Background: Recently, researchers have demonstrated that Whole Body Vibration (WBV) results in significant increases in skin blood flow (SBF). No study has determined if a specific frequency or a specific duration is better at optimizing SBF.
Material/methods: Two studies were conducted to determine, 1) if there is a difference in SBF due to passive vibration of the forearm at 30 Hz vs. 50 Hz, 2) if one frequency is superior, and 3) if there is an optimal duration. In the first study, 18 subjects (mean age 20.3+/-2.9 years) were randomly placed into a 30 Hz or 50 Hz vibration group, and in the second, seven subjects (mean age 23.3+/-3.8 years) participated in both 30 and 50 Hz vibration. Each subject's arm was passively vibrated for 10 minutes. SBF was examined during vibration and for 15 minutes of recovery.
Results: Both frequencies produced significant increases in SBF (p<0.05) within the first four minutes of vibration. Peak SBFs were obtained by the fifth minute. SBF remained high for minutes 4 through 10 of vibration in the second study. In the first study, SBF remained high for minutes 4 through 9. During recovery, 30 Hz vibration produced SBFs below baseline values while 50 Hz SBFs remained above baseline. Statistically one frequency was not superior to the other.
Conclusions: Five minutes of 30 Hz or 50 Hz vibration produced significant increases in SBF. Clinically, 50 Hz has additional benefits because SBF increased more rapidly and did not result in vasoconstriction during the recovery period. Future studies should be done to determine if these increases in SBF could be of benefit to populations with low circulation such as those with diabetes.