Purpose: The aim of this study was to perform a systematic review of the literature on whole body vibration programs in older population and a meta-analysis of randomized controlled clinical trials.
Method: A search was conducted in MEDLINE, EMBASE, CENTRAL, CINAHL and PsychINFO databases. We included randomized controlled trials evaluating the efficacy and safety of whole body vibration training in older populations compared to conventional exercise or control groups that assessed balance, muscle strength, falls, bone mineral density and adverse events.
Results: Sixteen trials met the inclusion criteria. Comparing the vibration and the control group, we found that vibration significantly improved knee muscle isometric strength (18.30 Nm, 95% CI 7.95-28.65), muscle power (10.44 W, 95% CI 2.85-18.03) and balance control (Tinetti test: 4.5 points, 95% CI 0.95-8.11). Comparison with a conventional exercise showed that the only significant difference was bone mineral density in the femoral neck (0.04 g/cm(-2), 95% CI 0.02-0.07). There were no serious complications in most of studies.
Conclusion: Whole body vibration training may improve strength, power and balance in comparison with a control group, although these effects are not apparent when compared with a group that does conventional exercise.