This paper presents a narrative review of research literature to “map the landscape” of the mechanisms of the effect of sound vibration on humans including the physiological, neurological, and biochemical. It begins by narrowing music to sound and sound to vibration. The focus is on low frequency sound (up to 250 Hz) including infrasound (1–16 Hz). Types of application are described and include whole body vibration, vibroacoustics, and focal applications of vibration. Literature on mechanisms of response to vibration is categorized into hemodynamic, neurological, and musculoskeletal. Basic mechanisms of hemodynamic effects including stimulation of endothelial cells and vibropercussion; of neurological effects including protein kinases activation, nerve stimulation with a specific look at vibratory analgesia, and oscillatory coherence; of musculoskeletal effects including muscle stretch reflex, bone cell progenitor fate, vibration effects on bone ossification and resorption, and anabolic effects on spine and intervertebral discs. In every category research on clinical applications are described. The conclusion points to the complexity of the field of vibrational medicine and calls for specific comparative research on type of vibration delivery, amount of body or surface being stimulated, effect of specific frequencies and intensities to specific mechanisms, and to greater interdisciplinary cooperation and focus.
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