By Jomel Bajar, PT,DPT,MS
This day and age, we are proud of the advances made by modern medicine in slowly including Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) as part of health care. Licensed doctors, RN’s and Rehab Professionals are opening their eyes in incorporating CAM in their current practices. Even the world-renowned MD Anderson Cancer in Houston Texas has an “Integrative Medicine Program” that engages patients and their families to become active participants in improving their physical, psycho-spiritual and social health. Their ultimate goals are to optimize health, quality of life and clinical outcomes through personalized evidence-based clinical care, exceptional research and education.
Few weeks ago, Fesio hosted the first annual Southeast Texas yoga festival wherein CAM community gathered to educate and inform SETX of what they can offer. Different people from all walks of life attended the event. Some are new to CAM and some mastered it in incorporating it to their lifestyle. The majority of attendees have one thing in common, they have been searching for this kind of community and their minds are open to alternative therapies.
This COVID-19 pandemic is not in any way helping our general physical and psychological health too; in fact, it continuous to cause stress and anxiety to many. Our world is scary and finding ways to combat it is probably one of the most powerful weapons we have against these current challenges we are facing today. Nowadays, people tend to constantly find themselves in sympathetic overdrive. We have more stressors than any other time in
history; from our workload, from cellular phones overuse, vaccine arguments, political beliefs, and COVID precautions are all major stressors that is facing our society today. Everything is fast, everything sped up, there's all this mental pressure upon us to perform a certain way. Facebook, Instagram and other social media/news outlets may add as a stressor if we do not know how to use it effectively to our advantage. Learning to determine which activities are positively serving our needs and making us live the life we intend to live is very important at this day and age. It may be wise to turn our TV off, put our phone away; get outside and be creative. Let us use this pandemic as an opportunity to find that thing that we have always wanted to do or revisit something we love to do.
One modality that increased my interest during the yoga festival is the sound bath. Although, Fesio employs music and vibration to achieve a higher level of relaxation as a part of the overall sensory experience, sound bath is pure auditory-vibrational perceptive experience. Sound and vibration can have a profound effect to people who are experiencing chronic emotional or physical ailments. The basic definition of a sound bath would be an event where somebody plays instruments and people relax, listen, and have an experience of deeper relaxation. The duration varies and the instruments being used also varies. Some uses Tibetan bowls, gongs, crystal bowls, tuning fork, or plane meditative sounds. Participants on this kind of therapeutic session relates that using sound to complement mindfulness is somehow easier than just telling someone to be quietly focus on their breath or focus on something else you cannot focus. The sound and vibrations fills the whole room and it draws you in your mind just automatically focuses on them and then you also get the benefit of how the sound is affecting your brain and then in turn your body starts to relax. You are simply just immersed in these sounds. Your brain state changes. Your nervous system reacts, the body and the mind relax and assist attendees to turns into their inner experience.
It’s an interesting part of the journey of discover about the impact that sound can have on people. We now know that vibrational modalities work at a cellular level, and we can use it to positively affect people's health. In the last decade, sound baths have become a growing outlet to de-stress and decompress. Now we're starting to see an explosion of its usage. A brave new world of using vibrations and transformative audio is revolutionizing how we treat mental health physical disease and emotional trauma. People who need to recharge, recenter, and re-balance are seeking alternative therapies and they are receiving good results with sound bath. The sound has been used for a long time in helping heal people. In medicine, one of the most common imaging diagnostic techniques is ultrasound. There is also therapeutic ultrasound that we can use for muscle pains, spasms, and swelling. Recently, research supported how our brains have an inherent response to sound, music, and vibration. Sound bath offers deep relaxation and sense of clarity to people that allows themselves to be open and vulnerable while the sound energy slowly unfolds its positive effects on them. There are lots of reasons why people come and receives sessions; probably number one is that they are really stressed out and they are looking for a way to de-stress. They want to go into it into a relaxed state that they can gain more clarity or feel a little bit better. We are bombarded with so much negativity all the time that it is hard to stay balanced. We can start incorporating into our lives the practice of mindfulness and sound to bring us back into balance and live our life again. Being mindful helps us to go deep within and be at one with the present moment. At Fesio, we assist our clients to go deeper within, focus onto the present moment and let that vibrational energy and sounds do the deeper healing. Combining the sounds and vibration with our focused intention to get better and be in the present moment creates an opportunity for healing to occur. Some Fe-SiO clients able to express their emotions through crying as a form of release which they relate as tears of joy. They say that it brought them to a state of feeling blessed and gratefulness during their session. Creating a sacred space and allowing ourselves to intentionally have time to heal will help us transform our thoughts, emotions, and physical symptoms. Fesio offers that opportunity to experience it. I think that is one of the great things about a place like Fesio and sound therapy; you have permission in that sacred space to be serene and be kind to yourself and to surrender your emotions. By doing so, we are allowing our body to achieve a higher state of relaxation and giving it a chance to turn-on its own healing abilities.
It's important that we find CAM therapies that will work for us. Some of us may find it helpful and enjoyable to be surrounded by singing Tibetan bowls and some may prefer gongs or crystals; the key is sound energy can be powerfully effective. I have a feeling that CAM therapies will be mainstream part of medicine. For those who are skeptics about CAM therapies, I would say what do you have to lose when you come and lay there in a group of people experiencing the sounds and the serenity; at least you can say how it feel afterwards. If you hate it, you never have to go back, if you get something out of it then you are going to want to go back.
Complementary, Alternative & Integrative Medicine: MD ANDERSON CANCER CENTER