__Abstract__ The first use of vibration therapy to improve human fimction and muscle performance dates back to ancient Greece, a time when physicians used saws covered in cotton to transfer vibrations to specific parts of the body to improve muscle performance and relieve pain. However, these manual devices could only offer vibration locally and in one direction. It was not until the middle of the 19th century that physicians developed machines which produced both vertical and circular movements, which were considered to treat disorders such as neuralgia, muscular atrophy, emaciation and constipation1· 3. In 1880, the French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot examined the surprising improvements in the condition of pilgrims suffering from Parkinson's disease. He surmised that such improvements were attributable to the vibration from the horse-drawn and railway carriages. Based on this idea he developed a chair with a helmet that vibrated electrically. Between 1890 and 1910, Charcot's ideas were further developed by various therapists. In 1960, the West German Dr. Biermann published the paper Influence of cycloid vibration massage on trunk flexion in the American Journal of Physical Medicine4• Since 1970, Professor Vladimir Nazarov developed a vibration training program as an effective method for athletes. Using Biermann's ideas, he observed an improvement in power and flexibility in practical exercises. A little later, this local vibration training was used by the Russians in their space program to prevent bone density changes in astronauts. They recognized that this new idea for exercise had the potential to provide suitable countermeasures for preventing bone and muscle loss for astronauts under micro gravity conditions. Whole-body vibration (WBV) was later used to enhance the performance of Soviet athletes during their exercise training5 • However, the Russians kept the technology secret until after the Berlin Wall came down inN ovember 1989. Since 1990, the European Space Agency and NASA also used vibration technology in ongoing studies on the maintenance of muscle strength, mass, and bone density. Simultaneously, extensive research was started on WBV in other areas ofthe world. In 1999, the Dutch Olympic coach, Guus van de Meer, introduced vibration training technology in Western Europe. He introduced a new way ofWBV application, with emphasis on optimizing natural human fimction while preserving joint health and maximizing power. Nowadays, there is increasing interest in the use ofWBV as a therapeutic modality to improve muscle strength, postural stability, and to increase bone density in groups of people of different types and ages.

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H.J. Stam (Henk)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Bagheri, J. (2013, June 25). Application of Whole-body Vibration: Technical and clinical studies in healthy persons and people with a neurological disorder. Erasmus University Rotterdam. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/76044