Scientists Use Light and Sound to Reduce Pain — Pain News Network – November 03, 2016 By Pat Anson, Editor
Here’s a refreshingly new direction for pain treatment that also proves the significance of what some have long described as the “vibrations” or “energy flow” of the body.
Our brain and body are always emitting waves of energy, so it makes sense to me that their function might be affected by certain frequencies, possibly even in the audible or visual spectrum.
British researchers have found that pain can be significantly reduced if the brain if “tuned in” to a particular frequency, a discovery that could potentially lead to new visual and sound therapies to treat chronic and acute pain.
“This is very exciting because it provides a potentially new, simple and safe therapy that can now be trialed in patients,” said Professor Anthony Jones, director of the University of Manchester Pain Consortium
Jones and his colleagues say nerve cells in different parts of the brain communicate with each other using different frequencies.
Nerves in the front of the brain associated with a placebo analgesic effect are tuned in at 9-12 cycles per second, and apparently use that frequency to influence how other parts of the brain process pain
To test their theory, researchers had 64 healthy volunteers wear goggles and headphones, and exposed them to different flashing lights and sounds while heat pain was induced with a laser on the back of their arms.
The volunteers who were exposed to an alpha frequency at 9-12 cycles felt significantly less pain than those who were exposed to other light and sound levels.
“This study provides new evidence that visual and auditory entrainment in the alpha range can influence the perception of acute pain independently of arousal and negative emotional influences,” the researchers said
“Overall, visual entrainment produced a larger effect than auditory entrainment in the mid- and lower alpha frequencies.
This provides further evidence that external stimulation can modulate pain perception and requires further study to ascertain its relevance to clinical pain states.”
Further studies are needed to test the effectiveness of alpha wave therapy in patients with different pain conditions
The study, which was self-funded as part of a PhD project, is being published in the European Journal of Pain.