“The preliminary findings showed that passive application of low-frequency sound wave stimulation therapy through both hands and feet was effective in alleviating pain and improving functional ability in patients with chronic back pain.” (Einly Lim, Renly Lim, Anwar Suhaimi, Bee Ting Chan, Ahmad Khairi Abdul Wahab; Treatment of chronic back pain using indirect vibroacoustic therapy: A pilot study)
As more research on the healing implications of sound emerges, more and more music therapy practices are beginning to become available. Recently, “low-frequency sound wave stimulation therapy has become increasingly popular in the rehabilitation fields, due to its ease, less fatiguing and time-efficient application.” (Einly Lim, Renly Lim, Anwar Suhaimi, Bee Ting Chan, Ahmad Khairi Abdul Wahab; Treatment of chronic back pain using indirect vibroacoustic therapy: A pilot study)
According to the Journal of Public Health Management and Practices, “Sound therapy uses low frequencies that fall in the alpha-theta-gamma-delta range, which corresponds to the brainwave frequencies that vibrate in the lower range.” To understand what this means and how it can influence us for health, we must first understand brainwaves. Brainwaves are electrical signals produced by the brain in each moment. There are five main types of brainwaves which include delta, gamma, beta, alpha, and theta.
Image via FitMind
Different brainwave patterns correspond to different states of mind. For example, we spend most of our time in a beta brainwave frequency as we move throughout our day problem solving, making decisions, etc. When we enter into a state of rest and allow our minds to become reflective, we move into an alpha brainwave frequency. In the delta state, we are in a deep, dreamless sleep. Upon entering this state, healing processes can begin within the body. We experience healing through the release of beta-endorphins, cortisol reduction, and immune-boosting. Beta-endorphins are neuropeptides involved in pain management, while cortisol is the main hormone associated with stress. Through reducing stress hormones and stimulating pain management endorphins, we position ourselves to modify our experience with pain and make way for the body to heal.
“Lower frequency brain waves can also stimulate the release of nitric oxide, which signals smooth muscles to relax, so our blood vessels dilate and increase blood flow. Release of nitric oxide positively affects pain transmission and control, which some scientists believe helps to modify our relationship to pain.” (Elena Vidrascu, MSc; SOUND HEALING FOR TREATMENT OF CHRONIC PAIN, ANXIETY, STRESS, AND DRUG ADDICTION, PART 1: AN INTRODUCTION)
In a recent study, 23 participants with chronic shoulder and back pain underwent a vibration therapy program. The program consisted of 12-weeks of therapy at three sessions per week. By the 12th week, “significant reductions in pain sensation and pain-related disability were observed.” (Einly Lim, Renly Lim, Anwar Suhaimi, Bee Ting Chan, Ahmad Khairi Abdul Wahab; Treatment of chronic back pain using indirect vibroacoustic therapy: A pilot study) These findings demonstrate exciting potential for the use of low-frequency sound to help treat and manage pain in the body.
In conclusion, we continue to find new promising research on the healing implication of low-frequency sounds for pain management. We will report our findings as more research continues to become available.
Have you used low-frequency sound to heal chronic pain? Let us know @healthandbass :)