Whole-body vibration therapy for osteoporosis: State of the science

Andrea Wysocki, Mary E Butler, Tatyana Shamliyan, Robert L Kane

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Clinical guidelines for osteoporosis recommend dietary and pharmacologic interventions and weight-bearing exercise to prevent bone fractures. These interventions sometimes have low adherence and can cause adverse effects. A proposed alternative or adjunctive treatment is whole-body vibration therapy (WBV), in which energy produced by a forced oscillation is transferred to an individual from a mechanical vibration platform. Whole-body vibration platforms are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for medical purposes. This review provides a broad overview of important issues related to WBV therapy for prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. Relying on key informants and a search of the gray and published literature from January 2000 to August 2011, the investigators found that the designs of WBV platforms and protocols for their use vary widely. The optimal target population for the therapy is not defined. Although WBV has some theoretical advantages, key informants have voiced several concerns, including uncertain safety and potential consumer confusion between lowintensity vibration platforms intended for osteoporosis therapy and high-intensity platforms intended for exercise. Finally, the scant literature did not establish whether WBV therapy leads to clinically important increases in bone mineral density or reduces risk for fracture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)680-686
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of internal medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2011


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