Acute effects of continuous and intermittent vibration on finger circulation

  • Massimo BovenziEmail author
  • Alexandra J. L. Welsh
  • Michael J. Griffin
Original Article



To compare the acute response of finger circulation to continuous and intermittent vibration having the same total duration of vibration exposure and the same energy-equivalent acceleration magnitude.


Finger blood flow (FBF) was measured in the middle and little fingers of both hands of ten healthy men. Finger skin temperature (FST) was measured in the middle right finger. With a static load of 10 N, the middle finger of the right hand was exposed to 125 Hz at 44 m s−2 root mean square (r.m.s.) in five conditions: (1) 30 min continuous exposure, (2) two periods of 15 min, separated by a 15 min period with no vibration, (3) four periods of 7.5 min, separated by 7.5 min periods with no vibration, (4) eight periods of 3.75 min, separated by 3.75 min periods with no vibration, (5) 16 periods of 1.88 min, separated by 1.88 min periods with no vibration. All five exposures correspond to an 8 h energy-equivalent frequency-weighted acceleration magnitude of 1.4 m s−2 r.m.s. according to International Standard ISO 5349–1 (2001). Finger circulation was measured in all four digits before the application of vibration and at fixed intervals during vibration exposure and during a 45 min recovery period.


The FST did not change during vibration exposure, whereas all vibration conditions produced significant reductions in FBF of the vibrated finger when compared with the pre-exposure FBF. During vibration exposure, the vibration caused a similar degree of vasoconstriction in the vibrated finger without evidence of cumulative effects during intermittent exposure. After the end of exposure to 30 min of continuous vibration there was a progressive decrease in the FBF, whereas there was no statistically significant reduction following exposure to intermittent vibration.


For the vibration stimuli investigated (exposure durations varying from 1.88 min to 30 min, with rest periods varying from 1.88 min to 15 min), the reduction of FBF during exposure was the same for continuous and intermittent vibration. The after effect of vibration was greater following the continuous vibration exposure. Although some evidence from this study is consistent with the notion that intermittent vibration has a less severe effect than continuous vibration, this evidence is not yet conclusive.


Finger circulation Vibration Intermittency Exposure duration 



This research was supported by the European Commission under the Quality of Life and Management of Living Resources programme—project no. QLK4-2002-02650 (VIBRISKS).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Massimo Bovenzi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Alexandra J. L. Welsh
    • 2
  • Michael J. Griffin
    • 2
  1. 1.Clinical Unit of Occupational Medicine, Department of Public Health Sciences, Trieste General HospitalsUniversity of TriesteTriesteItaly
  2. 2.Human Factors Research Unit, Institute of Sound and Vibration ResearchUniversity of SouthamptonSouthamptonUK

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