Friday, January 2, 2009
Brainwave Music Therapy
Brainwave 'Music' May Soothe a Troubled Psyche
Fox News.com - April 26, 2006
by Catherine Donaldson-Evans
An intriguing kind of treatment is available for those suffering from anxiety, insomnia or attention deficit disorder. With Brain Music Therapy (BMT) a person's brain waves are recorded via EEG and converted into piano music on a CD. The patient listens to their own brain waves in musical form and the brain is quieted to the point of alleviating stress, attention deficit disorder and promoting sleep. A separate CD of energy boosting sound waves through music is also available with the overall cost coming in at $550. After three months the process should be re-done as brain waves change as a result of the treatment. Thereafter, the CDs should be good for about four years.
Brain Music Therapy is a form of neurobiofeedback and treats the brain through entrainment, teaching it to retrain itself with its own brain waves. The treatment was pioneered in Russian and was brought to the U.S. by New York City Dr. Galina Mindlin.
A similar treatment is called Holosync Audio Technology in which various tones and sounds calm the brain and get the two sides of the brain working together. Some problems such as depression, anxiety, anger and substance abuse have been shown to be alleviated through this treatment. Caution must be used not to overuse the CDs as listening too frequently can over-stimulate the listener.
As of 2006, when this article was written, there was no empirical evidence of the effectiveness of either of these treatments. Patients did seem to find relief but, other than one clinical study which showed that insomnia suffers did benefit and indicated that therapy may help anxiety and depression sufferers, results from ongoing studies were still pending.
This all sounded very promising to me. Listening to CDs of brain wave music sounds like a much better way to overcome issues that by taking drugs. I wondered what research had been done in the two and a half years since the article was written so I looked online to see what I could find that had been written about BMT more recently. See below.
Is Brain Music Snake Oil?
January 6, 2008
Brain Music Video:
Sleep-deprived Houstonians are listening to their brain music to help them catch their Z's.
Video by Johnny Hanson and Alexis Grant
Brain Music provided by Ann Byrd
The video above shows a subject having her brain waves recorded by EEG. She discusses her depression and hopes for assistance through BMT.
As of January 2008, a clinic in Houston had started to use BMT. The director of the sleep centre at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center had doubts about the treatment. He said "When I put on my science hat, I'm skeptical. When I put on my clinical hat, I'll do anything that works."
Teen Autism - Brain Wave Therapy: Update
November 11, 2008
Nigel is a 14 year boy with autism. He had a great deal of difficulty getting to sleep at night and was consequently groggy and irritable. After using a BMT CD with Delta brain wave frequencies (those governing healing and sleep) there was a profound difference in his ability to fall asleep more quickly. He was thus able to get up more easily, was more alert and functioned better generally. Because of Nigel's sensitive hearing he listens to the CD via speakers rather than through headphones.
Ending Anxiety with BMT? Q & A
Ask Dr. Weil - December 22, 2008
Andrew Weil, M.D.
Someone wished to stop taking anti-anxiety medication to avoid potential side effects and asked Dr. Weil if he would recommend BMT as an alternate treatment for anxiety and depression considering the approximate cost of $500. Weil answered that it was unclear how a musical interpretation of an EEG would be helpful. He said he was aware of only a few published studies on the subject and recommended instead, at a fraction of the cost, "Breathing: the Master Key to Self-Healing", a method of accessing the autonomic nervous system through breath work.
There is still some skepticism in the medical profession about the positive effects of BMT although clinically, many people do seem to have found relief from using it. In time, research will no doubt prove or refute the effectiveness of BMT but until the results of studies become available, it seems to me that, if the cost were not prohibitive, it would definitely be worth trying it to avoid having to rely upon drugs.