Proprioception describes the body's process of contracting muscles to control posture, joint positions and balance. Proprioception exercises specifically improves muscles coordination and trains the body to be more efficient.
The exercises emphasize muscles working together to produce the most amount of muscle coordination and with the least amount effort. People loose normal proprioception and muscle coordination through a sedentary life style, injury or compensating for other injuries.
For example, think of proprioception and muscle coordination like a row boat. If every person paddling worked together the boat will be able to turn quicker and have more control than a boat without organization that paddles out of synch.
Many injuries can be caused by muscle imbalances and poor coordination. An "uncoordinated muscle" causes other muscles to work harder and produce more strain in other areas of the body. For example, Iliotibial Band injuries can be caused by weaknesses in the hip or feet creating excessive stress on the knee. Over time, the stress overwhelms the Iliotibial band, creating an injury.
Specific proprioceptive exercises will coordinate muscles and prevent further injuries. This involves identifying the weak muscles and increasing their strength, endurance and coordination step-by-step. The process also involves relaxing and stretching overworked compensating muscles.
Vibration therapy increases the speed of neurologic learning. Therefore, by challenging the body and neuromuscular system with vibration, we can train the body to learn faster and speed recovery.
Most people are amazed at how tired they feel after 10 minutes on the vibration unit. The vibration is knocking the body off balance and forcing it to respond quicker and more often than standing on a wobble board. More muscles have to contract and the neurologic system patterns are established faster.
Many people are amazed at how clumsy and off balance they feel their first time on the vibration plate. However, they quickly see their progress in stability and balance in just a few weeks.
Proprioceptive balance training has been gaining popularity with professional athletes and weekend warriors over the last few years. You may have heard stories of professional athletes who "lost a step" or had an injury they weren't recovering from until they started proprioceptive training.