Sound Therapy for Mesothelioma Patients
Many mesothelioma patients have a long road of treatment ahead of them and may seek out alternative therapies to help them feel better along the way. Several alternative types of therapy and medicine have brought people relief, and some have even been proven to be beneficial. Sound therapy is a way of using sound, music, and energy to promote healing.
The two main categories of sound therapy are sound energy therapy and music therapy. The latter has been studied much more, but both are believed to promote relaxation and reduce stress, two very powerful benefits for anyone going through treatment for mesothelioma and other types of cancer. This kind of therapy may also relieve pain, improve mobility, and promote overall well-being.
What is Sound Therapy?
Sound therapy is not regulated, so the practice of this alternative healing method may vary. Generally, though, sound therapy is the idea that various frequencies of sound can interact with the energy frequencies of the body to promote healing and relieve symptoms and side effects. This type of therapy is often referred to as sound energy therapy to distinguish it from music therapy.
Music therapy is the use of music to address the physical, psychological, and emotional needs of patients. Music therapists are trained professionals who work with patients, getting to know them and their needs and choosing the music and therapeutic strategies that will help them feel better.
Sound Therapy for Cancer Patients
Sound energy therapy has not been widely studied, but there is some evidence that it can be beneficial for cancer patients because it promotes relaxation and reduces stress and anxiety. Typical instruments used to create sounds during sound therapy include Himalayan singing bowls or crystal bowls, tuning forks, and gongs. Some therapists may also use their own voices or recorded sounds of particular frequencies. Trained therapists are also able to find the instruments that work best for each individual patient.
The goal of the sounds is to put the patient into an altered state of consciousness, or in other words, a state of extremely deep relaxation, almost like hypnosis. Sound therapists believe that creating this state will help reduce stress, which in turn helps to heal the body and to improve overall wellness and promote healing.
Mesothelioma patients may turn to music therapy for the same reasons as sound energy therapy. There is evidence that music therapy can reduce stress, which can be powerful for patients going through cancer treatment. There has been more research into music therapy, and the results show that it can do more than just reduce stress.
A music therapist is a trained and licensed mental health professional who has been specifically trained to use music to help patients. A music therapy session may include patients listening to music, moving or dancing to music, or even singing with each other. Music therapy also often engages patients in the creative process and includes writing music and lyrics and playing instruments. It is important to note that patients do not need to have any experience with music or any inherent talent to participate and get the benefits of music therapy.
Evidence from research shows that music therapy can help relieve pain, elevate mood, combat depression, motivate patients to move more, especially when undergoing physical rehabilitation, improve sleep quality, lessen fear, and reduce muscle tension and induce relaxation. All of these benefits are great for cancer patients who are likely to have pain, to feel stressed and anxious, and even to have issues with mobility.
Cancer patients who have worked with music therapists have been able to better express negative emotions and to better communicate with others in general. They also report greater measures on quality of life scores as compared to patients who did not receive music therapy. In addition to all these benefits, many music therapy sessions are conducted in groups, which allows for greater socialization for patients and reduced isolation.
Stress and Cancer
It may seem like only a secondary benefit, relieving stress while battling mesothelioma, but reducing stress can have powerful effects and sound and music therapy can help achieve them. Stress is often considered to be psychological, but it is also physical. It is a feeling, but it impacts the body in many ways. Perhaps most importantly, stress depresses the immune system, which is needed to fight cancer and tumors. Reducing and eliminating stress for cancer patients is an important part of healing.
Working with a Sound or Music Therapist
Since music therapy is more established, and sometimes even provided in hospitals and medical centers with cancer treatment programs, it may be easier to find a music therapist to work with. There are professional organizations, such as the American Music Therapy Organization, which can help you find a trained and licensed professional. There are also sound therapy organizations, including the International Sound Therapy Association that can guide you to find sound therapists.
Check with your medical team and your treatment facility if you are interested in any type of sound therapy. Many traditional institutions are beginning to work with alternative practitioners and can provide you with references to reliable and professional therapists. Although it comes without the guidance of a professional, you can also find sound therapy programs online or on CDs for purchase that you can use at home.
Sound Energy May Treat Cancer
Most types of sound therapy or music therapy are not treatments for cancer. They are additional alternative therapies that patients may choose to use in order to feel better and to promote overall healing and wellness. They are not replacements for standard cancer treatment, like chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
There may be a new treatment, though, that actually uses sound energy in a powerful way to target and kill cancer cells. Medical researchers in the UK’s Institute of Cancer Research have been developing a treatment called high-intensity focused ultrasound, or HIFU. It involves using high-powered beams of ultrasound aimed at tumors to kill cancer cells. Ultrasound is a frequency of sound that is too high for humans to hear. It has long been used in medical imaging to create images of soft tissue.
Researchers are already using HIFU to successfully treat painful bone lesions in people with bone cancer. They hope and expect to expand the technology to be able to use it effectively with other types of cancer, maybe even mesothelioma one day. HIFU is non-invasive and does not seem to cause side effects. It does however have a major drawback, which is that it cannot be used to treat widespread cancer.
Sounds may be more powerful than we realize, with the ability to relax, de-stress, and even heal and reduce pain. There are no risks associated with sound therapy or music therapy administered by a trained and experienced professional. As with other alternative therapies, these are no substitute for cancer treatment, but they can be used in responsible ways to help relieve stress and anxiety and possibly to provide other useful benefits alongside traditional treatments.
Page Edited by Dave Foster
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