In the 21st century, cancer patients are looking for more than just traditional treatments or drugs to ease some of the symptoms of their disease or - in some cases – to shrink tumors. Studies have shown that a number of alternative or complementary treatments do indeed help particular patients, including mesothelioma victims, especially when used in tandem with traditional treatments. Often, the willingness to try something “different” to relieve pain or other issues is a big step towards improving quality of life for a cancer patient and many welcome the opportunity to try something non-invasive.
What is Sound Therapy?
“Sound Therapy” is a general term that can apply to a few different kinds of alternative treatments. It sometimes includes music therapy but more often refers to a range of therapies that use sound waves that are believed to be able to restore a healthy balance to the body. Developed in Europe in the 1950s, sound therapy is a throw-back to beliefs that have long been present in indigenous societies around the world, where hand-clapping, drumming, chanting, and other sounds are a regular part of healing ceremonies.
Early proponents of sound therapy used a sound vibrating machine that was placed on the area to be treated. For example, those with pleural mesothelioma would have had the machine applied to their chest area. The frequency would then be set to match the vibrations of a healthy body and would then coax the pleural area – which would be out of sync - into vibrating at the correct frequency.
Though, in some cases, the system of producing and applying the sounds or vibrations has become a little more sophisticated as the decades past, the basic premise of sound therapy – sometimes called bio-resonance therapy - remains the same.
Those who promote sound therapy note that everything that exists in the physical, mental, and spiritual worlds does so on a vibratory basis, based on the fact that electrons move and vibrate constantly. Being able to correct the frequency in a body that is sick can help make the body well again.
Using Sound Therapy
While it is highly unlikely that sound therapy would prompt a mesothelioma cure, advocates of the treatment note that it can help ease some of the physical symptoms of mesothelioma disease as well as those of other types of cancer. Various kinds of sound therapy – ranging from chanting to the use of singing bowls and small sound boxes that attach to the patient’s ear – have been used to treat other disorders as well, including autism, anxiety, depression, and diseases of the memory, such as Alzheimer’s.
For most asbestos cancer patients, the use of sound therapy would probably be directed at pain relief. Pain is a regular problem for mesothelioma patients and many prefer not to add more pain medications to their long list of drugs, choosing instead to try these kinds of alternative therapies in hopes that their pain will indeed be reduced.
Proponents of sound therapy note that it has been used successfully to treat not only pain experienced by cancer patients but also women in labor, those with serious sports injuries, arthritis pain, and soft tissue damage.
Finding a Sound Therapist
Many cancer hospitals and mesothelioma clinics have embraced the use of complementary therapies for the treatment of debilitating cancer symptoms including chronic pain. Memorial Sloan-Kettering in New York City has had a chanting and toning program for more than a decade and other renowned cancer centers have followed suit, recognizing that natural, non-invasive remedies are often what the patient is seeking.
To find a sound therapy program, check with your oncologist or another member of your care team. If the hospital at which you or your loved one is being treated does not have such a program, like for an osteopath or chiropractor in your area. They often offer complementary therapies for pain relief.
Furthermore, there are a number of sound therapy CD programs that may be used at home. These are very cost effective and eliminate the need to travel to a hospital or doctor’s office for treatment.
The Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine, April 6, 2001 issue