Harvard Women's Health Watch

Update on vibration therapy for bone health

Can gentle vibration improve bone density and prevent fractures after menopause?

Soon you may be hearing a lot about low-intensity vibration therapy for strengthening bones and reducing the risk of fractures. Two low-intensity oscillating devices designed for home use are coming onto the market, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), which advises the federal government on health care matters, is expected to issue a report highlighting the evidence as well as the many unanswered questions about this unique approach to bone health.

These low-intensity vibration devices gently stimulate muscle and bone when you stand on them. They are not to be confused with high-intensity, whole-body vibration machines or plates, which are used mainly for exercise training but are sometimes promoted for bone-building. Low-intensity devices provide a tiny fraction of the vibration exposure you would get from the high-intensity machines used by athletes.

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