Pivotal vs. Lineal Vibration

The difference between Pivotal and Lineal vibration platforms:

Pivotal vibration is also known as seesaw or oscillation vibration and what we consider to be the best kind of vibration.  It is used for general fitness, muscle toning and overall health benefits. Whereas,  Lineal vibration generally focuses more on the lower legs.

The following is research conducted by NASA space agency:

Pivotal Vibration

These are vibration machines that where the platform tilts around a central pivotal point like a seesaw.  The left and right sides alternate up and down while the center does not move.

You can change the amplitude of the platform simply by moving your feet closer or further away from the center.  Our high quality pivotal machines have desired total peak-to-peak amplitude of 10mm at the platform’s widest position.  German-made pivotal vibration machines were the first to be used commercially and to be validated scientifically.  Our Vibra Therapy vibration machines are fashioned after this German quality.

Lineal Vibration

In an attempt to compete with the successful German vibration machines, a Dutch company created a vibration platform with a new kind of platform movement called Lineal.  A lineal vibration platform remains horizontal at all times as the entire platform moves in equal distance up and down.  Lineal vibration platforms typically have very small peak-to-peak amplitudes ranging only from 1 to 5mm.

In the early days of vibration fitness, the mechanics of how whole body vibration worked was largely unknown.  Lineal vibration machines soon joined pivotal vibration machines in scientific experiments aiming at uncovering what was causing the benefits for why pivotal vibration had already become famous.

To date, pivotal vibration machines maintain a prominence in research with more research proven benefits than lineal vibration machines.

A major limitation of lineal vibration platforms is that they move the whole body up and down including the head.  A pivotal platform, on the other hand, lifts one leg at a time.  As one leg goes up the pelvis tilts and the other leg goes down.  This side-to-side rocking of the pelvis and lumbar spine causes most of the vibration energy to be absorbed by the time it reaches the rib cage that keeps any head movement to a minimum.

Many users who use lineal vibration machines report a strong vibration occurring in the head that does not become eliminated by simply changing posture.

“Lineal vibration is known to cause more head vibration than pivotal vibration”

In 2007, research funded by the National Space Biomedical Research Institute compared the effects of exercising on a lineal vibration machine with the same exercise performed on a pivotal machine.

The research found in all body postures they tested, “transmission of vibration to the head was 71 to 189% greater during lineal (vertical) vibration than pivotal (rotational) vibration and that pivotal (rotational) vibration has the lowest risk of negative side effects.”

Abercomby, A, et al. Vibration Exposure and Biodynamic Responses during whole body vibration training.  Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007 Oct.39(10): 1794-800.

Other researchers have reported the following damage caused by using low magnitude lineal vibration:

• Reduced visual-motor tracking ability (difficulty following moving objects)

• Reduced visual acuity (vision becomes blurry)

Please contact us to ask about the Vibra Therapy machine you are considering to purchase.  We can make recommendations based on your preferences and needs.

The alternating tilting of the pelvis in pivotal vibration is the same natural movement that occurs during walking.  It prevents vertebra from being compressed.  Those with bad backs and necks or prone to headaches should be cautious when using a lineal whole body vibration machine.

Pivotal or Lineal, which one should you choose?

Nasa put both platforms to a test: which produced greater muscle activity?

In a 2006 study conducted by NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) a leading lineal and leading pivotal machine were both used in the same muscle performance experiment and the results of each were compared.

According to the researchers, the conditions for each platform were the same:

• same frequency (30Hz)

• same amplitude (4mm)

• same test subjects

• same exercises

The result: “muscle responses were significantly greater during pivotal (rotational) vibration than lineal (vertical) vibration.” 

A reason for lineal vibration’s poor performance in some of the lineal scientific research is explained by understanding another limitation of lineal machines: their inability to use high vibration amplitudes resulting in low acceleration.

Another possible explanation comes from research conducted at the Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health, Massey University, New Zealand in 2006.  It was proven that even at low output (6Hz 3mm peak-to-peak amplitude) pivotal whole body vibration exercise causes stretching of the muscle that is associated with an immediate increase in electrical muscle activity.

To date this effect has not been demonstrated with lineal whole body vibration exercise.

In summary:

So as far as which vibration is better for you, you need to determine whether you want to focus on massage and therapy for your legs, then you should consider lineal vibration.

If you have neck pain or are prone to headaches, then lineal vibration is NOT for you.

However, if you have foot or leg problems, and need therapy, lineal vibration machines

would be a good choice for you.

Our Dual Motor Model has both lineal and pivotal vibration and the motors can run simultaneously or separately in manual or aerobic preset training programs.

On the other hand, if you are looking for whole body fitness and therapy in one machine, then you should consider purchasing one of our pivotal whole body vibration platform machines.

These are our most popular pivotal machines:

Portable Model

Platinum Model

Professional Model

Dual Motor Model