(CBS) In Medicine Today: Vibration therapy.
It's a new fitness craze that celebrities such as Madonna have tried. But as Medical Editor Mary Ann Childers reports, researchers think it could have special benefit in treating problems such as weak bones or osteoporosis.
Like most 19-year-olds, Mariella Landaverde never worried much about osteoporosis.
"Did not, didn't cross my mind," she said.
But when she took part in a study at Children's Hospital in Los Angeles, she found out her bones were not as strong as they should be.
"It surprised me because I didn't know that my calcium intake and anything that can help my bones was very important," she said.
Poor bone mass now puts her at risk for fractures later. The question researchers asked was if she can prevent problems with vibration therapy.
"What this small amount of vibration does is it stimulates the muscle to enhance the bone," said Vincente Gilsanz, M.D.
Study participants stood on a machine for 10 minutes everyday for a year. The tiny vibrations, invisible to the naked eye, shook up surprising results.
"The young women who were treated like that had considerable more bone and that's... what's also surprising, considerable more muscle," Gilsanz said.
The women increased bone in their hips and spine by three percent and adjacent muscle mass by four percent just by standing still
"It feels like a bunch of tickling sensations under your foot," Mariella said.
They're good vibrations that could mean good bone health.
More research is needed on this. It has not yet been determined how much vibration is the safest and most effective for treating weaker bones.
Researchers say beware of some commercial machines that offer to enhance athletic training. They may vibrate too fast and eventually damage bone, muscle and cartilage.
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