Vibration therapy

Whole body vibration therapy (WBV) involves standing, or doing exercises, on a vibrating platform. Research in the general population suggests that the benefits of exercise are achieved in less time when using vibration therapy.

There has been little research into vibration therapy in multiple sclerosis, often trials have been small and the methods have been varied – some used vibration alone, in other studies exercises were carried out on the vibrating platform. Often there was no control group.

Results from these studies have been mixed. Some studies suggest that regular sessions may improve lower limb strength and mobility. Other positive effects were seen on core strength, fatigue, mood, coordination, balance and in one study on preventing falls. Better effects were typically seen in those people with MS who had lower levels of disability. However, several studies suggest that exercising using a vibrating platform is no more effective than exercise alone.

A small pilot study in Glasgow was supported by the MS Trust. Twelve people with MS took part in a series of exercise sessions, both with and without vibrations, over three months. The results showed similar small improvements after both exercise alone and exercise with whole body vibration. People in the trial had fewer spasms at night, better sleep, found it easier to climb stairs and had better feeling in their feet.

Whole body vibration could be of benefit for some people with MS, but larger, better-designed trials are needed to learn more about its role in MS.

Find out more

Hilgers C, et al.
Effects of whole-body vibration training on physical function in patients with multiple sclerosis.
NeuroRehabilitation 2013;32(3):655-663.
Summary (link is external)
Sitjà Rabert M, et al.
Whole-body vibration training for patients with neurodegenerative disease.
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2012, Issue2. Art.No.:CD009097.
Full article (link is external)
Schyns F, et al.
Vibration therapy in multiple sclerosis: a pilot study exploring its effects on tone, muscle force, sensation and functional performance.
Clinical Rehabilitation 2009;23(9):771-781.
Summary (link is external)
Freitas EDS, et al.
Acute and chronic effects of whole-body vibration on balance, postural stability, and mobility in women with multiple sclerosis.
Dose Response 2018;16(4):1559325818816577.
Full article (link is external)
Escudero-Uribe S, et al.
Effect of training exercises incorporating mechanical devices on fatigue and gait pattern in persons with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis.
Physiotherapy Canada 2017;69(4):292-302.
Full article (link is external)
Yang F, et al.
Effects of controlled whole-body vibration training in improving fall risk factors among individuals with multiple sclerosis: a pilot study.
Disability and Rehabilitation 2018;40(5):553-560.
Summary (link is external)
Castillo-Bueno I, et al.
Effects of whole body training in patients with multiple sclerosis: a systematic review.
Neurologia 2018;33(8):534-548.
Summary (link is external)
Abbasi M, et al.
Whole body vibration improves core muscle strength and endurance in ambulant individuals with multiple sclerosis: a randomized clinical trial.
Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders 2019;32:88-93.
Summary (link is external)