Do Vibration Machines Build Healthy Bones?

Published: September 15, 2017
Updated: April 28, 2020

Woman on vibration plate

Your bones are living tissue that require movement and exercise to remain healthy.

But besides from traditional exercise, what else is out there? Many believe that there are machines which we can use to make our bones stronger. But where did this idea come from?


The Daily Stress Stimulus Theory

This theory proposes that daily stress stimulus on your bones can help to achieve stronger bones. It proposes that a high cycle number and low magnitude stimulation may be sufficient for maintaining bone mass. And strain frequency may be an additional factor critical to the process of bone adaptation.

The Daily Stress Stimulus Theory, and similar ways of thinking, have lead to the popularisation of whole body vibration (WBV) machines. These devices work like this: you stand on something that looks like a weight scale. The machine delivers vibrations in a combination of intensity and speed. These vibrations make your muscles work, and improves your bone strength.

But studies looking at the effects of WBV on bone health among older adults and postmenopausal women form an inconclusive opinion.

Let’s look at both sides…

Woman using vibration machines

The Research: Whole Body Vibration Machines

Studies reported findings suggesting that WBV may represent an effective non-pharmacological intervention for preventing a decline in bone mass density (BMD) or for increasing or maintaining BMD in populations with below-normal BMD or osteoporosis.

One study published in the Journal of Bone Mineral Research looked to assess the musculoskeletal effects of high-frequency loading (vibrations) by means of WBV in postmenopausal women.

The results showed no vibration-related side effects. But more interestingly, they found that the vibrations improved isometric and dynamic muscle strength, and also significantly increased BMD of the hip.

Their findings suggest that WBV training may be a feasible and effective way to modify risk factors for falls and fractures in older women.

Another study published in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders aimed to compare the effects of WBV on bone mineral density and balance in postmenopausal women.

The results of the study showed that after 8 months, BMD at the femoral neck in the WBV group increased by 4.3% compared to a group that exercised by walking alone. Balance was improved in the WBV group by 29% compared to the walking group.

These results suggest that the 8-month course of vibratory exercise was feasible and more effective than only walking to improve two major determinants of bone fractures: hip BMD and balance.

Further, the Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE) reviewed the available research on the effectiveness of WBV on muscle performance, functional mobility, balance and bone density. The results showed that WBV machines improved bone density in the tibia and hip, but not in the lumbar spine.

But other studies disagreed…

One study published in Aging Clinical Experimental Research looked at the effect of WBV exercise on lumbar bone mineral density, bone turnover, and chronic back pain in postmenopausal osteoporotic women. It found that there were no significant differences in lumbar BMD after use of WBV.

While subjects did report that WBV exercise did reduce back pain, they found that any increases in lumbar BMD were similar to those in the control groups.

A second study looked at whether low-magnitude, high-frequency mechanical stimuli from WBV helped prevent postmenopausal bone loss.

They reported the WBV machine failed to support any changes in bone density.

Additionally, a study published in Maturitas examined vibration exposure on muscle or bone morphology (the study of form) and function in older adults.

Using a literature search of published randomised control trials (RCTs) they found 6 trials that met the inclusion criteria. All statistically significant improvements were shown for muscle function, not bone mineral density.

The mixed results may be due to irregularities and inconsistencies in study design. While further research is needed, the focus on uniformity will be crucial for future trials. In other words, investigating optimal dose-response relationships and variations in vibration characteristics, which will help determine true efficacy.

In addition, while the focus is on WBV machines (and rightly so) the trials didn’t seem to incorporate important bone-building aspects such as diet and nutrition. Exercise is just one part of a successful bone health program. You also need the vitamins and minerals that your bones crave!

But before we get into that…what are the potential safety concerns to consider when using a WBV machine?

Given that older adults and individuals with physical impairments are at a higher risk of experiencing adverse effects from WBV stimuli, it’s important to speak to your doctor if you’re thinking about trying WBV machines.

WBV machine manufacturers are subject to FDA guidelines stating that individuals who have one of the following conditions should not partake in WBV training:

  • kidney or bladder stones
  • arrhythmia
  • pregnancy
  • epilepsy or seizures
  • cancer
  • a pacemaker
  • untreated orthostatic hypotension
  • recent implants (joint/corneal/cochlear, etc.)
  • recent surgery
  • recently placed intrauterine devices or pins
  • acute thrombosis or a hernia
  • acute rheumatoid arthritis
  • serious cardiovascular disease
  • severe diabetes
  • migraines

Elderly woman consults doctor

“I have low bone density. Will vibration therapy help my bones?”

There is evidence for both sides of the argument. So if you’re keen to try a vibration machine, you need consider the pros and cons:

WBV therapy may be beneficial as part of a falls prevention program, and studies we discussed above did find that WBV provided some benefit for bone density.

However, vibrations may be detrimental to the spinal bones if they are very fragile. If you have very severe bone loss, you’d need to be careful when using the machine, and also when getting on and off. And based on the varied results reported in the literature, we’re reluctant to conclude that WBV would be beneficial for everyone.

That’s why it’s really important to discuss consult your doctor or physiotherapist prior to using a vibration machine.


Increasing Bone Density – What Works?

Researchers have different opinions and there isn’t a clear answer about the effectiveness of WBV, yet. However, we’re excited to see what new research uncovers.

But for now, let’s stick to what we know.

That includes incorporating weight-bearing exercise suitable for your fitness level. It can be as simple as a nice walk, yoga or tennis. It also means eating a diet that is highly nutritious, taking care of your gut health to aid proper absorption, and continuing with your AlgaeCal Plus and Strontium Boost to ensure your bones get the essential minerals they need.

Your bones need exercise, but they also need the nutrients they crave.

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Let us know if you’ve used vibration machines before in the comments below. It’s a polarizing topic, but we’d love to hear your thoughts.

Article Comments

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  1. Monique van Etten

    August 20, 2016 , 10:15 am

    Hello Dean,

    I have a juvent machine, which must improve bone density.
    I have none off the conditons mentioned above.
    Is a juvent different than the machines mentioned above and
    Is t helpfull or not to stand on it?

  2. Monica

    August 22, 2016 , 1:38 am

    Hi Monique,

    Their website states that it is not a Whole Body vibration Machine and is instead a Low-Magnitude, High-Frequency Mechanical Stimulation. Both of which are discussed in the article. They cite the following study on their website http://oncology.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2499778&resultClick=3 which used a Low-Magnitude, High-Frequency Mechanical Stimulation device.

    It’s recommended to consult your doctor or physiotherapist prior to using a vibration machine as they will take into consideration your bone health and physical fitness.

    – Monica @ AlgaeCal

  3. Betty Hopper

    August 20, 2016 , 1:04 pm

    I use a vibration machine prior to and following bone density exercises. I go to a place called OsteoStrong where I do 4 exercises and hold for 5 seconds each. These are called biodensity exercises. In a span of 10 months going once a week, my bone density improved (according to DEXA Scans) from -2.4 to -1.5. My PCP said that was an indeed a significant improvement. The vibration machines are for blood circulation. I do the vibration machine for 2-3 minutes prior and 2-3 minutes following the biodensity exercises. The cost is $59/monthly for one visit per week. Needless to say, I’ve been thrilled with the results. The company (OsteoStrong) has opened many locations across the U.S. I’m a walking/talking testimony to the fact this works. But I also eat lots of vegetables and watch out for too many sugary treats. And I try to keep my diet 80/20 alkaline to acid. So my diet is also part of the equation that improved my bone density.
    Thank you!
    Betty Hopper
    Huntsville, AL

  4. Monica

    August 22, 2016 , 1:26 am

    Sounds like you’re doing all the right things, Betty! Keep it up and thanks so much for sharing.

    – Monica @ AlgaeCal

  5. Jan B

    April 25, 2019 , 8:30 am

    Betty, instead of the $59/mo. you spend, have you looked into the Silver Sneakers program that is FREE depending on who your Medicare supplier is?
    I can go to a nearby gym every day if I want … all FREE with Silver Sneakers.

    Used to swim every day, but required about 2+ hours. Including drive, change clothing, swim time, and more if other stops along the way.

    My provider is Humana, but other providers also offer Silver Sneakers.

  6. Evy Mellichamp

    August 20, 2016 , 1:32 pm

    It’s obvious that Algae Cal and Strontium build bone density. Has anyone tried Osteostrong, in addition?

  7. Monica

    August 22, 2016 , 1:27 am

    Hi Evy,

    It looks like Betty has tried it. See her comment above 🙂

    – Monica @ AlgaeCal

  8. Susan

    September 6, 2019 , 11:57 am

    I have been doing osteostrong for 2 years and lost bone. Now on algae cal and the bone builder. I will have a scan in 6 mo to see where I am. Also do the whole body vibration once a week but thinking I need to buy my own machine.

  9. Megan AlgaeCal

    September 6, 2019 , 1:46 pm

    Hi Susan!

    Thanks for sharing and sorry to hear that you were still losing bone. With the combination of exercise & the nutrients provided in AlgaeCal, we’re excited for you to start increasing your bone density! ?

    We hope you’ll keep us updated on your progress and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions along the way! ?

    -Megan @ AlgaeCal

  10. John

    January 18, 2021 , 3:10 pm

    My wife and I tried Osteostrong and got mixed results. After that I found AlgaeCal. Jury is still out on AlgaeCal, we’ve used it for a year now. If my next scan shows improvement I’ll update here.

  11. Blaire AlgaeCal

    January 20, 2021 , 1:35 pm

    Thank you for sharing, John! We’ve helped thousands of women and men strengthen their bones naturally, and we’re excited to do the same for you. We look forward to hearing how your next DEXA scan goes ?

    – Blaire @ AlgaeCal

  12. Cydya

    August 21, 2016 , 5:21 am

    My bone density increased by 8.3% over 2 years of using WBV and changing my diet. I did not use any medication, I walked every day. I had to stop using WBV because I no longer had access to a machine. The results of my last density test, indicating that I had lost bone, made it quite clear to me that it works. I now have a machine in my home.

  13. Monica

    August 22, 2016 , 1:25 am

    Thanks for sharing your experience!

    So great to hear about your positive results. 🙂

    – Monica @ AlgaeCal

  14. Theresa

    August 22, 2016 , 1:21 pm

    Cydya
    This is awesome to hear, as I have a HyperVibe, WBV machine and I love it. I bought it 1 1/2 yrs ago as a means of being proactive with my health. Just 2 months ago, I was diagnosed with -2.5 bone density reading. I just ordered AlgaCal and Stontium, so it will be interesting to see how they work together to give me an increased reading next time around.

    Thanks for sharing your stories here on this forum. It helps lots!

    Theresa

  15. Brenda Knarr

    April 14, 2020 , 3:36 pm

    Do you mind me asking what type of WBV machine you have? I am looking to purchase one and I’m overwhelmed at the choices and knowing which one is the right one! Thank you

  16. Susan M Wellman

    September 16, 2017 , 6:54 pm

    This type of machine was originally invented by NASA to counteract the effects of prolonged weighlessness on bone density. That is pretty impressive in itself. Also, I have read about decreased incidence of bone fractures after a few months of vibration therapy. That is more relevant than bone density scans. I use your product and a vibration machine too. Why not do all I can to get better? These therapies need not be seen as competitors, but as complementary.

  17. Monica

    September 18, 2017 , 6:15 am

    Hi Susan,

    Absolutely! We agree and believe that reclaiming your bone health involves a complete regimen including diet, nutrition, exercise, and supplementation.

    – Monica @ AlgaeCal

  18. Donna

    September 16, 2017 , 7:09 pm

    I purchased a William Powers Fitness Machine used with no instructions. I can only say it was the best investment I have made. I have 5 herniated discs and I have improved so much due to this machne. At 75 yrs old and in so much pain, I figured I could do this and IT WORKED. The company is out of business and I am scared it will one day brake down. Not only that, my weight is down and my sister swears I look so much better she is trying to find one. I will get a new one no matter what. Donna

  19. Miriam

    September 17, 2017 , 5:07 am

    I once read that it is this sort of treatment the astronauts have on returning from space, as they have to restore bone loss quickly, or they would fall apart. Whatever they do works.

  20. Monica

    September 18, 2017 , 6:11 am

    Hi Miriam,

    Yes, it’s definitely true that astronauts lose bone mineral density at a much quicker pace because of zero gravity! I hadn’t heard they used vibration machines once returning from space before – thanks for sharing that.

    – Monica @ AlgaeCal

  21. Karen Dorrance

    November 4, 2019 , 6:17 pm

    Actually a medical device called Bemer is what nasa purportedly uses. I’ve been researching and talking to practitioners and it is just an amazing machine. I’m hitting my osteoporosis hard with bemer, Zaaz, algaecal, weight program, supplements, diet. Will check in again after 6 months and hope my-3.2 dexa score improves.

  22. Blaire AlgaeCal

    November 5, 2019 , 11:41 am

    Sounds like you’re well on your way to stronger bones, Karen! Please do keep us updated ?

    – Blaire @ AlgaeCal

  23. Beverly Northeast

    September 17, 2017 , 10:44 am

    I have been using a machine for two years and taking algae cal for less than one year and I am free of pain, and do all the activities I have always done and my last bone density showed I had improved.

  24. Ann

    September 17, 2017 , 1:49 pm

    If the vibrating machines actually do increase BMD at some sites, wouldn’t the benefits diminish when you no longer use them? Exercises, especially ones that need no special equipment, are more viable for the long term.

  25. Talitha L Bayerlein

    September 17, 2017 , 4:39 pm

    I have been using one for the last 6 months and that sore feeling you get after a long day of working outdoors etc. just melts away and I sleep so much deeper than before due to being totally relaxed.

    Also my body is solid like a rock now before I couldn’t tone certain areas this machine works all over.
    I use mine daily for 10 min. , and love it.

  26. Monica

    September 18, 2017 , 6:09 am

    Hi Talitha,

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience with vibration machines. Very interesting that it is helping you sleep deeper!

    – Monica @ AlgaeCal

  27. Elizabeth Appell

    September 18, 2017 , 9:16 am

    I have severe osteoporosis. In an attempt to increase my bone density, I use a WBV at home, smaller than the ones a the downtown workout place. I do it about 10 minutes a day. Walk about 10 minutes a day (have a bad hip.) I need to up my walking time. I had breast cancer and have to take Letrozole, an aromatase inhibitor. It degrades my bones about 1% a year which is very disturbing. I have just started the AlgaeCal regimen. Hopefully it with my vegan diet, I will see some improvement.

  28. Edward

    September 19, 2017 , 10:10 pm

    After using a vibration machine for about two weeks I had post vitreous detachments in both eyes followed by a retinal tear in one eye. I suspect that the vibration and shaking may help some parts of the body but may be harmful to other parts such as the head.

  29. Monica

    September 20, 2017 , 1:49 am

    Hi Edward,
    Thanks for taking the time to share your experience. So sorry to hear about the tear and detachments. It’s a great point to consider that the head and other parts may be at much greater risk and vibration could be harmful.

    – Monica @ AlgaeCal

  30. Sally

    April 29, 2018 , 4:37 pm

    I took AlgaeCal for 2 years, sold by a different company, but was greatly disappointed with my recent bone density scan test result. It didn’t work – in fact, it got worse, from -2.5 to -3.4. Do you have any idea why it didn’t work for me?
    Could you kindly email me in case I miss your response. Thank you.

  31. Jenna AlgaeCal

    May 8, 2018 , 2:58 pm

    Hi Sally,

    We’re so sorry to hear, and we’d love to work with you to identify the reasons for this – we’re sending an email your way!

    – Jenna @ AlgaeCal

  32. Mary Kane

    August 20, 2018 , 5:39 pm

    I I used to use a vibrating machine at a store. Then, I bought it.
    All I can tell you is that I feel better.
    I don’t bother with the scans.
    I do take vitamins and I do walk, but not every day.

  33. Jenna AlgaeCal

    August 28, 2018 , 12:24 pm

    Great to hear you’ve noticed a positive difference, Mary Kane 🙂

    – Jenna @ AlgaeCal

  34. Alli

    October 24, 2018 , 7:54 am

    I have had a vibration platform for years, and use it sporadically. My mom used it until it started to bother her eyes. I think I’ll start up again! Hopefully, with that, weights, walking and AlgaeCal, I’ll stave off bone issues. I just turned 60, and my 90 year old mom was diagnosed recently with osteoporosis, which was a wake up call! Still,she was good until 90 at least.

  35. dee

    September 2, 2020 , 4:39 pm

    After using a vibration machine my retina tore. Is that what happened to your mother’s eyes?

  36. Diane

    December 19, 2018 , 9:10 am

    I have taken AlgaeCal/Strontium Boost for a number of years. I experienced an increase in bone density doing just AlgaeCal. I had one bad (right) osteoporotic femur which did not increase as quickly as my better left femur. (I broke the right femur as child and I think I favored it for 40 years! Anyway, in the past year, I added a vibration plate and amazingly, the bone density in my right femur increased more than just using AlgaeCal! I am almost in normal range now with my right femur. The rest of my body tests normal after AlgaeCal. Nevertheless, I still have never seen anyone recommend the “right way” to use a vibration plate. Daily? How long? What vibration speed? I use it about 5 days a week for 10 minutes at varying speeds.

  37. Jenna AlgaeCal

    December 28, 2018 , 11:42 am

    Wow that’s wonderful to hear Diane! It seems a single “right way” to use a vibration plate is yet to be determined and will vary from person to person. Sounds like your current regimen is working really well for you so thanks for sharing!

    – Jenna @ AlgaeCal

This article features advice from our industry experts to give you the best possible info through cutting-edge research.

Prof. Didier Hans
PHD, MBA - Head of Research & Development Center of Bone Diseases, Lausanne University Hospital CHUV, Switzerland,
Lara Pizzorno
MDiv, MA, LMT - Best-selling author of Healthy Bones Healthy You! and Your Bones; Editor of Longevity Medicine Review, and Senior Medical Editor for Integrative Medicine Advisors.,
Dr. Liz Lipski
PhD, CNS, FACN, IFMP, BCHN, LDN - Professor and Director of Academic Development, Nutrition programs in Clinical Nutrition at Maryland University of Integrative Health.,
Dr. Loren Fishman
MD, PhD - Medical Director of Manhattan Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Founder of the Yoga Injury Prevention Website.,
Dr. Carole McArthur
MD, PhD - Professor of Immunology, Univ. of Missouri-Kansas City; Director of Residency Research in Pathology, Truman Medical Center.,