Background: Vascular dysfunction due to hyperglycemia in individuals with diabetes is a factor contributing to distal symmetric polyneuropathy (DSP). Reactive oxygen species (ROS) reduce the bioavailability of nitric oxide (NO), a powerful vasodilator, resulting in reduced circulation and nerve ischemia. Increases in blood NO concentrations and circulation have been attributed to whole body vibration (WBV). The purpose of this study was to the determine the effects of low frequency, low amplitude WBV on whole blood NO concentration and skin blood flow (SBF) in individuals with symptoms of DSP. Research Design and Methods: Ten subjects with diabetes and impaired sensory perception in the lower limbs participated in this cross-over study. Each submitted to two treatment conditions, WBV and sham, with a one week washout period between. Blood draws for NO analysis and Doppler laser image scans of SBF were performed before, immediately after and following a 5 minute recovery of each the treatments. Results: Low frequency, low amplitude WBV vibration significantly increased skin blood flow compared to the sham condition (p=0.0115). Whole blood nitric oxide concentrations did not differ between the WBV and sham condition immediately or 5 minutes post-treatment ( p=0.1813) Conclusions: These findings demonstrate that subjects with diabetes respond to whole body vibration with increased skin blood flow compared to sham condition. The implication is that WBV is a potential non-pharmacological therapy for neurovascular complications of diabetes.



College and Department

Life Sciences; Exercise Sciences



Date Submitted


Document Type





diabetes, neuropathy, nitric oxide, skin blood flow, whole body vibration