Study of vibroacoustic Tibetan massage effectiveness to reduce anxiety level

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The content of this publication is for general information and cannot replace the practical consultation given by a specialist. The publication should not be used as a textbook on medicine, as well as for the purpose of diagnosing or treating any kind of disease states and their complications.

All medical problems should be referred to a qualified physician immediately. The publisher and the authors of the publication are not liable or responsible to any person or entity for any health damage caused or alleged to be caused as a result of withholding from the traditional medical treatment or employing self-treatment based on the information contained therein. The nature of this article is exploratory. Its aim is to share author’s experience and define the hypotheses and problems related to the present day application of Tibetan Singing Bowls’ (TSB), as well as to encourage the study of TSBs’ impact on the human body.


The use of vibroacoustic Tibetan massage to reduce anxiety symptoms (according to the Spielberger test and Tsung’s self-evaluation scale) in 33 investigated patients was positively effective immediately after one session (p <0.05).


vibroacoustic massage, Tibetan singing bowls, psychological rehabilitation, psychocorrection, prevention, anxiety symptoms, reactive anxiety


Development and scientific substantiation of new health-saving technologies that promote the activation of reserve and adaptive capabilities of the organism, correction of the diseases development risk factors, prevention of common somatic diseases complications constitute the main platform for scientific research in the field of restorative medicine (Olenskaya, 2015, Shusharjan, 2013).

At the same time, modern data from epidemiological studies show significant prevalence of anxiety symptoms, both in medical and psychological practice (Neznanov, Martynikhin & Mosolov, 2017).

In our country, the high prevalence of anxiety-depressive disorders was demonstrated by the epidemiological study COMPASS (clinical and epidemiological program for the study of depression in the practice of GPs), the results of which showed that 45.9% of the outpatient department patients were diagnosed with depressive disorders. In most cases, depression is associated with anxiety, so in practice, a doctor has to deal with anxiety-depressive disorder (ADD) in a particular patient.

According to epidemiological data, anxiety disorders are the most common group of psychiatric disorders in the world. For example, in the meta-analysis of epidemiological studies conducted around the world over the past 30 years, the average estimate of anxiety disorders prevalence was higher than that of other psychiatric disorders (including affective disorders and addictions) with a prevalence of 6.7% in the population during the year and 12.9% during life (Peskovets, Evsyukov, 2016). Unfortunately, there are no reliable epidemiological data about the prevalence of anxiety disorders in the Russian Federation. According to the Ministry of Health, in 2013, the number of patients in psychiatric care institutions during the year with neurotic, stress-related and somatoform disorders (the entire chapter F4 of ICD-10) was only 0.3% of the population. It can be assumed that the true prevalence of anxiety disorders in Russia is several dozen times higher than the number of cases recorded by the psychiatric service. However, it is known that inopportune and / or inadequate care for people with anxiety disorders leads to the decrease in the quality of their life and work capacity, development of psychosomatic diseases, unfavorable dynamics of present somatic diseases, which entails serious costs for the public health and economy of the country.

In recent decades, anxiety disorders have been actively studied, a large body of scientific data on their genesis, clinical manifestations and effective therapies has been accumulated, and according to a global survey of psychiatrists conducted by the World Psychiatric Association (WPA) and the World Health Organization (WHO), diagnoses of anxiety disorders are among the most commonly used diagnostic headings by psychiatrists around the world. Moreover, the working group for the preparation of the 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) proposes to single out of the chapter F4 “Neurotic, stress-related and somatoform disorders”, existing in ICD-10, an independent chapter “Anxiety and fear-related disorders”, which would include generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder (PR), agoraphobia, specific phobias and social phobia, and separately an independent chapter “Disorders directly related to stress” (adaptation disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, etc.) (Shalnova, 2014).

National studies in several countries have shown that mental disorders are widespread and they are a significant cause of disability. Nevertheless, a significant number of specialized medical care lack cases was revealed, even with serious enough disorders. In developed countries, treatment was not provided in 36—50% of serious cases last year, whereas in developing countries the situation was even worse: 76—86% of cases remained untreated. It was proposed to expand treatment services to reduce the incidence and consequences of mental disorders. The problem of “lack of treatment” is so serious that the World Health Report 2001 has issued ten recommendations for its elimination, which include ensuring availability of psychiatric care at the primary care level, psychotropic drugs, and mental health specialist’s professional development. According to the modeling data, the expansion of evidence-based treatment will reduce the prevalence of mental disorders and provide an economic investment return.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 50% of the world’s population suffer from mental disorders at some period of their lives. The results of Psychological Disorders in Primary Care study show that the most common mental disorders in general practice include depression and anxiety disorders. According to experts from WHO (2001), by 2020, depression will take the second place among the causes of disability and mortality of the world population.

According to the literature, the prevalence of anxiety-depressive disorders in the population of economically developed countries in Europe and the US reaches 10% (Jorm, 2017), at least one episode of anxiety disorders is registered in 12—27% of Europe’s population, and in persons with somatic pathology, anxiety-depressive disorders occur 2—3 times more often than in the general population.

Most studies, systematic reviews and meta-analyzes provide consistent evidence that depression is an independent risk factor for developing chronic non-infectious diseases.

In foreign and domestic studies, including official statistics, there is a wide range of data on the prevalence of mental disorders and their subclinical conditions, which is associated with the difficulties of conducting epidemiological studies and the complexity of statistical analysis. In addition, studies revealed insufficient training of therapists, cardiologists and other specialists in the field of somatic diseases in the context of diagnosing mental disorders. According to the literature, in patients observed in outpatient clinics, clinical and subclinical state of anxiety was recorded in 20 to 80% of cases, depression — in 20 to 60% and in 50—80% of cases these conditions are not detected by “somatic” doctors (Shalnova, 2014).

The use of subjective psychometric tests allows to minimize the costs of screening possible mental disorders among the population, while interpreting the results obtained does not require special knowledge from GPs and psychologists.

Literature Review

Such method of restorative medicine, like vibroacoustic therapy — is a relatively new drugless method, using the sound of audible range as a source of mechanical vibrations directly transmitted to the human body. This type of massage, given by contact or non-contact method, with the use of “Tibetan singing bowl” (TSB), has a complex sanative physiological effect on cardiovascular, lymphatic, vegetative systems and on the emotional condition of a person. Vibroacoustic massage with singing bowls (VAMSB) allows to affect individual parts of the body, central and peripheral nervous system, tissues and organ systems separately, according to special technology (Anisimov, Karbysheva, 2012; Anisimov, Karbysheva, Kuzmina, Brilkov, Lomzhina, 2015).

Vibromechanical stimulation, focused on medical-rehabilitation, psycho-corrective and sports-improving purposes, has been used in various ways for more than 80 years.

Periodic oscillatory movements, which cause a kind of shaking sensation in a person, are usually called vibrations. The notion of “vibration” is synonymous with the notion of “mechanical oscillation.” Any living system from cellular organelles (nucleus, chromosomes) to tissue cells (erythrocytes, capillaries) is characterized by the presence of high-frequency mechanical vibrations (ultrasound — hyper sound). This makes it possible to consider vibrational process as one of the main manifestations of life. Experimental facts indicate that mechanical vibrations participated in the creation of biological structures at the beginning of life origin. Vibrational processes accompany life at different stages of its organization. They are a constantly acting factor on our planet and are observed in all spheres. The range of these vibrations extends from infrasound to ultrasound, and their intensity varies from the barely perceptible by a human ear to intensities capable of destroying fortresses. The action of mechanical vibrations under certain conditions is necessary for a living organism, the absence of sound stimuli disturbs nervous activity. For example, variations in the atmospheric acoustic noise of very low frequency are an environmentally significant factor. Infrasound vibrations may be attributed to the main rhythm-setting factors of the environment, since they have seasonal-diurnal, perennial variations (Krikuha, Sergievich, 2015; Paine, 2016; Black; Rodin; Zimmermann, 2017; Cho, 2017).

It is found that there is a direct transformation of the energy of cosmic origin (electro-magnetic radiation) into intense acoustic vibrations of the atmosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere. These acoustic vibrations may be in different ranges — from audible sounds to acoustic-gravitational waves.

Sound waves, in their turn, may be accompanied by electromagnetic radiation. Due to synergism, one can expect that the combined acoustic and electromagnetic effects on biological objects are much stronger than the effects of each of these phenomena separately.

Vibration sensitivity belongs to the most ancient types of sensitivity. It is obvious, that it was on its basis that the separation of auditory and tactile sensations took place.

Vibration sensitivity is one of the most global forms of reflecting the connections of the human body with the most diverse environmental influences. In poorly hearing and deaf people, vibration sensitivity replaces hearing (Timofeev, 2005, Greenberg, 2014, Sagaidak, Tsikunov, 2016).

Nervous cells, as well as muscular fibers, are able to perceive sound stimulations in the audible range of sound spectrum with frequencies of 200—1000 Hz directly, without the participation of hearing organs. The cells of different human organs, including nervous cells, are sensitive to sound vibrations of a similar frequency, especially in the frequency range to which the human ear is most susceptible.

Disorders of vibration sensitivity depend on the condition of the entire brain cortex. That is why significant fluctuations in sensitivity to the same frequency are observed not only in different persons, but also in the same person studied by different researchers; depending on the time of a day, fatigue, temperature fluctuations, etc. Vibration receptors are present in all tissues of the human body, but they are different in number. Basically, they are located in zones that are evolutionarily the most adapted for perceiving information related to mechanical action: hands, feet soles, etc. Large clusters of vibration receptors are present in larynx area, in oral and nasal areas, in paranasal sinuses.

Massage can be one of vibration form. It is known that vibrating massage can normalize cortical-subcortical relationships, improve the functional condition of endocrine system, and increase the lability of nerve centers. It has a pronounced trophic, analgesic, antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory effect. It accelerates the processes of regeneration and repair, including nervous fibers, contributes to the recovery of work capacity of patients, promotes the normalization of the adaptive-trophic function of the organism. For example, the course of lumbar region vibromassage favorably affects the repair processes of injured sciatic or ulnar nerves (Sagaidak, Shilko, 2010, Barrass, 2016); Gelding, Sun, 2018).

Positive effect of vibromassage in the treatment of patients with neurological manifestations of osteochondrosis was established. Thus, the use of vibration was successful in the treatment of a number of diseases: neurological manifestations of spine osteochondrosis, traumatic injuries of the extremities nerve trunks, infantile cerebral paralysis, gynecological, bronchopulmonary and other diseases.

Positive results with the use of vibration therapy were also obtained in the treatment of endarteritis, scoliosis, vibropuncturing in certain diseases; when using vibration shaking shoes after a stroke for the treatment of blood circulation disorders. The effect of vibration therapy is confirmed by the persistence and duration of the achieved results for a long time.

The effect of vibration on the body is accompanied by certain vasomotor reactions, a change in the bioelectrical activity of the muscles. Positive effect of short-term daily vibration is noted, which is expressed in the increase of muscle strength, improvement of their blood supply, acceleration of wound healing, which persists for several days after the vibration therapy has been stopped.

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