Certain types of music and sound waves are increasingly advocated as “sounds to help you sleep.” Some therapies have more credence than others in the medical community—but in the end, no one but you can determine what helps you get to sleep. Vibroacoustic therapy is one therapeutic form that’s gaining traction as a viable alternative medical therapy. But can it help you sleep?
What is Vibroacoustic Therapy?
Vibroacoustic therapy, or VA therapy, applies the physical vibrations of sound waves in the spectrum heard by human ears directly to the body. The practice usually places speakers or transducers in a mat, mattress, beanbag, or other soft furniture on which the subject reclines.
Proponents claim that VA therapy can manage main, reduce medical symptoms, relieve anxiety, improve overall health, and even improve the body’s response to physical therapy. People are drawn to VA therapy because it is non-invasive, doesn’t involve drugs or medicines, and can be administered in a relaxing environment.
Does It Work?
Overall, the scientific community is still inquisitive about the effectiveness of VA therapy—but pilot studies are promising. Work with severely handicapped children has indicated a measurable decrease in muscle tension, especially important in cases of enhanced muscle spasticity (cerebral palsy patients, for example).
Studies have also shown improved recovery times after heart surgery, anxiety during medical procedures, and statistically significant pain management. Still, a number of studies summarized by J. Hooper in 2002 suggested that for some individuals, VA therapy is ineffective or only as effective as other currently marketed therapies.
Towards a Vibroacoustic Sleep Therapy
There is some thought that VA therapy can improve a person’s sleep patterns and even counteract diagnosed sleep disorders. A Chinese study has shown a statistically significant improvement in sleep disturbance and daytime function with the use of VA therapy.
The bottom line? Don’t go out and spend thousands on an un-tested vibroacoustic bed that might not even be comfortable for you. But if you’re curious, experiment with more affordable VA options and take the time to find out what works best for you. If the mix of relaxing music and calming rhythmic vibration helps you drift off, you’ve found the therapy you need.