Can music combined with vibration help relieve pain? That’s what this 2015 study looks at. Other studies have shown that music can improve pain and symptoms of fibromyalgia, but this study takes it a bit further.
This 2015 study combined combined music with vibration via acupuncture to evaluate what results the combination of music and vibration might have on fibromyalgia symptoms.
120 Fibromyalgia patients took part in this study in one of four groups.
- Group 1: Music only (listened to sequences of Bach) – transducers were affixed but no vibration was created, music was played through the headphones.
- Group 2: Vibration only (vibratory stimuli via acupuncture) – vibration was applied via acupuncture, but no music was played.
- Group 3: Complete (both music and vibration) – vibration was applied through transducers and binaural music was played through the headphones
- Group 4: Control (no treatment) – they wore headphones and had transducers affixed to their skin, but no stimulation or music was played.
Patients each went through five sessions on alternating days. Assessments were made prior to the first session and 20 days following the last session, using the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ) and the Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ). For those who received vibration, the vibration was matched to the music frequency.
Comparison of the FIQ scores indicated that there were not significant differences between groups either before or after treatment. All groups (including the control) saw improvement on their FIQ scores. While the music and vibration group saw improvements that were greater than the control group, the Complete group saw the greatest improvement. Because the scores were not significantly different, there is an argument to be made for the placebo effect. However, there was a significant improvement in the HAQ scores for the Complete group indicating that music plus vibration can improve overall health and Fibromyalgia symptoms.Music and Vibration improve health scores for Fibromyalgia patients. Click To Tweet
This was a complicated study that combined several elements – music, binaural beats, acupuncture, and vibration. It’s possible that this study was too complex and that the variables should be examined independently to determine what effects, if any, they actually have.
Studies have found that acupuncture and music do improve Fibromyalgia symptoms, separately. Vibration and binaural beats should also be examined independently, to determine what effects are there before combining these aspects together to look for combined effects.
The study may have failed to create an accurate control group. Simply sitting calmly with headphones on (as the control group did for 30 minutes/day) could be akin to meditation, which has already been shown to reduce pain.
In my opinion, this wasn’t a very good study. But, it does give us more things to look at and try. Spending 30 minutes simply resting with binaural beats playing may help relax us enough to reduce our symptoms. Adding acupuncture to our treatment options is already known to help improve our symptoms. Any little thing that is helpful helps.
- Can music reduce pain?
- Alternative Treatments: Acupuncture
- Alternative Treatments for Fibromyalgia
- Brain Scans Show that Meditation Can Reduce Sensation of Pain