Harvard Women's Health Watch

Update: Tiny vibrations may help muscle, bone, and balance


Tiny vibrations may help muscle, bone, and balance

In October 2005, we wrote about an oscillating platform that was under study as a treatment for osteoporosis. Many readers wrote asking how to buy one. At the time, the device wasn't available in the United States.

The platform, which you stand on like a bathroom scale, emits barely perceptible vibrations that travel up through the soles of the feet. These vibrations cause muscle cells to react as they would to common activities such as standing, keeping balance, and walking: They twitch in sequence, making tiny contractions that exert small stresses on bones, resulting in increased bone density — and muscle mass.

In small trials, the oscillating platform improved bone density and muscle mass in women at risk for osteoporosis and bone density in women being treated for the disease. Investigators at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook who led the research say the technology may also be helpful for people who are too frail or disabled to engage in regular physical activity. The device, dubbed the Juvent 1000, was developed at Juvent, Inc., a New Jersey company co-founded by the SUNY–Stony Brook researchers.

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