Does whole-body vibration with alternative tilting increase bone mineral density and change bone metabolism in senior people?

Aging Clin Exp Res. 2012 Feb;24(1):28-36. doi: 10.3275/7517. Epub 2011 Feb 21.


Background and aims: Whole-body vibration (WBV) presents as osteogenic in animal models and young patients, but the effect remains unclear in senior people. The use of alternative tilting during WBV to ameliorate bone mass and bone metabolism, particularly in senior people, has not previously been reported. This study assessed changes in bone mineral density (BMD) and bone metabolism in senior people after six-month treatment of whole-body vibration with alternative tilting (WBVAT).

Methods: Fifty-three senior people (11M/42F, >65 yrs, mean age 77) and 15 adults (4M/11F, 50-60 yrs, mean age 53) were enrolled and assigned randomly to WBVAT (senior: n=27; adult: n=7) and control groups (senior: n=26; adult: n=7), respectively. The WBVAT groups were subjected to vertical vibration (0.5-0.8 g, 45-55 Hz) and alternative tilting (2° tilting angle or 8 mm displacement at 0.4 Hz) 20 minutes per day, 3 days a week, for 6 months. BMD in the lumbar spine and femoral neck was measured at 0, 3 and 6 months, respectively, as well as biochemical markers of bone metabolism, including serum calcium, phosphorus, alkaline phosphatase (ALP), osteocalcin and tartrate resistance acid phosphatase at 0, 1, 3 and 6 months, respectively.

Results: After 6-month WBVAT treatment, BMD in the lumbar spine and femoral neck increased significantly by 2.52% and 3.22% for senior people, and 1.63% and 2.05% for adults, respectively. The 6-month WBVAT treatment increased BMD in the senior people, both with and without osteoporosis (OP) and in both men and women, but led to a BMD gain greater in people with OP (p<0.01) and women (p<0.01), respectively. The serum ALP level increased significantly by a net 24.4% in seniors after WBVAT treatment at 3 months; other biochemical markers showed non-significant differences between the WBVAT and control groups.

Conclusions: WBVAT treatment may increase BMD in senior people, particularly those with OP and women. Changes in bone metabolism after WBVAT treatment were not observed in most cases.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acid Phosphatase / blood
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alkaline Phosphatase / blood
  • Bone Density / physiology*
  • Calcium / blood
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Femur Neck / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / blood
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteocalcin / blood
  • Osteogenesis / physiology
  • Osteoporosis / metabolism
  • Osteoporosis / physiopathology
  • Osteoporosis / therapy*
  • Phosphorus / blood
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Tartrate-Resistant Acid Phosphatase
  • Vibration / therapeutic use*


  • Isoenzymes
  • Osteocalcin
  • Phosphorus
  • Alkaline Phosphatase
  • Acid Phosphatase
  • Tartrate-Resistant Acid Phosphatase
  • Calcium