WHY: The Science of vibration and percussion

The history of the development of "vibrotherapy" (VT) dates back to the the nineteenth century, when a French neurologist designed vibration chair for treatment of Parkinson disease. (1) In the 1950s, Robert Fulford, D.O. introduced mechanical vibration to osteopathic bodywork. (2) The terms "vibration" and "percussion" are used interchangeably in the literature. The term percussion is used for a more "hammer like" or higher force vibration. Whether it is for recovery for athletes or recovery from injury, over the past decade, VT has become more popular and many studies have provided insight into the benefits of using vibration for enhancement of overall health.

There are two types of vibration/percussion application

  • Whole-body: VT applied to the entire body by sitting or standing on a machine that rests on a platform. This platform then vibrates, sending sound waves throughout your body.

  • Localized: A hand-held device is used for localized vibration application. The device is applied directly to an area of the body. For example, if your calf feels tight, sore, or painful, you can apply the device directly to the calf for a period of time. Thor's Hammer is the most sophisticated form of localized vibration application.

What is "Vibration?"

"Vibration is a mechanical incitement characterized by an oscillatory wave."  Vibration enters the body when the vibration device is applied directly to a muscle. "Vibration depending on its characteristic can affect the human body in specific way (e.g. change elasticity of blood vessels, improve blood flow to the peripheral circulation, enhance blood supply to the skin, stimulates lymphatic circulation, relieve pain, increase the elasticity of the tendons and fascia, increase muscle strength and flexibility, support metabolism, will improve mental health, relaxes whole organism etc.)."  (1)

Vibration vs. Percussion 

The scientific literature does not make a technical distinction between the terms vibration and percussion and uses these terms interchangeably. In the massage device world, there are some devices marketed as vibration and some as percussion. The percussion devices are discussed as being "stronger" or "more powerful" or have "deeper penetration." These are marketing terms, not scientific terms.

The specifications that determine the feel of the massage device are weight of the massage device, battery power (number of cells), motor power (torque), RPM (speed levels), and stroke amplitude. 

The stroke amplitude or stroke length is the distance the massage head attachment is moving in and out of the device. The longer stroke amplitude devices are marketed as “percussion” and “more powerful.” Remember the analogy of the Bruce Lee “one inch punch.” The distance his arm traveled was short, but the power was tremendous.

Stroke Amplitude Image Attached

Since there really is a difference in the "feel" of these devices, we decided to produce both a vibration or V-Class device and a percussion or P-Class device. One is not "better" than the other, it is all about which one makes YOU feel better!  

What Does The Research Say?

Pain Relief and Reduction of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS): Vibration therapy shows "clinically early reduction of pain" by "providing stimulation to muscle spindles". It leads to leads to "less damage to the muscle resulting in less pain perception in post exercise duration."  (3) In addition, vibration may be effective in preventing DOMS by increasing joint range of motion and blood flow under the skin. (4)

Muscle Strength: "The use of local vibration on the target muscle can enhance muscle strength in healthy adults" and can help increase maximum voluntary contraction. (5)

Deconditioned Muscles: Local vibration alone may be sufficient to increase strength in deconditioned muscle and individuals with sarcopenia (loss of size and strength of muscles as we age). (6)

Pre-workout Performance Enhancement: Brief pre-exercise local vibration stimulation directly to muscle may be beneficial for enhancing performance. Maximum Voluntary Isometric Contraction (MVIC) "decreased ... immediately after induction of DOMS and the next day," but it increased in the group that received vibration application. (7)

Decreased Sympathetic Drive: Local application the body via a hand held instrument decreases sympathetic drive. The sympathetic system is what most people refer to as “fight or flight.” A sympathetic response is meant to prioritize short-term survival by increasing blood pressure, heart rate, and adrenaline. In order to recover, it is critical to decrease this response. (8)

Safety of Vibration Percussion: A study performed "to assess the safety of treatment with vibration massage using a deep oscillation device and the effects on symptom severity and quality of life in patients with primary fibromyalgia syndrome [FMS]"  found that is was "safe and well tolerated in patients with FMS and might improve symptoms and quality of life rather sustained."(9)

What are you waiting for? Choose Thor's Hammer RRS V-Class or P-Class!

Resilience & Recovery Solutions for Every Body! 


1. Vibration Therapy and Its Influence on Health

2. Dynamic fascial release and the role of mechanical/ vibrational assist devices in manual therapies

3. To Compare the Effect of Vibration Therapy and Massage in Prevention of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)​

4. Vibration Therapy in Management of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)​

5. Effect of localised vibration on muscle strength in healthy adults: a systematic review.

6. Effects of local vibrations on skeletal muscle trophism in elderly people: mechanical, cellular, and molecular events.

7. Effects of Vibratory Stimulations on Maximal Voluntary Isometric Contraction from Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

8. The Science and Application of Vibration Training and Therapy

9. Safety and Effectiveness of Vibration Massage by Deep Oscillations: A Prospective Observational Study


Addition Reading

Soft Tissue Healing Considerations After Surgery

Surgical Scarring: Minimizing the Appearance of Scars

Scar Management

The Skin and Wound Healing: Pathology and Intervention in Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation

Scarring vs. functional healing: Matrix-based strategies to regulate tissue repair

Effects of vibration therapy in the musculoskeletal system in post‑surgical breast cancer women: longitudinal controlled clinical study