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Benefits of Vibroacoustic Sound Therapy

Traditional psychotherapy (or talk therapy) can be extremely valuable for adults who have been struggling with anxiety, PTSD, and other mental or behavioral health concerns. Many patients also benefit from participating in holistic services such as meditation, mindfulness, and yoga. In recent years, a holistic service known as vibroacoustic therapy has also proved to be an effective element of care.

What Is Vibroacoustic Therapy?

Vibroacoustic therapy is a holistic, noninvasive technique that uses audible sound waves and vibrations to ease acute and chronic pain, as well as several additional conditions and symptoms. This technique is also referred to by a variety of additional terms, including vibroacoustic stimulation, vibrotactile intervention, and rhythmic sensory stimulation.

By any name, vibroacoustic therapy uses a variety of devices to convert sound frequencies into mechanical vibrations and then deliver these vibrations directly to a person’s body. Depending on the specific intended purpose of a vibroacoustic device, it may contain speakers, transducers, and other technology.

Modern vibroacoustic therapy dates to the 1970s and 1980s, when mental health experts and inventors in Finland, Norway, and the United States developed various tools and devices for incorporating sound waves into treatment.

Although the development of this technique occurred relatively recently, music and vibrations have been used for medical and mental health purposes for centuries. For example, as described in a September 2009 article in the journal Psychiatry, ancient Egyptians employed musical incantations as a means of healing sick people. The Psychiatry article also noted that Aristotle wrote about the beneficial effects of sound prior to 300 BC.

What to Expect During a Vibroacoustic Therapy Session

Sessions of vibroacoustic therapy or vibroacoustic stimulation can vary. It will depend on factors such as which type of device is used and what malady is being treated.

Many sessions involve specially designed furniture such as chairs, beds, and mats. In these sessions, the patient will either sit or lie down on a comfortable device that can produce both sounds and vibrations of a certain frequency. When the devices are activated, the patient will hear the sounds and feel the vibrations.

Some sessions involve handheld equipment that the therapist can use to direct vibrations toward specific parts of the patient’s body. Other sessions may take a “sound bath” approach that doesn’t involve any direct physical contact. In this type of vibroacoustic therapy session, patients are exposed to sounds and vibrations that emanate from various instruments, such as tuning forks or singing bowls.

Regardless of which type of vibroacoustic stimulation or therapy session a person participates in, the general principles are the same. This technique is based on the belief that sound waves that fall within certain frequency ranges may enhance circulation, trigger the release of neurotransmitters, stimulate nerve cells, and otherwise promote healing reactions throughout the body.

What Does Vibroacoustic Therapy Treat?

As we noted earlier in this post, vibroacoustic therapy is often used to alleviate both acute and chronic pain. However, these are by no means the only conditions that may be improved by this technique. Examples of other disorders and symptoms that have been treated with vibroacoustic therapy include:

  • Muscle tension related to stress or anxiety

  • Sleep disorders or disrupted sleep patterns

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

  • Parkinson’s disease

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Autism spectrum disorder

  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

The many potential benefits of vibroacoustic stimulation include:

  • Easing of physical tension

  • Stress relief

  • Better quality of sleep

  • Elevated mood

  • Pain reduction

  • Increased flexibility and range of motion

  • Lowered heart rate and blood pressure

  • Improved circulation

Another benefit of vibroacoustic therapy is that it poses minimal risk of side effects for qualified patients. Prior to starting vibroacoustic therapy, your healthcare provider should ensure that you don’t have conditions or characteristics that would disqualify you for this service, such as a pacemaker, hypotension (low blood pressure), or deep vein thrombosis.

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