Is Vibration Therapy Pseudoscience
Pictures from the Science Museum of Minnesota

Is Vibration Therapy Pseudoscience

A vibration chair in the science museum

In a Saturday afternoon last summer, my wife called me with an exciting voice “Come to see!  There is a vibration chair in the science museum! Quick!”

Vibration therapy examples

She was with the kids in Science Museum of Minnesota.

This would definitely be something nice to put into my vibration therapy blog. I rushed to the science museum, and only laughed at what I saw.

The museum opened a new section to display pseudoscience medical devices. Vibration chair was one of the display items. Kids played on it for fun.

There quite many other display items include phrenology psychograph, electropathy, McGregor Rejuvenator.  The rejuvenator thing came with a big control board almost as complicated as an airplane dashboard.

The vibration chair was made in our Minnesota about 100 years ago. It was made to supposedly “improve general health, and to treat constipation in particular”. There were several other types of vibration devices in display.

Is Vibration Therapy Pseudoscience?

Well the Science Museum of Minnesota did not actually label the vibration treatment pseudoscience. The statement was “There isn’t sufficient scientific evidence to support whole body vibration as a treatment for constipation”, which is true. However, the museum was almost negative about vibration for health.

In my view, vibration, as a type of mechanical stimulation, can certainly be studied as a medical intervention.

SMM was kind of contradictory in anther exhibit which is about electricity stimulation. The exhibit literature, on one hand, denies that TENS machines would do any good to the body; on the other hand, it states that pacemaker, which uses electricity stimulation, is scientifically proven to safely and effectively regulate heartbeat. SMM should be more openminded.

By the way, I believe I have fixed my golf elbow using a TENS machine.

Some marketers promote their vibration machines in a pseudoscience way. Some misuse science vocabularies to spell out seemingly reasonings but no actual logical consequence. Some use ads like “5 minutes exercise on vibration machine equal 30 minutes of regular exercise”, a quantitative statement not proven by quantitative study. The pseudoscience ways are misleading and make vibration therapy untrustworthy.

A unique medical intervention

Regardless how people think of vibration therapy. The simple truth is that vibration can create a special mechanical stimulation to human body. It is can be used as a unique medical intervention.

Scientific studies on vibration therapy have also achieved some great results. More and more scientists and medical professional are interested in studying vibration therapy to learn its mechanism and applications.

Now there are millions of people using vibration machine, the evidences of its effectiveness are solid. As the vibration machines become more and more affordable, many more people will benefit from using vibration and further develop the applications.

Back to the topic question,

Vibration stimulation itself is a scientific exist. Vibration therapy is to apply such a stimulation as a medical intervention to make biophysical changes. It has proved to be effective.

The pseudoscience perception is just about how some markets promote their services and products related to vibration therapy. It is not about the therapy itself.

Vibration therapy has made many life changing stories. With an open mind, you can make a difference.

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Interpreting life science from a mechanical engineering background. Contact: