Short-term effects of vibration therapy on motor impairments in Parkinson's disease

NeuroRehabilitation. 2009;25(4):297-306. doi: 10.3233/NRE-2009-0528.


Recent studies have suggested that vibration therapy may have a positive influence on motor symptoms in individuals with Parkinson's disease (PD). However, quantitative evidence of these benefits is scarce, and the concept of "whole-body" vibration in these studies is vague. The objectives of the current study were to evaluate the influence of vibration on motor symptoms and functional measures in PD by delivering sound waves to the entire body. We delivered whole body sound wave vibration to 40 individuals with PD using a Physioacoustic Chair, a piece of equipment with speakers spaced throughout the chair permitting a series of programmed low frequency sound waves through the body. Using a parallel cross-over design we utilized the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS), quantitative gait assessments, and a grooved pegboard for upper limb control. Improvements were seen in all symptom, motor control and functional outcome measures at the time of assessment. Specifically, a significant decrease in rigidity, and tremor were shown, as well as a significant increase in step length and improved speed on the grooved pegboard task. Results of this initial investigation provide support for vibration therapy as a non-pharmacological treatment alternative. Long-term benefits of vibration therapy will require further research.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hypokinesia / etiology
  • Hypokinesia / rehabilitation
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity
  • Motor Neuron Disease / etiology*
  • Motor Neuron Disease / rehabilitation*
  • Muscle Rigidity / etiology
  • Muscle Rigidity / rehabilitation
  • Parkinson Disease / complications*
  • Parkinson Disease / rehabilitation*
  • Physical Stimulation
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Tremor / etiology
  • Tremor / rehabilitation
  • Vibration / therapeutic use*