BOSTON, MA — Weight-bearing exercise is one of the principal recommendations for preventing and treating the loss of bone density that can lead to osteoporosis. However, exercise isn't always possible, particularly for the frail.
An experimental device may help solve this problem, reports the October issue of the Harvard Women's Health Watch. Research strongly suggests that a few minutes of standing on an oscillating platform, about the size and shape of a bathroom scale, can do as much for bone density as longer bouts of more typical weight-bearing exercise.
Users stand on the platform while it produces small, barely perceptible vibrations that mimic what muscle cells do during common activities such as standing, maintaining balance, and walking. These tiny muscle contractions exert many small stresses on the bone, which can promote bone-building activity. Bones become stronger literally from the inside out.
To continue reading this article, you must login
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.