Vibration has become of increasing interest to health professionals, primarily owing to reports that vibration can increase tissue blood flow. The aim of this review was to investigate the available scientific evidence on the effects of exogenous vibration on skeletal muscle perfusion. The databases searched from inception to December 2010 included Ovid MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL via EbscoHost and CENTRAL. Experimental and observational studies, where exogenous vibration was an intervention, were included in this review. The main outcomes of interest were muscle blood volume, blood flow, blood flow velocity, arterial diameter and muscle temperature. One reviewer selected studies for inclusion, extracted data and assessed the quality of the eligible studies. Percentage change in muscle perfusion outcome was the measure of treatment effect, and regression analysis was used to investigate associations between vibratory load and muscle perfusion. Twenty-two studies with a total of 302 participants were included in this review. Muscle blood volume increased with vibration in five of nine studies and decreased in two studies; muscle blood flow velocity increased with vibration in five of six studies; muscle blood flow increased with vibration in two of three studies; vibration had a positive effect on arterial diameter in three of three studies; vibration had no effect on muscle temperature in two of two studies. The magnitude of increase in muscle perfusion was positively associated with vibratory load (P<0·001). We conclude that vibration increases muscle perfusion with the magnitude of increase positively related to the vibratory load applied.
© 2012 The Authors Clinical Physiology and Functional Imaging © 2012 Scandinavian Society of Clinical Physiology and Nuclear Medicine.