Foot vibration machines continue to attract attention.
Huffington Post has written think pieces about them. Some people swear by them. But maybe you're skeptical.
All too often, machines like this turn out to be less effective than people make them out to be. And if you're suffering from foot pain for whatever reason, it can be devastating emotionally to put your faith in something that winds up not working.
And with foot vibration machines sometimes costing upwards of $1000, it can be devastating financially, as well.
So, are foot vibration machines worth it? We can't make that decision for you, but we can give you all the facts you need to make an informed decision.
Laying out the case
Before you can make a decision on whether or not foot vibration machines are right for you, we need to figure out exactly what they are and what they do.
In this section, we will do our best to tell you exactly how these machines work, why people are using them, and why some people are doubtful about their effects. That way, you can read the rest of this article with a fully informed mind, helping you make an opinion.
How do these machines work?
There are various kinds of machines on the market, some with more features, some with less.
While this machine was designed to help athletes, some believe that it can help those with pain or muscle damage, as well.
What are the supposed benefits of vibrational therapy?
People claim all sorts of benefits of vibrational therapy. Some of these include:
- Preventing bone loss
- Relaxing muscle
- Increasing blood flow
- Reducing pain
There are two types of vibrational therapy. Foot vibration machines are a localized therapy, which means that the vibrations are only applied to one part of the body.
People who use these machines, though, claim that they can benefit the whole body. And it is true that the feet have areas that, when properly stimulated, can have a positive effect on the body as a whole.
Certain foot techniques can even improve your overall health.
So it's really no surprise that a machine meant to help your feet has taken off in such a way. Foot health has been tied with overall health for a very long time, so it's to be expected.
What are the arguments against it?
A few people have called into question the validity of these machines.
Even researchers admit that they know very little about the machines. Many are hesitant to give their blessing or their condemnation because they simply aren't sure what would be more appropriate.
This makes many wonder if the effects of the machines haven't been exaggerated to make a quick buck.
People profiting off of the hope of people in pain is nothing new. It's no surprise that people are wary.
In addition, some have wondered if maybe prolonged contact with these machines can cause more harm than good. They cite the fact that truck drivers exposed to similar frequencies often wind up with chronic back pain and nerve damage.
Of course, most foot vibration machines do not offer prolonged contact — only 30 seconds to four minutes of time.
But some cite even that as a detriment, noting that such a short amount of time wouldn't be enough to have many benefits.
Picking out the "facts."
With all of this conflicting emotion, it can be difficult to tell who to listen to. We can't make a decision for you, but we can help to get you all of the information possible.
After careful research, this is what we found. Please note that all of the facts stated here should be taken with a grain of salt and that no amount of internet research can replace the word of a professional.
If you have discussed foot vibration machines with your doctor, and they have given you their opinion one way or the other, then that is definitely something you should be taking into consideration.
Vibrational machines use massage techniques.
Livestrong notes that "Vibration massage can be performed by a therapist."
This implies that, at the very least, the techniques used by vibration machines are techniques used by professionals. It's grounded in research and fact, which is the first step in a successful product.
However, depending on how you look at it, it could be sending a very different message.
Using professional techniques also implies that if you're already seeing a professional to help you with your pain, vibration machines cannot do much more to help you.
You're probably already getting the treatment that these machines could give you, just in a different way. If you're already paying a therapist, maybe that $1000 could be better spent somewhere else.
Vibration techniques can be used to help relaxation and pain relief ...
Livestrong does note that vibration techniques can have benefits.
When used in conjunction with other massaging techniques, vibration can further relax muscles and improve blood flow.
It does not imply one way or the other whether or not the same benefits would come from using vibrational techniques alone.
It also suggests that vibrational machines can be used to decrease pain. This is because intense vibration can often cause numbness when applied correctly. It's suggested that applying it on or near the afflicted area can benefit the patient.
But should not be used by everyone.
That said, there are several warnings that come along with using vibration techniques.
One of the most distressing ones is this: vibration should not be used by diabetics where blood flow to the feet is diminished.
Implying that a machine made to improve blood flow can actually be detrimental to those who need it raises some questions, to say the very least. It is enough to make one wonder whether or not those claims are actually true.
There are several other people who should not use vibration techniques, including:
- People with cardiovascular conditions
- People with orthopedic injuries
- People with platings, fasteners, pins, bolts, etc.
- People with head injuries
It should be noted that these warnings are mostly directed towards whole body vibrations, not the localized vibration that foot vibration machines bring. However, these are still things to consider if you're planning on trying one of these machines out.
If you have one of the conditions listed above, it's probably best for you to try alternative methods.
We listed a few below for you.
What's the bottom line?
Foot vibration machines may be able to provide some benefits, in the right conditions. But it's up to you to decide whether or not those benefits are really worth the price of the machine.
These machines mind be expensive. And different machines, or even a licensed therapist, might be more suited to your needs if you're looking for something more diverse.
If the foot vibration machine seems like the right choice for you, however, make sure you carefully research what is on the market. Product reviews can be very helpful in making a decision.
Advice for those who want a foot vibration machine.
If you decide that you want to go forward with a foot vibration machine, there is one very important thing that you should do.
Earlier, we suggested that if you've already talked to your doctor about this, you should take their advice into consideration while reading.
If you haven't talked to your doctor, and you're considering this, now would be the time to ask.
Bring the foot vibration machine up with your doctor next time you go to see them. Feel free to bring up any concerns you may have, especially the ones we addressed in this article.
Your doctor will be able to steer you in the right direction, and might even be able to recommend a product that they think would best suit your needs.
They can also tell you if they think that a foot vibration machine is not the correct solution for you, and they can explain why.
Alternatives for those who don't.
If you're looking for another way to relieve foot pain, but you don't think that foot vibration machines are the correct path, there are several alternatives available to you.
Foot acupressure, which provides stimulation to certain pressure points on your feet, can be a great way to improve not only your foot pain but also your overall health. Muscle relaxation can also provide you relief.
Whether you opt for trying a foot vibration machine, or a different alternative, your comfort is the most important thing to us. We hope that all of this information helps you to make a decision that is right for you and your health.