University of Georgia

Small movements can make a big difference

photo of child standing on a vibrating platform at the University of Georgia's Neuromusculoskeletal Health Lab

A new UGA study is exploring whether small, quick movements can help children with cerebral palsy improve their strength, balance and muscle control.

By having children stand on a small vibrating platform for 10 minutes a day, researchers are measuring the effects on muscle development, balance and physical activity over a 12-month period.

Because of damage to areas of the brain that affect movement, people with cerebral palsy have problems maintaining their balance and participating in physical activity. Pilot work by Christopher Modlesky and collaborators at UGA and Emory University suggests that vibration therapy has a positive effect.

“As we’re conducting these studies, parents are telling us their children are falling less,” says Modlesky, the UGA Athletic Association Professor of Kinesiology in the College of Education. “We suspect that vibration is having a direct effect on their muscles by increasing their activity.”

Children with CP often are not physically active. Increasing their activity level may reduce their chance of developing chronic diseases like diabetes and osteoporosis, according to Modlesky.

This brief appeared in the spring 2018 issue of Research Magazine. The original story is available at