Alternative Medicine: Sound Therapy Can Ease Anxiety
It’s no secret that soothing sounds can make you feel more
peaceful and calm. The sound of the ocean waves rising and falling, songbirds in
a meadow, wind chimes, waterfalls…all of these things can help you to relax.
Now there’s a new type of therapy, called
(also called vibrational medicine) that uses vibrations of the human voice and
objects that create sound waves, such as tuning forks, gongs and bowls from
Tibet called “singing bowls.”
Advocates of sound healing say that you can not only
hear sound vibrations, you can also feel them. They say that the
vibrations themselves can steady your heart rate, relax the patterns of your
brain waves and slow down your rate of respiration. These effects lead to deep,
slow breathing. As a result, levels of stress hormones decrease. It’s well
established that when your body feels the effects of too much stress hormone,
your immune system doesn’t function as well.
There’s a wide variety of ways that sound healing can work.
Tuning forks can be applied to acupuncture points on your body. You could lie
down while people gather around you to chant and strike singing bowls. You could
be part of a support group in which everyone chants and creates sound
vibrations. Some people even have their own vibrational implements in their
homes, where they conduct their own sound therapy sessions.
There have been no large clinical trials that prove that
sound healing helps in the treatment of cancer. And most responsible
practitioners of sound healing wouldn’t say that sound healing cures cancer.
Instead, they say that when people give themselves the space and time to immerse
themselves in the “healing” vibrations, they may be able to break the cycle of
constant stress and anxiety. Many cancer patients experience high levels of
stress, fear and anxiety, which can affect their quality of life as much as, if
not more than, the cancer, chemotherapy and radiation.
Although there’s no proof from large studies that
vibrational medicine works, there is some evidence that it may reduce blood
pressure and stress and heighten your sense of well-being. If you’re struggling
with feelings of fear and anxiety as you go through cancer and recovery, you may
want to give sound healing a try. There’s no indication that you’ll experience
any negative side effects. And who knows, you could very well end up feeling
calmer and more relaxed at the end of your session.
M. Gaynor, The
Healing Power of Sound. The New York Times, “What’s the Buzz? Sound Therapy”
24 November 2005.