Fourteen studies were included (n=622, samples sizes ranged from 9 to 89): 10 RCTs (n=440), three controlled trials (n=173) and one uncontrolled trial (n=9). The average PEDro score was 4.64. The authors reported that some limitations in quality were small sample sizes, sample homogeneity, poor blinding and limited or no randomisation of participants.
There were benefits reported with all named whole body vibration devices (NEMES, Power plate/Fitvibe, ZEPTORmed and Galileo); some were used only in the treatment of a specific group of participants.
Whole body vibration training was associated with a benefit in body balance, timed up-and-go and function/gait in elderly participants (three studies), improved body balance and function/gait in postmenopausal women (two studies) and Parkinson's disease patients (three studies), and improved timed up-and-go and function/gait in multiple sclerosis patients (one study). In patients with spastic diplegia there was no improvement in timed up-and-go and a negative effect on functional performance (one study).
Whole body vibration was associated with improved body balance compared with control groups in eight out of eight studies (ES 1.38 in whole body vibration groups versus 1.14 in control groups). For the outcome stability and gait, one study found no difference between whole body vibration and control/resistance groups (ES 0.14), one study reported an improved gait score in the intervention group (ES 0.92) compared with control and one study reported improvements in reach tests for both intervention (ES 0.42) and control (ES 0.35). Timed up-and-go was improved with whole body vibration compared with control in three studies (ES ranged from 0.6 to 0.92). One study reported no change in timed up-and-go with whole body vibration, but a decrease in timed up-and-go in the control group.
Two studies reported that bone mass density increased more with whole body vibration than with resistance training, but only one study showed a significant effect (ES 0.59). Isokinetic strength (one study) and power (one study) were improved in the whole body vibration groups compared with control and resistance groups. There was no significant difference in counter movement jump between whole body vibration and control groups in one study.
Isometric strength showed greater improvement in the resistance training group (ES 15.60) compared with the whole body vibration group (ES 12.70) and control (ES -3.75) in one study.