A reader of this blog reminded me of the fact that I have so far not written anything about VAT (thanks Kathryn) – no, not ‘value added tax’ but Vibroacoustic Sound Therapy. This so-called alternative therapy (SCAM) uses sound and vibrations and is promoted mainly for:
- reducing stress,
- relieving pain,
- improving sleep,
- ‘restoring balance’ (bank balance of the therapist?),
- and enhancing the quality of life.
The VAT frequencies range between 30Hz and 120Hz and are applied directly to the body through a treatment table topped with a water-filled mattress. If you go on the Internet, you will find that there are lots of devices you can buy, if you want to do the therapy at home.
Like so many other SCAMs, VAT is claimed to work with resonant frequency whereby our cells copy vibrations they are exposed to. VAT is said to introduce the healthy vibration of cells into the body. This results in a healthy resonant response in our cells, VAT-proponents claim. Over 100 customized frequencies can be employed to address specific health problems.
Yes, you are right: this is about as genuine as a £4 note.
Those practitioners offering VAT sessions claim that the best results occur with cumulative sessions for between 10 – 12 weeks and recommend a minimum treatment schedule of 8 weeks for the majority of cases, either once or twice per week. In view of the fact that these would-be healthcare professionals want to make a living, this seems almost modest, in my view. But, as they are keen to point out, more chronic conditions require 2-3 times per week.
I found plenty of statements arguing that VAT is solidly evidence-based. However, when I searched for it, I failed to locate anything other than uncontrolled studies, pilot studies and promotional articles of VAT. I admit that I did not spend much time looking (it somehow did not seem worth the effort); it is therefore possible that I missed the definitive RCT of VAT. If someone knows of a piece of conclusive evidence, I’d be most thankful to learn about it.
Under the heading ‘Who should not receive vibroacoustic therapy?’ one VAT practitioner listed several contra-indications for VAT:
• Individuals with Pacemakers
• People with very low blood pressure
• People with a DVT, bleeding disorder, or recent surgery
• Individuals who have had a recent psychotic episode
To this list, I would urgently add this: individuals who are capable of critical thinking!!!