We've seen these gadgets before -- fads and quick fixes that promise to shake you into shape. But you might be surprised to hear that according to Stanford, Ohio State, USC, UCLA, even NASA -- this thing called whole body vibration may offer a valuable option to some people.
Researchers say compared to conventional exercise, there is evidence that vibrating your body may increase muscle strength and flexibility and improve circulation.
"I've got MS, Multiple Sclerosis, so my legs don't work, but this is making me stronger so I can transfer myself from one chair to another, or to a bed and take care of myself," says Anne Marie Barlow, user of Powerplate.
"I'm building more endurance, I guess more strength. I feel like I'm getting a better workout," says Michael Perlman, who uses Powerplate.
The Powerplate sends 30 to 50 vibrations per second through the plate, forcing the contraction of multiple muscle fibers. In Europe, whole body vibration is a routine part of health and fitness, but it's just now making its way to this country. NASA is testing this machine to see if it regenerates bone and muscle tissue in astronauts who don't have much time or space to exercise.