Vibration healing uses mechanically produced vibrations to attempt to treat various injuries and illnesses. It is a treatment that has been around for centuries. Vibration healing is not widely accepted by many in the medical community, but in some cases it is making its way into main stream medicine.
The ancient Greeks used vibration to treat symptoms of arthritis and bruising. This was originally accomplished by the physician having an assistant hold a board over the affected area, while the physician sawed the board. Horse rides were later used, and eventually a special cart with uneven wheels was made so the patient would experience more vibration.
Early in the 19th century, mechanical devices were invented to deliver vibration to the body. A physician held the device to the affected area or slowly moved it over the entire body, and a crank was simultaneously turned on the device. This vibration healing was used to treat crippling disorders such as arthritis, nervous disorders, and aided in digestion and circulation.
In 1875, the first steam-driven vibrator was created. This was a large machine that could accommodate several patients at a time. Long rods would beat the patients, producing vibrations. In addition to the full-body machine, there was one made to rotate the arms and legs.
A hand-held, battery-operated vibrator was also invented in 1875. This was made possible by recently invented vibrators powered by alternating electric current and dry cell batteries. These devices could all be held in the hand, and could be applied to a large or small area.
The Russian space program began using vibration healing in the 1960s to reduce bone loss in astronauts, who have a higher incidence of bone fractures and density loss than people who have never been in outer space. Currently, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) also uses vibration healing to increase the bone mass of astronauts. Similar therapies may also benefit the general population. Osteoporosis is a common ailment of post-menopausal women, leading to fractures and high medical costs.
Other ailments treated by vibration healing include arthritis and fibromyalgia. Arthritis is a common ailment in the elderly population and can lead to permanent crippling due to joint damage. Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes chronic pain in joints, muscles, and other tissues of the body. Some practitioners claim that vibration healing is also good for cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and ulcers.
Modern vibration healing is carried out by massage, physical, and occupational therapists, as well as some independent practitioners of alternative medicine. A small, hand-held device is used on localized areas. For generalized healing, a vibrating chair is used. Sessions typically last from 20 minutes to one hour and continue until symptoms are gone, or used indefinitely for preventative measures.