Is flashing light/photic stimulation with sonic stim. to change brain waves a legit therapy???

et_al at et_al at
Sat Apr 14 02:48:41 EST 2001

On Fri, 13 Apr 2001 06:32:47 GMT, anxiety man
<saouglubsjb at> wrote:

>I hope I described this therapy correctly and I hope someone can answer
>my question.....
>I opted to see a practitioner of holistic medicine for my anxiety
>problems.... He is a family friend and someone my father trusts so I
>decided to try it out.
>What he does is:
>a) puts glasses on me that flash at certain intervals (believe this is
>called "photic stimulation")
>b) I wear headphones and listen to sounds that are supposed to affect my
>c) he acts as a hypnotherapist while this is going on
>Is this treatment effective???
>Is it safe????
>I have a rather intense case of anxiety in which I manifest physical
>symptoms, if you wanted to know.
>The idea of this was to make me able to control my brainwaves or
>something like that, so as to be able to be calm and anxiety free.
>I was concerned that #1 - this is "quackery" and doesn't work or #2 - i
>could damage myself by looking at the flashing lights (altho my eyes are
>Anyone know if this therapy is legit????
>Please email me if you can answer.
>thank you,

Anxiety disorders are strange "beasts" that can sometimes respond to
the most unlikely "treatments."  At least for a while.  They are
usually chronic conditions that wax and wane without any apparent
rhythm and can go into remission at any time.

However, while what you've described probably won't harm you, it is
not a proven treatment.  Hypnosis, and I think that this is really
what this is, with the glasses etc being mostly for effect,  has not
proven to be a great treatment. Very few have reported any long term
(more than a few weeks, if that) benefit.  

But who know!  The only likely damage is to the thickness of your
wallet, so.......

The only non medication treatment that has a good track record, at
least in the short to medium term,  is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.
This site provides a lot of information:

BTW-have you seen a doctor about your anxiety. Some organic
illnesses can produce anxiety, so you should have a full medical
including the full range of blood tests (liver function, thyroid
etc). Only if these rule out organic disease should a diagnosis of
anxiety disorder be considered.

You doctor should also be able to advise you on the treatment
options available to you.

You also may find that is a better forum
for anxiety disorder information. They usually are not neurological
disorders as such, though they are probably due to variations in
physical neuron states (receptor densities etc), and inappropriate
neural connectivity.

Good luck


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