Research on Vibroacoustic Therapy

Anecdotal reports and case study results on the effects of VAT are numerous, but there is less evidence and research results involving larger scale studies. The effects and benefits of VAT have been originally linked to high muscle tone and reduction in spasticity.

When we synthesize and evaluate VAT studies, we can easily recognize that there is still, after 30 years, a huge need for both basic research related to the effect of low-frequency sound vibration on the human body and mind, as well as more carefully planned applied studies of VAT for promising client groups. Clinical experiences and anecdotal knowledge show that VAT seems to offer remarkable benefits for several conditions. These clinical target groups include, for example, Fibromyalgia patients, those suffering from stress-related symptoms such as insomnia, and women with menstrual pain or menopause symptoms. Such symptoms have been treated successfully by using VAT, but large-scale, well-designed, and carefully conducted studies are still missing. The aforementioned symptoms incur societal expenses, as well as a decrease work efficiency or through long-term sick leave, additionally resulting in individual suffering and a decrease in quality of life.

The typical shortcomings in most studies relates to design, small sample sizes, and poorly described interventions which are not based on best clinical practices, as well as the inability to find applicable and sufficiently sensitive measurement tools. Future research should focus more on improving the practices and reporting of VAT, and studying the effects of the most relevant clinical interventions and procedures for the clinical groups which seem to benefit most from this particular intervention. Special attention should also be given to the measurement tools used in VAT studies.

One positive role model in the application and recording of VAT for various client groups is Seinäjoki Hospital, South Ostrobothnia. VAT has been used there for more than a decade with many impressive outcomes for various client groups. Patients experiences are systematically recorded and this has served as an invaluable collection showing the efficacy of the treatment. This long-term project has shown that the constant recording of patient outcomes can provide great opportunities for both developing the intervention itself, and for collecting clinical data within the everyday clinical work without a significant increase in workload.Exciting developments are taking place in this very location to implement a randomised controlled trial to elucidate the exact outcomes achieved by using VAT for chronic pain relief.

An article on the clinical practice, research and training in VAT written by two of the Executive board members, PhD Marko Punkanen and PhD Esa Ala-Ruona, can be found here: http://mmd.iammonline.com/index.php/musmed/article/view/MMD-2012-4-3-2