Tremors & the Vibraboard Biomechanical Stimulation

We are all familiar with tremor at least in one form, and that is the purring of cats. Cat purrs are created by false vocal cords and based on spectral analysis, have three predominant frequencies, namely 25, 50 and 120 hertz. What is not widely known is that it is not only the felid family that purrs, and that purring does not always indicate contentment.

Many other animals also exhibit purring including bears, rhinoceros, whales, and dolphins. Furthermore, purring also happens when animals are frightened or injured.

Since purring takes some considerable effort on the side of the purror, and given that is not simply used as a method of communication, we may conclude that there is some specific benefit afforded the animal that purrs. This is supported by the veterinary observations showing that animals that purr heal injuries to their skin, bones, muscles tendons, ligaments and lungs much faster than those that do not. Comparing domestic dogs and cats sheds some light on the subject.

The records of 31,484 dogs and 15,226 cats from 52 veterinary practices reveals that the prevalence of arthritis and lameness in dogs as 2.4 and 3.1%. In cats it is not mentioned as being reported.1 Additionally, non-union of fractures in cats is rare.2 Finally, in free skin grafting in dogs, the overlapped skin edges of the graft usually become necrotic by 3 days postoperatively, and need to be debrided. In cats, the grafts are usually viable even after six days.3

Thus the question begs to be asked, what is it about purring that is therapeutic, and in what ways can we as humans avail ourselves of its benefits?

Vibraboard Biomechanical Stimulation Massage Therapy BMS Therapy

Let us first define BMS and give a short history. Traditional BMS is a form of physical therapy where a patient stands on a vibrating platform oscillating at between 18 and 50 hertz. This creates a reflexive reaction of skeletal muscles in a chain of small and rapid involuntary muscle contractions. In this way, tremor is induced involuntarily in the body. Unlike electrical muscle stimulation, which is painful in subjects with intact afferent pathways, BMS is purely mechanical.

Discovered by Nazarov in the 1970’s, BMS was first utilized by Soviet gymnasts in training for Olympic gold. BMS later began being used by Russian cosmonauts for micro-gravity induced osteopenia and muscle degeneration. While word of BMS spread, for many years it was primarily used by elite athletes to help increase the strength and coordination of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems and to increase the rate at which athletic injuries heal. Now however, BMS is being discovered as a therapy by many practitioners outside of the physical therapy sciences, and for a variety of conditions.

As BMS is a form of induced tremor, to gain a deeper understanding BMS we must first study the nature tremor itself, and so, on to tremor.

Biomechanical Stimulation with The Vibraboard

Biomechanical Stimulation (BMS) as a therapeutic modality has recently undergone a renaissance in athletic and physical therapy circles. While much has been written about it, I believe the full significance of its therapeutic application has yet to be grasped. To more fully understand the potential benefits of BMS, I believe we must understand the etiology of tremor and the benefits of exercise, as BMS is indeed their physiological involuntary recreation. This paper will discuss tremor, exercise and BMS, as a means to further understand the potential therapeutic roles of BMS in clinical practice.


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