Don’t waste a dime on this bogus treatment for learning disabilities — Tomatis Method sound therapy
The marketing of specific brands of auditory integration therapy goes far beyond the evidence and displays many of the features of a dubious therapy. Chief among these is indication creep – an ever-expanding list of conditions it is alleged to treat, to expand the market for a treatment that has yet to be established even for its more plausible indications.” — ScienceBasedMedicine.org
Desperately Seeking Treatment Options
My older son has some learning disabilities and my ex-wife and I had been searching for a school that can focus on his needs. We had a top candidate, but one big red flag had me concerned.
They employ the Tomatis Method sound therapy. And the concern that I had is that this method has little to no strong scientific evidence of efficacy.
Claims, claims and more claims
The Tomatis website claims the treatment can help with
- Stress Reduction during child birth (for both mother and fetus)
- Improved musical, singing and speaking abilities
- Increase personal energy
- Autism and Asperger Syndrome
- Improve communication and reduce stress
- Addresses Dyslexia, Dysorthography, and Dyspraxia
- Attention disorders, emotional disorders, communication disorders
- Psycomotor disorders
- Personal Development and Wellbeing
- Foreign language skills
Hallmarks of Pseudoscience — Shotgun
There are established therapies that are well studied and show efficacy. When you think about one of them, say physical therapy, one thing of great importance to the case against sound therapy comes to the surface.
The vast majority of therapies that are proven do not apply to a broad range of symptoms, disorders or diseases. We have very specific therapies for very specific conditions. Yet the advocates for Tomatis and other sound therapies claim a wide range of conditions that can be treated.
This is a shotgun approach. Claim a large number of applicable conditions and gather weak evidence that “show” effectiveness. Worse, if there is a shotgun hit… A study suggests a specific condition may improve with the treatment… then claim all conditions in a wide realm can be altered.
It would be like inventing a hair spray and claiming it also is a great glue; good for cleaning solvents; treats rashes; and doubles as an insect repellent. If they get even a tiny bit of poor evidence that one of these may be somewhat true, they claim they are all true. And this approach is clearly flawed.
The official Tomatis video is full of poor science including
- “The ear is involved in 90% of the sensory information that stimulates our brain”
- “Poor listening will compromise the balance of the body and the vitality of the brain”
- The ear has an “energizing function” and contains organs that play the role of “energy supplier to the cortex
- When hearing is disturbed this can lead to “mistakes, increased fatigue, irritability and a withdraw from communication”
Ear as 90% of sensory input
I could find no scientific citation that backs up this idea that the ear is responsible for 90% of the stimuli to the brain. And on the face of it, the idea seems rather absurd. In essence it is saying that only 10% of all stimuli coming to the brain is coming from sight, smell, taste, and touch.
Did they forget the deaf?
You could consider the video extremely offensive in its claims about how failed hearing can lead to fatigue and withdrawal. There are plenty of people in this world without the ability to hear who have a happy and successful life that doesn't include serious issues with fatigue and isolation.
Balance and vitality
There is no question that portions of the ear are heavily involved in balance. However, can deaf people walk? Well, of course. This claim from the video seems to be designed to put fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) into your mind so you think there are dire consequences from not using the therapy.
And do deaf people have a problem with “vitality”? This whole idea about balance and vitality being disrupted due to hearing is baseless.
The ear has an energizing function? I must have missed that in all the biology classes I took while earning my B.S. in Biological Sciences. Also this idea suffers the problem of not defining what “energizing” might mean. The ear cannot provide chemical energy, usually obtained through food, to the brain. Exactly how would the ear “energize”?
We decided against enrolling our child in a school that offers scientifically flawed therapy that also is sold as a catch all and wrapped in marketing nonsense such as “improved energy” and “better balance”.
The Tomatis Method is just not evidence based. It is wishful thinking and pseudo-scientific witchcraft.
- IF IT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE
Original material written by Bruce Bookman used as part of this post
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