The clinical use of sound

singing bowlsWE have been using sound to access deeper states of consciousness and heal the body for centuries. Tibetan singing bowls, chanting, meditation gongs and mantras are just a few examples. Today research projects in major universities around the country are exploring the neurophysiology of mind-body interactions during meditation and deep relaxation states.

In one study a basic 20 minute daily meditation technique lowered participants blood pressure significantly, helped with their ability to handle stressful situations and improved their immune response.

Sound and stroke

Music not only affect parts of the brain but it can affect emotions and social interactions too. Stoke victims rates of recovery improve when music therapy is used in conjunction with traditional therapy. Another study examined the impact of music therapy combined with traditional stroke therapy in a community-based rehabilitation program. Thirty-three stroke survivors were randomly put into one of two groups: an experimental group, which combined rhythmic music and specialised rehabilitation movement for eight weeks; and a control group that sought and received traditional therapy. The results showed participants in the experimental group gained more flexibility and wider range of motion, along with an increased frequency and quality of social interactions and positive mood.

Heart disease, Alzheimer’s and dementia

According to a 2009 Cochrane review of 23 clinical trials, sound therapy reduces heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure in patients with coronary heart disease. Alzheimer’s and dementia are also two of the diseases commonly treated with sound therapy. The most significant benefits are seen in social behaviors, leading to improvements in interaction, conversation and other similar skills. A meta-study of over 330 subjects showed music therapy produces highly significant improvements to social behaviors, overt behaviors such as wandering and restlessness, reductions in agitated behaviors, and improvements to cognitive defects, measured with reality orientation and face recognition tests.

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