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New Neuroscience Research Explains Sound Therapy

October 12, 2012 | General, Neuroscience, Research

Exciting new research information is now coming to light, updating the science behind Sound Therapy and why it is so effective. There is much enthusiasm for the new book Polyvagal Theory by Neuroscience writer, Stephen Porges. I came across a link to some reviews of the book which give an excellent, comprehensive dialogue about the implications of this work. While Porges himself is restrained from making broad assertions about the practical implications of his theory for health, some of these are suggested by the reviewers. Here are some of my favourite quotes from the reviews. (You can read more via the link below.)Exciting new research information is now coming to light, updating the science behind Sound Therapy and why it is so effective. There is much enthusiasm for the new book Polyvagal Theory by Neuroscience writer, Stephen Porges. I came across a link to some reviews of the book which give an excellent, comprehensive dialogue about the implications of this work. While Porges himself is restrained from making broad assertions about the practical implications of his theory for health, some of these are suggested by the reviewers. Here are some of my favourite quotes from the reviews. (You can read more via the link below.)“The real role of the autonomic nervous system in human functioning has been neglected far too long. Perhaps that is because our culture likes to think everything that is important is subject to the will while the autonomic nervous system is not.”This touches on the beauty of Sound Therapy as being such an easy method of self development. As one happy customer said to me yesterday :“It’s like having an earobics instructor for your ear but it does the work for you. Our brain needs re-setting. Most of us are walking around with that happening. Its off-line from the stress. This kind of brings it back. It’s like a chiropractic adjustment for the brain – for the emotions.”

Another quote from a reviewer on Amazon:“The polyvagal theory is practically begging for implications to be drawn about the practical areas of lifestyle, physical exercises, interpersonal relations, social relations, psychotherapy, childrearing, family life etc… Porges manages to resist the temptation, perhaps because he feels a scientist should not go there. As another reviewer writes he does mention listening therapy, but if I am not mistaken, that was developed by Alfred Tomatis The Conscious Ear: My Life of Transformation Through Listening who Porges does not cite or credit, but that is a quibble.”As stated by some of the reviewers, it does help to have a medical or neuroscience background to read this book, which is not aimed at the lay person. For this reason, I have tried to summarise what Porges discoveries really mean for us in our use of Sound Therapy.

Here is my summary:When innervated, (stimulated by their nerves) the middle ear muscles, — stapedius and tensor tympani — (the former innervated via a branch of the facial nerve and the latter by a branch of the trigeminal nerve), tighten the ossicular chain, dampening the amplitude of the low-frequency components of sound that reach the inner ear (Porges, 2003). Hence, two functions impinge on the activity of these muscles; the attenuation  (loss or reduction) of low-frequency sound and; consequently, the extraction (and perception) of high-frequency sounds, such as those characteristic of the human voice.In simple terms The vagus nerve affects the function of the middle ear muscles, which  play a role in dampening low frequency sound and enabling us to focus on the human voice.

1. Stimulation with high frequency sounds enhances the ability of the cranial nerves to act on the middle ear muscles, enabling them to block out low frequencies.

2. This process also reduces stress and enhances communication and emotional adaptability.

3. This also calms thoughts and feelings (behaviour and physiology)

4. Therefore, improvement in vagal regulation enhances communication and emotional adaptability.http://soundtherapy.shocktest.com.au/wp-admin/themes.php Read more of the reviews of Porges work here


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