articles and some published my some colleagues to advertise their equipment. A warning to everyone reading this: Make SURE you carefully read the article's methods section and identify the equipment used in the research studies on various websites! In fact you will find out that were not performed using the equipment advertised.
First of all, let's define what is vibration.
Vibration is a mechanical stimulus characterized by an oscillatory motion. The biomechanical parameters determining its intensity are the frequency, amplitude and magnitude. The extent of the oscillatory motion determines the amplitude (peak to peak displacement, in mm) of the vibration. The repetition rate of the cycles of oscillation determines the frequency of the vibration (measured in Hz). The acceleration determines the magnitude of the vibration.
Whole body vibration (WBV) exercise devices deliver vibrations across a range of frequencies between 15 Hz and 60 Hz and displacements from less than 1 mm to 14mm. The acceleration delivered from those devices reaches values up to 15g (where 1g is the acceleration due to the Earth’s gravitational field or 9.81 m•sec-2). Considering the numerous combinations of amplitudes and frequencies possible with current technology, it is clear that there are a wide variety of WBV protocols that could be used to exercise humans. In addition, vibration has also been added to conventional exercise pulley-like equipment (Cochrane and Stannard, 2005; Issurin VB and Tenenbaum G, 1999) and/or specially designed vibrating dumbbells (Bosco et al. 1999) producing low-frequency vibrations to be able to exercise the trunk and the upper limbs.
Only later, vibration was adopted in the preparation of elite athletes by Russian scientists who developed specific devices to transmit vibratory waves from distal-to-proximal links of muscle groups, mainly while performing isometric exercises (Nazarov V and Spivak G, 1985). Since then, a lot of devices have been developed and are currently marketed to provide different forms of vibration exercise to different users.