Sound Therapy Proven to Help You Heal During Cancer Treatments
Know how a great tune can lift your spirits? According to scientific studies and oncologist Dr. Mitchell Gaynor, it can do a lot more than that—like help heal cancer.
“Sound can play a role in virtually any medical disorder, since it redresses imbalances on every level of physiologic functioning,” Dr. Gaynor says. In addition, sound “affects healing in several ways: It alters cellular functions and biological systems…it calms the mind and the body; affects the emotions, which influence neurotransmitters and neuropeptides, which in turn regulate the immune system, the healer within.”
According to a recent study, music therapy can reduce mood disturbance in cancer patients undergoing stem-cell transplantation. Other data suggests that music may also alleviate anxiety in patients receiving radiation therapy. According to the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, controlled trials show that music therapy reduces anxiety, stress, depression, and pain. A study at the University of Rochester Medical Center showed that music therapy reduced pain and nausea in patients who underwent bone-marrow transplants, and even quickened the pace at which their new marrow started producing blood cells.
Pretty much, sound therapy is what it sounds like—using sound to treat physical and mental conditions. The sound is most often produced by recorded music, but can also incorporate chanting and meditation, the use of particular instruments, and electronic equipment that produces certain vibrations that facilitate healing.
Dr. Gaynor uses Tibetan and crystal singing bowls and chant as part of his cancer therapy, but music therapy can consist of all types of music and sound. Now offered in many hospitals and cancer centers across the country, it may be available near your oncology center. There are also several CDs available that facilitate healing, including Dr. Gaynor’s “Music for Sound Healing,” Dean Evanson’s “Sound Healing,” and Steven Halpern’s “Music for Sound Healing.” You can find healing instruments like Dr. Gayno’s crystal singing bowls online—at crystalbowls.com, for example, or try the Tibetan bowls at discoverthesound.com. Some spas now offer sound therapy, or you may find individual therapists offering sessions like Patricia Caldwell at Sound for Life or Wayne Perry’s Sound Therapy Center of Los Angeles. Some massage therapists incorporate certain sounds or music in their sessions, in effect giving you massage and sound therapy at once.
Of course, you can always just take your favorite tunes with you to treatment, and create your own daily meditation by lighting a candle, putting on your favorite, stress-relieving music, and sitting still, focusing on the breath, for 30 minutes each day. The important thing is to be aware of what sound can do for you and for healing, and be more aware of the sounds bombarding you every day. Are you listening to a lot of hard noises, like television, traffic, harsh music, people shouting, or children screaming? All these things affect your body and mind. Control your exposure as much as possible, and take time everyday for more healing, soothing sounds.
Have you found music or sound helpful in your recovery? Let us know.
Photo courtesy of Roman Barelko via Flickr.com.