A bi-product of the Soviet space programme, whole body vibration therapy(WBV) is now used in both medical and cosmetic beauty treatments. As the name suggests the whole body is subjected to vibration whilst the patient stands on a machine and does nothing other than perhaps listen to their favourite piece of music.
Whole body vibration was developed to help astronauts overcome the effects of long exposure to weightlessness and specifically for Russian cosmonauts, who spent long periods of time orbiting Earth on the space station, to help their bodies deal with loss of bone density and muscle fatigue. However it was also around before the time of space travel and I can remember it was popular back when I was a boy, in those days, a large vibrating belt that was wrapped around your middle, was connected to a machine. The idea being that it helped remove excess fat.
Nowadays the person requiring the workout usually stands on the platform of a body vibration machine which allows vibrational impulses to travel throughout your whole body. Simply put this twitches the the muscle fibres to help stimulate growth. A benefit of this muscle twitching is that the process also burns calories thus aiding weight reduction.
It is therefore not unusual to find whole body vibration machines in gyms and other places people go for a physical work-out. However over the last few years WBV machines have been used in clinical applications in an attempt to help sufferers with osteoporosis, arthritis, rheumatism and lower back pain. They are also sometimes used to help people who have conditions that make it impossible to do normal exercise such as angina sufferers. Although such use should always be under medical supervision.
Spas and places offering beauty therapies have also tried to exploit WBV for cosmetic purposes by including them in their anti-ageing programmes. Here they are often used for the treatment of cellulite, excess body fat and to relieve symptoms of stress. Many sources suggest however that such treatments are only really beneficial when accompanied by other exercise in conjunction with a whole body vibration therapy session.
Thailand Trivia File: Did you know that the Apple Guava is called a farang in the Thai language? The word for a foreigner in Thailand is also farang.