Sound Healing Therapy Research
Vibroacoustics (VAT) Research, and Techniques
Sound Beds (Lounges, Tables, Chairs)
John Stuart Reid is an English acoustics engineer, scientist, and inventor. He has studied the world of sound for over 30 years and speaks extensively on his research findings to audiences throughout the United States and the United Kingdom. Inventor of the CymaScope Pro, John's work is inspired by acoustic pioneers, Ernst Chladni, Mary D. Waller and Hans Jenny and has taken their findings to a new level. His primary interests lie in investigating sound as a formative force and discovering why sound heals.
John Stuart Reid has made amazing discoveries through his research of sound frequencies using blood samples and more, working with scientists and doctors, and cutting-edge equipment. Below are some of his amazing finds:
Many of the biological mechanisms are activated by specific sound frequencies and by music, including:
Enhances nitric oxide (NO) production through active and passive acoustic stimulation of the nasal cavities and lungs by specific sound frequencies and music, resulting in a broad range of health benefits.
Nitric oxide production is essential for overall health because it allows blood, nutrients, and oxygen to travel to every part of your body effectively and efficiently.
Promotes pain mediation through stimulation of the body’s large A-beta fibers or A-alpha fibers in the area experiencing pain, thus causing the pain ‘gate’ to close. Also mediates pain by the ‘Descending Inhibition of Pain’ system, also referred to as the ‘top-down’ modulation of pain. Such effects can be initiated by music (or white noise) as a result of activating endogenous opioids.
The vagus nerve is stimulated via ‘sonopuncture’, particularly via the ears and voice, thus regulating internal organ functions, including digestion, heart rate, and respiratory rate, as well as promoting vasomotor activity and anti-inflammatory effects. Specific very low (sub-audible) frequencies may also be applied by full-ear headphones, combined with music.
Increases the availability of oxygen binding to hemoglobin molecules by low-frequency sound pressure, thus breaking the pain-spasm-pain cycle or ‘splinting cycle’ by increasing the availability of oxygen to affected tissues.
Increases the availability of oxygen binding to hemoglobin molecules by low-frequency sound pressure, thus aiding tissue repair mechanisms.
Promotes stress reduction with a consequent reduction in blood pressure and cortisol levels, and induces a state of joy with a consequent increase in dopamine levels, leading to a proliferation of leukocytes, thus boosting immune system efficiency.
Stimulates the brain binaurally—by binaural beats—to create changes in brain state, with physiological benefits.
Stimulates cells that are ‘sleeping’ in the G0 phase, encouraging them to return to the normal cell cycle.
Also from John Stuart Reid some very interesting information about the Ancient Egyptians:
The Egyptian music healers used conventional musical instruments such as the drum, harp, flute, lyre, and tambourine, but ‘sistra,’ were also employed. The sistra, Sistrum, or Systrum, is a type of rattle with metal discs that emit significant levels of healing ultrasound in the 40 to 60 kHz range. At the Festival of Opet, sistrum instruments were used to stimulate the nostrils:* “Receive the sistra presented to your nostril that he may give rejuvenating breath…” a statement suggesting that the ancient Egyptians were aware that sistra emitted a specific quality of sound that caused a rejuvenating effect on the sinus cavities. Specifically the increased production of nitric oxide.
* Manniche, L. Music and Musicians in Ancient Egypt. p72. British Museum Press, 1991. ISBN: 0-7141-0949-5
There is some evidence that the ancient Egyptians employed vowel sound chant (as distinct from singing) for therapeutic effect, just as today humming and chanting are known to stimulate nitric oxide production and to stimulate the vagus nerve.** Nitric oxide production is essential for overall health because it allows blood, nutrients, and oxygen to travel to every part of your body effectively and efficiently.
The vagus nerve is stimulated via ‘sonopuncture’, particularly via the ears and voice, thus regulating internal organ functions, including digestion, heart rate, and respiratory rate, as well as promoting vasomotor activity and anti-inflammatory effects. Specific very low (sub-audible) frequencies may also be applied by full ear headphones, combined with music.
“Vowel sounds were held sacred in Egypt, so much so that their written hieroglyphic language contains no vowel symbols, making it challenging for Egyptologists to correctly decipher Egyptian texts. Priests sang vowel sounds to their gods, and just as Medieval Cathedrals were designed to exhibit high levels of reverberation because the atmosphere created by sonic reflections provides a stronger sense of spiritual connection, so too, the ancient Egyptian architects designed their sacred spaces to be highly reverberative. In modern homes, our bathrooms create the nearest equivalent soundscapes, so I invite you to practice this simple vowel sound chant in your bathroom. First though, perhaps close the window first if you have nearby neighbors who may misinterpret your practice! In the English language, if you say the word “why” very, very slowly, you will enunciate all the vowel sounds that it is possible to make. To begin, purse your lips as if to make an “oo” sound, which is the first part of the word “why”. Take a very deep breath and very, very slowly enunciate the word “why” until you end with a long “ee” sound. Some people think that this practice provides the answer to the Cosmic question: why? But most importantly, all those beautiful vowel sounds will create copious amounts of healing nitric oxide in your body, dilating the myriad of capillaries, and bringing healing oxygen to all parts. I do hope you have fun with these two simple but profound exercises.”
-John Stuart Reid-
Clinical Research in Hospitals and Institutions:
An extraordinary discovery by the Neils Bohr Institute: Nerve impulses propagate as sound pulses (solitons)
Pain can also be experienced that is not a consequence of nociception, categorized as ‘neurogenic’ pain, stemming from neural circuit disconnections, and has been found to be mediated by vibratory analgesia. For example, in a study with fibromyalgia patients, positive effects were obtained with 40Hz vibro-tactile stimulation of the body.*
Another vibro-tactile study mentioned that patients with chronic pain syndromes, such as fibromyalgia, complain of widespread pain and tenderness, as well as non-refreshing sleep, cognitive dysfunction, and negative mood. In a study with 28 normal pain-free patients, 29 fibromyalgia patients, and 19 subjects with neck or back pain, a 100Hz vibrating probe effectively created analgesic mechanisms in patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain, including fibromyalgia.
** *Naghdi, L. et al. The effect of low-frequency sound stimulation on patients with fibromyalgia: A clinical study. Pain Res. Manag. 2015, 20. E21-e27.
** Staud R. et al. Attenuation of Experimental Pain by Vibro-Tactile Stimulation in Patients with Chronic Local or Widespread Musculoskeletal Pain. European Journal of Pain. 2011 September; 15(8): 836–842. DOI:10.1016/j.ejpain.2011
National Institute of Health
Ongoing since 1995, the National Institutes of Health runs the most extensive program in the U.S. for vibroacoustic pain and symptom reduction, treating over 50,000 patients per year. In one study, Dr. George Patrick measured the physiological and behavioral effectiveness of these interventions with 272 patients and found over 50% experienced a reduction of both pain and symptoms. He theorizes that this pain relief is relaxation-induced. Not only that, but he believes that multiple mechanisms of the body may use music/vibration to regain healthy homeostasis.
According to studies done by George Patrick, PhD, just one sound treatment entrains about a 33 percent increase in perceived relaxation levels and a 54 percent reduction of the intensity of pain, tension, fatigue, nausea, headache, and depression.
The study shows a treatment on a sound bed provide the following:
• Slowed heart rate
• Reduced oxygen consumption
• Decreased blood pressure
• Slowed respiration rate
• Relaxed muscles
Mentally the study also showed:
• Deep relaxation
• Changed brainwave frequencies (generally slowing down from beta to alpha and alpha to theta or delta)
• Cleared the mind from anxiety
• Created a feeling of calm and peacefulness
As an additional benefit, vibroacoustics can help people learn to recognize the state of relaxation and, over time, become able to reach relaxation at will. Vibroacoustics is a great way to learn how to relax and develop relaxation as a daily habit!
Olav Skille Research
Olav Skille discovered Vibroacoustic Therapy to be beneficial for conditions such as asthma, autism, cystic fibrosis, cerebral palsy, insomnia, pain, and Parkinson’s disease, describing the three main areas of effect from Vibroacoustic Therapy as being (1) Spasmolytic and muscle-relaxing effect, (2) Increase in blood flow to the extremities, and (3) Marked but varying effects to the vegetative state.
In a study performed on 40 patients experiencing lumbar regional pains it was found that, after being given a VibroAcoustic Therapy session, 75% of participants experienced a complete dissolution of pain while 10% experienced a significant decrease in it.
It’s been found that sound bed treatments can lead to a significant decrease in muscle spasms in just about any part of the body. How could you not smile after one?
In a study that took 32 individuals in the same workspace over the course of three months, it was found that after exposing them to VibroAcoustic therapy over the course of three months that there was an 80 percent decrease in anxiety levels.
Vibracoustic Therapy more often than not leads to a slowed heart rate and thus an improved heart rate variability (HRV), which is an indicator of stress resilience.
Vibroacoustic treatments have shown time and time again to increase circulation, which nourishes the cells and organs of the body.
Vibroacoustic sound therapy has been shown to reduce symptoms of ADD/ADHD in children with profound and multiple learning difficulties as well as in the elderly in long-term residential care.
Other benefits of Vibroacoustic therapy include blood flow stimulation (making pressure sores and ulcers heal faster), swelling reduction, as well as muscle and back alleviation and joint improvement.
Jupiter Medical Center
Tests done with cancer and chemotherapy patients at the Jupiter Medical Center in Florida found similar results: 62.8% reduction of anxiety, 61.6% reduction of fatigue, and between 61% to 74% decrease of pain for 27 patients in 41 Vibroacoustics sessions.
A study at Duke University Medical Center also reported significant pain reduction for 20 women who underwent surgery for various cancers. Also at Duke, vibroacoustics was tested in physical therapy sessions following total knee replacements, showing that the tools helped to increase range of motion. Additionally, heart surgeons using vibroacoustics therapy during cardiac surgery recovery found significant decreases in patients’ use of sedative and pain medication, time spent on the ventilator, time spent in the cardiac unit, and overall time spent in the hospital.
Mindful Research Study
In a study that took 110 participants self-reporting stress levels of 4 or higher on a scale of 0-10 it was found that after spending 25 minutes on a Sound Lounge in a dimly lit room that there was a significant decrease in stress levels, with a majority of the participants saying they would recommend others to use a Sound Lounge.
The Sound Lounge helps induce a state of deep meditation which provides benefits similar to sleep that lower blood pressure, reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression; and allow for the onset of creative ideas.
Bio Therapy Study
57% Reduction in Stress
53% Reduction in Racing Thoughts
56% Reduction in Muscle Tension
52% Reduction in Impulsiveness
47% Reduction in Depression
47% Reduction in Fear
54% Reduction in Body Aches
48% Reduction in Anger
46% Reduction in Cravings
44% Reduction in Headaches
Psychological and Physiological Transformation
Music produces alterations in physiology. Soothing music can produce a response characteristic of relaxation in which autonomic, immune, endocrine, and neuropeptide systems are altered. Likewise, it produces desired psychological responses such as reductions in anxiety and fear. Some responses have been linked to effects on the hemispheric functioning of the brain and the limbic system. High psychophysiological stress levels inhibit or block learning. Thus music can be the catalyst to facilitate mental suggestion, and enhance our own learning ability and self-healing capacities. Music is now being used in many areas of medicine including labor and delivery, ICU, CCU, surgery, dentistry, neurology, psychiatry, gerontology, rehabilitation, oncology, pain and stress management, and many others.
International studies continue to attest to the effectiveness of VibroAcoustic Therapy as an intervention for clinical populations in the treatment of cancer, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, migraine headaches, gastrointestinal ulcers, Raynaud’s disease, Parkinson’s, fibromyalgia, polyarthritis, sports injury, low back pain, neck and shoulder pain, autism, insomnia, depression, and anxiety disorders.
Interviews and Testimonials
Massage therapists have found consistent themes in the use of sound tables in the way they assist in enhancing therapies by encouraging muscles, facial and connective tissues to relax more quickly, consequently increasing the depth and duration of massage effects. They often note a reduction in their physical effort, as the sound table is like having an extra set of hands. In addition, enthusiastic clients have a high return rate and spread positive word-of-mouth that increases the client base
Ongoing since 1995, the National Institutes of Health runs the most extensive program in the U.S. for vibroacoustic pain and symptom reduction, treating over 50,000 patients per year. In measuring the physiological and behavioral effects of these interventions with 267 patients, Dr. Patrick George found over a 47.36% to 60.97% reduction in pain and symptoms.
Tests done with cancer and chemotherapy patients at the Jupiter Medical Center in Florida found similar results: 62.8% reduction in anxiety, 61.6% reduction in fatigue, and between 61% to 74% decrease in pain for 27 patients in 41 vibroacoustics sessions.
A study at Duke University Medical Center also reported significant pain reduction for 20 women who had surgery for various cancers. Also at Duke, vibroacoustics was tested in physical therapy following total knee replacements, showing an increased range of motion. Heart surgeons using vibroacoustics therapy during cardiac surgery recovery found significant decreases in patients' use of sedative and pain medication, time spent on the ventilator, time spent in the cardiac unit, and overall time spent in the hospital.
These are but a few of the many studies on vibroacoustics. Many point to the effectiveness of the therapy in triggering the Relaxation Response. Physiologically, the relaxation response initiates the following changes:
• Reduces oxygen consumption
• Decreases blood pressure
• Slows heart rate
• Slows respiration rate
• Relaxes muscles
Mentally, deep relaxation:
Changes in brainwave frequencies (generally slowing down from beta to alpha and alpha to theta
• Clears the mind from anxiety
• Creates a feeling of calm and peacefulness
As an additional benefit, vibroacoustics can help people to learn to recognize the state of relaxation and, over time, become able to reach relaxation at will. Vibroacoustics is a great way to learn how to relax and develop relaxation as a daily habit!