Remember last year's exciting finding that just a few minutes of high-intensity interval training can reap similar health benefits as 45 minutes of moderate exercise? Well, there's a chance that just sitting on a vibrating platform might also reap similar benefits, especially for those with type 2 diabetes—though the study is small, and on mice, and still needs to be replicated on a far larger human population, reports VOA News. "These results are encouraging," one researcher says, but stresses that they need to be replicated in humans, and cautions against using vibrating beds—which cause muscles to contract and relax quickly—to control diabetes just yet. Still, the study "is the first to show that whole-body vibration may be just as effective as exercise at combating some of the negative consequences of obesity and diabetes," she says, per a press release.
Researchers tested "whole-body vibration" by placing both normal and diabetic mice on a gently vibrating platform for 20 minutes a day for 12 weeks, while a similar group ran on a treadmill for 45 minutes a day over those three months. For comparison, a third group just sort of hung out, sedentary, the whole time. Researchers report in the journal Endocrinology that the gently vibrated mice saw benefits quite similar to the cohort putting all that effort into the treadmill (including improved insulin sensitivity, more muscle fiber, and less fat in the liver), and the vibrating may have even improved bone strength in the diabetics. Next up? Study the mechanisms at play in whole-body vibration, including possible negative side effects like tissue inflammation. (Some people are actually allergic to vibrations.)