Posted by: Y | 2009-05-11

Vibration exercises


My mom is almost 60 years old and prone to getting blood clots in her feet and legs. Is it dangerous for her to use a vibration machine as part of her exercise regime?

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Our expert says:
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I’d be cautious if I were her. I looked into those machines a while back, as part of some consulting work I was doing, and there’s no research on this kind of thing – the manufacturers have claimed that it is safe, but no studies have yet proven this claim. Their argument is that regular exercise is no different from using the machine, which is partly true. However, someone with a tendency to clot would not suddenly start exercise and so therefore should not add vibration without knowing that it is safe. Unfortunately, no one can guarantee safety.

Now, I suspect that it would probably be safe, provided she’s using it correctly and at low levels. That way, it’s probably quite similar to her training routine anyway. However, now the philosophical question becomes whether it would add any benefit that makes up for this risk, however tiny it might be. Let’s say there is a 5% risk of using the machine. What benefit would be required in order to take that risk? Normal exercise has a risk of say 1%, and you know that it helps keep her fit and works well. How much better does the machine have to work in order to make up for that 5% risk? I can pretty guarantee that it won’t, and so therefore, until we know that the risk is lower, I wouldn’t go there. I think it’s safe, but if normal exercise is doing a job, why change?

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