COPD Rehabilitation Improves With Whole-Body Vibration

Medscape Medical News

Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) show improvements in rehabilitative exercise efforts when the activities are complemented with whole-body vibration sessions, according to a study published online November 21 and in the January 2012 print issue of Respiratory Medicine.

When using whole-body vibration, patients exercise on a vibrating platform that produces sinusoidal oscillations. The method has been associated with improved neuromuscular and hormonal responses in healthy participants compared with resistance training alone, and it has also been shown to offer benefits for patients with other diseases, according to Rainer Gloeckl, from the Department of Respiratory Medicine, Schoen Klinik Hospital, Schoenau am Koenigssee, Germany, and colleagues.

“So far, [whole-body vibration] has also been established in rehabilitation programs for patients with neurological diseases to improve postural control or for patients with osteoporosis to enhance bone mineral density,” they write.

Endurance and strength training are considered essential components for rehabilitation of patients with COPD, who suffer from limitations in exercise capacity that are associated with poor quality of life and an increased mortality risk.

“Whilst the use of endurance and strength training are established and evidence-based exercise modalities in patients with COPD, the validation of further complementary exercise methods is considered a remaining challenge,” the authors note.

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