Well, it looks pretty cool. There is a great deal of research on it and published data. You can find an interesting presentation here: http://cam.utmb.edu/resources/WholeBodyVibration.pdf
Effects include: - increasing GH levels - increasing testosterone levels - increasing bone mineral density - increasing muscle strength and power - increasing vertical jump - increasing running speed - improving balance
In Europe it is used to (treat): - provide strength and power training for athletes - osteoporosis - neuromuscular disorders - obesity (via hormonal effects) - diabetes (to improve circulation) - incontinence (via muscle strengthening) - postural stability
A quote from the Power Point link above: "Increased plasma concentrations of testosterone and growth hormone suggest "neural potentiation effect' similar to power weight training but without the general stress response (i.e., decreased cortisol levels)."
It is used to rehab stroke victims in Europe. I can find little to nothing on its use in kids, but I haven't given up yet. All of the papers I have read suggest that it somehow stimulates the hypothalamus and increases neuromuscular communication...
BTW, it costs $3,500. They seem to be increasingly found in fancy health clubs (not that I have been inside any lately!)
Update from fall 2005: I think that vibration therapy sounds just great. I pulled a lot of the papers and it seems safe and effective, although so far not many studies in kids. My PT was willing to work with us on it and create a program based upon research I had found on other kids. Plus, I had identified a researcher (in Texas?) who was willing to work with my PT on a protocol. Then I called the companies that sold it... The cost is $3,500. Of course it is good for the whole family, etc., but still $3,500... The next step would have been looking for grants and I didn't take that next step and here is why...
My boy was just 1 at the time (last summer) and I guess that the platform really shakes! My nanny went to check it out at the health club and she felt that it would be impossible for him to stay on it. So, I decided to table the idea until he was older and stronger and also hope that the price would go down and there would be more data collected so that we would have a more refined protocol.
My reaction: A short reaction to the theme "Whole Body Vibration" and neurological patients (esp. kids). We have rising experience with children with all kinds of neurologiscal problems. In Koln (Germany) a study on this group is going on at the moment. If people need specific information, please let me know through email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please note, that for this stimulation you need low frequency (as low as 5 Hz) and low amplitude (as low as 1 mm to start with). Only some machines offer this possibility.