Throughout human history, different cultures used their senses to try and utilize the concept of “mind over matter”, or influencing our mind for the greater good of our body. These senses are touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste. It is common knowledge among those with Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy (NVP) ranging from mild morning sickness to the extreme Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) that each of these senses can trigger hours, days or even months of misery. The good news is that we can potentially use these senses to instead improve the symptoms of HG instead of worsen them.
This blog focuses on the sense of hearing, the one most often ignored when dealing with nausea and vomiting. A special kind of music, called binaural beats is now being tested under scientific conditions after years of anecdotal evidence. According to neuroscientists, our brains produce different waves throughout the day, called alpha, beta, gamma, delta and theta, depending on the size. Each wave is produced to support different specific activities throughout the day. The theta waves are longer and help us with relaxation, among other things. According to a self-proclaimed brainwave audio expert, entering the theta state will help you lower stress hormones and inflammatory proteins and help your body build better immunity too. Binaural Beats work on these theta waves to reach specific points in the brain that control nausea. According to Medical News Today, you must use a stereo sound system or headset, as the waves are different for each ear. The binaural beat, the sound that makes it to the brain, is actually the difference in the frequency of waves that enter through the left and right ears. In fact, noise-cancelling headsets are preferred.
Music preferences are as unique as each pregnancy. Throughout much of history, music has been used to relax, motivate, distract and hopefully, for a moment at least, bring our mind to another place. According to Dr. Michael H. Thaut, a neuroscientist at the University of Toronto, “Not until the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries were the scientific foundations of medicine established, which allowed the foundations of music in therapy to progress from no science to soft science and most recently to actual brain science.” https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0079612314000260. Science is now starting to show that it is not only belief patterns, but also outside influences like music, that can help during illnesses, including decreasing nausea.
Although there are no studies specifically designed using theta waves to help with hyperemesis gravidarum, studies relating to the reduction of nausea and vomiting for other conditions look promising. These also indicate a potential for binaural beats to possibly help with medical conditions including pain and anxiety. According to this article in HealthLine, which asked the question, “Do Binaural Beats have Health Benefits?”, the conclusion was the studies support the statement that they do. In addition to the studies in the article here are even more positive results:
- One study in Sao Paulo that looked at the effects of using music to reduce nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy resulted in positive outcomes. “Patients reported disbelief in music in relieving nausea and vomiting before the sessions, yet reported relief after them. It was concluded that there was a statistically significant reduction of the symptoms nausea and vomiting after the musical experiences.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25271590
- When guided imagery with theta music was tested in end stage cancer patients who had trouble breathing, 90% said it helped improve their breathing. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1099800409347556
- This study of 189 patients used “meditation music” along with spinal anesthesia during cesarean sections. This results showed “both intraoperative meditation music groups had statistically significant less postoperative pain and anxiety and a better overall psychological wellbeing as compared to the control.”https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6157226/
Want to give binaural beats a try? Here are some options:
- Dani’s Dispensary. Download the track titled Spa Music from this blog’s store. These tracks were written by Grammy nominated songwriter Tommy Marolda and include subliminal messages specifically written for women with HG. According to Mr. Marolda, the music here is designed to allow the brain to be more receptive to subliminal suggestions related to nausea and feelings of anxiety, so be sure to download the sheet with the subliminal messages too! Until June 30, 2020, use the code “Hg100%OFF” for a free music download. https://hgpharmacist.com/product/spa-treatment-music/
- Youtube. Put binaural beats for nausea into the search bar and try one of the results.
- Nevasic app. I was surprised to find a British company has an app based on this science. I have no affiliation with this company and do not know anyone who has tried it, but if you’d like, go to Google Play or the Apple store and give it a try for $13.99.
If you’re looking for a non-pharmacological way to add to your HG treatment plan, consider trying binaural beats specifically designed to combat nausea and vomiting. If you message me your results, I’ll keep track and publish the informal results: firstname.lastname@example.org