It’s 2 AM. You’re exhausted, but like many nights before, sleep won’t come. The stress of the job is overwhelming, and you lie awake thinking of this and that. Small body aches in the neck and shoulders have become chronic. You’ve tried supplements, massage, read books, and now wondering what’s next? Is there any effective help left that won’t cause side effects or addiction?
Stress is a common part of daily life. According to the American Institute of Stress, 40% of U.S. workers admitted to experiencing stress on the job and described their job to be “very” or “extremely” stressful. The numbers have likely sky-rocketed during these difficult times. Almost as common as stress, are the buzz words self-care and wellness. These days there are a variety of mind-body practices aimed at helping one achieve a greater sense of balance and wellbeing. Don’t look far to find one or more variations of massage therapy, yoga, meditation, and even immersive nature activities. Perhaps you’ve tried one or two, or even incorporate them into your daily life. But have you tried VST? Vibrational Sound Therapy or VST, is a lesser-known, very effective mind-body practice which much like its name, uses sound and vibration for healing.
What is VST and how is it different?
VST is a modern variation of the ancient practice of sound therapy. For centuries, civilizations across the globe have used music, sound, and vibration for healing. This includes many ancient tribes, indigenous peoples, and healers. Tools vary from drums, flutes, chimes, and even the human voice. In a VST session, you will lie comfortably on the floor or a massage table while practitioners use specially crafted Himalayan-style singing bowls near or in contact with the body. The bowls are struck or sung to produce soothing vibration and ambient tones. The energy produced by the sound and vibration is not only heard by the ears but is experienced by every cell in our body. Our bodies are made of around 65% water and sound waves travel faster and more effectively in liquids than in air, and even more effectively in solids. Therefore, when you immerse yourself in a VST experience, you are experiencing the effects at a profound level, rapidly inducing the body’s natural relaxation response.
VST and the Relaxation Response
When a person encounters stressful situations (real or imagined), we interpret it as a threat. It naturally triggers the body’s stress response otherwise known as “fight or flight” response. The nervous system responds by releasing a flood of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Our senses are heightened. The breath becomes quick, the heart beats faster, and blood pressure rises. This all designed to help us deal with threats to our survival. Unfortunately, unchecked chronic stress can eventually contribute to numerous health problems such as chronic disease and chronic pain.
VST is a great way to quickly activate the body’s natural relaxation response. During VST, our physiology immediately changes in a variety of positive ways. Our breath slows down, our blood pressure and heart rate lower. Muscle tension releases. The abnormal production of stress hormones is re-regulated so we are brought back into balance. Depending on your needs and your practitioner’s skill level, other techniques may be incorporated to enhance relaxation even more. A number of vibrational sound therapy practitioners combine the use of essential oils, breathwork, or guided meditation in their practice.
A natural alternative for stress and overall health and wellness
VST can rapidly reduce the stress response allowing for the immune system to function at its best. And when your immune system is functioning at its best, you have a much better chance at avoiding disease and conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.
Ultimately, if stress and pain are preventing you from living your best life, then it’s critical to identify any positive methods that are effective for you. If you’ve tried other avenues without success, VST might be the alternative solution best suited for you…It could even be the last one you’ll ever need!