When I first started to understand and improve my mental and physical health (I personally don’t like the term "Recover" as I feel it implies getting back something I have lost, and even though I'm constantly improving my mental health, ( I have physical issues that current medical understanding can’t fix),
I started looking into "alternatives" to prescription medication, I came across the concepts of meditation, mindfulness, Tai-Chi and Qi Gong ancient concepts from various spiritual and eastern beliefs that when I started trying them (I had nothing to lose but the meds and they were causing all sorts of fun issues all on their own). I was amazed at how well the Qi Gong started working, I didn’t initially have much luck with the old school meditation, I found it hard to stay still and relaxes, focusing on the breathing etc. and block out the physical pain at the same time.
I then discovered "Synthetic Meditation" the science of the Binaural Beat, this is a frequency based technique that can get your brain to the same frequencies as old school meditation and all you need is YouTube and some decent earphones. Result!! and it was a result, it works beautifully and I still do it daily, I'm even listening to a Binaural Beats improved Focus track while I type this..
Now this led me to thinking, these are classed as "Alternative" therapies by us "Modern Civilised folk in the west" yet have been used by various cultures from across the globe for as long as we have been recording history, so I started to look at other cultures/beliefs (both modern and ancient) to see how they deal/dealt with and think/thought of mental health.
It's quite enlightening and interesting to find out that they appear to have known more about the mind/body balance than we do now, and how to treat them and strengthen them.
Let’s start with the Ancient Greeks approx. 800 BCE, The Greek God Dionysus famous to us for wine and fertility was also the God of Madness in all its forms (assumed by modern scholars to be due to alcohol induced liver disease as this can cause symptoms that would have matched their definition of madness), there is records of Dionysus Drum festivals where people would bring the mentally ill to be treated using a pattern of Drum Beats & Chants, originally scoffed at by modern medicine, we are only now beginning to recognise and study that there "is" recordable/measurable beneficial results to the exposure of certain drumbeats and frequency’s for the treatment of Depression in Adults and for anxiety in Autism and Epileptics (related to binaural beats effect?).
They also liked to be extremely pro-active, there was no stigma attached to mental health issues or as they called it "being touched by the gods" and even anger was seen as a treatable mental health issue, they gave anger management courses and what is effectively a form of MBCT (Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy) a form of therapy in its infancy in modern day.
One of my personal favourites is the Chinese as Qigong's earliest recorded usage is over 7000 years ago! It was incorporated into what became the Taoist beliefs and led to Tai Chi, meditation and purpose of self-identity among other things, modern medicine still sees the current Chinese view of mental health treatment as out dated and behind the rest of the "civilised" world, yet when you start looking into it though you find that they have one of the largest populations on the planet yet one of the lowest reported mental issues, They use what they now call Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy (REBT), what we recognise a form of CBT (Cognitive behavioural therapy) which we westerners have had since the 60s! , it has as its core the fundamental belief that “you are what you think you are” it encourages members that are participating in the session to develop and maintain a positive perspective regarding their experiences by increasing coping skills such as minimizing, reappraising and restructuring distressing thoughts, didn’t they do well in adapting it!
Well no actually as it’s based on ancient Tao teachings from around 2697–2597 BCE
Next up we have the Spiritualists, this includes a variety of spiritual and mystic traditions from across the globe that can be fitted into one surprisingly common belief or treatment system including ancient indigenous native American practices from the Hopi to Tibetan yogic methods involving what they call kundalini energy and "mental awakening" not bad for 5000 to 7000 BCE (We are doing well here for a society that academically views "civilisation" as only around 5000 years old)
They all used (and are still using) a combination of drumming, chanting and bell ringing to heal the mind believing that different frequencies could aid in healing different physical and mental issues in combination with again what we would recognise as mindfulness or forms of CBT. A quick YouTube search can even show you examples of Drumming Circles, Chanting & Throat Singing, Singing Bowls of metal and crystal, all still in use today.
In Malta there is the Maltese Hypogeum, a temple hewn out of the rock somewhere around 3600-2500B CE, they owners were a mystic group that used overtone chanting, bell ringing, singing balls, and drums to reach altered states of consciousness, it is believed that those with "Madness of the gods" could enter the temple and be treated by the mystics until they were made "Whole" again, anyone healed by the temple was then seen as an honoured member of society as they had been granted the wisdom of the gods.
Closer to home in this category is the Celts and Druids, they believed that mental health, stress, depression etc. was an imbalance within the body and could be corrected by patience, empathy, diet and once again.. Rituals involving Sound, specifically at stone circles and "Holy" Places
I have found the unifying similarities of sound frequency being used for healing mental health very interesting, especially as it covers the entire globe and goes back thousands of years... We all know we can change our moods with the right music so it’s an intriguing thought that you may be able to change your entire mind-set like turning the dial on a radio or changing a TV station.
Now for some Fun tinfoil hat facts: a researcher called Paul Devereux discovered that burial mounds in Ireland called Cairns, even though they are made of different materials, and are different sizes, all resonate at one particular frequency, of: 111 Hz.
He decided to take it a step further and explore what happens to the brain when it is exposed to the frequency of 111Hz.
He found that MRI scans suggest that at exactly 111hz, the brain switches off the prefrontal cortex, deactivating the language centre, and temporary switches from left to right-sided dominance , that is responsible for intuition, creativity, holistic processing, inducing an almost instant state of meditation or a trance that allowed the body to heal physical quicker, similar to a modern medically induced coma, volunteers also noted an increased feeling of positivity and creativity when they woke up...
Coincidentally 111Hz was "also" the standard frequency for a number of Tibetan Temples Singing bowls used for generic meditation.
Further research directed by Prof. Robert Jahn also tested acoustic behaviour in megalithic sites in the UK, showing that they sustained a strong resonance at a sound frequency between 95 and 120 Hz.
And it's not all eastern or mystic traditions with singing and chanting that had all the wisdom, Here is some wisdom extracted from the Old Norse all father himself Odin from around 800 CE, (from speaking to a Swedish friend that still follows the Norse gods, not in a physical sense but as parables and morals to live by) it's apparently part of the original Thors Hammer fable (only those with the strength of honour and wisdom could lift it and they had to also be humble enough to bend low to get it)
"True power and strength to be whom you truly are is already within you, it is at the bottom of your soul, it is when you have sunk to the deepest darkest depths and feel you can’t go any further, when you feel Totally alone, you will find your power, your balance, you will stand strong and tall as the journey down will have taught you the lessons you needed to learn and given you the strength and wisdom to wield the power you will find there, the journey back to the surface will find you renewed with strength and wisdom to change lives and build worlds and the light of others who have found their power will shine with you...just try not to drown on the way down..."
The ancient norse also believed that men needed the company of others (originally thought to be other men, but recent studies show that woman were treated as full equals in all frames of life from the farmers to the warriors) and that hunting, drinking, singing and talking helped keep a mans mind healthy and grounded, no subject was taboo and at times your personal issues would be treated as everyone’s issues with everyone rallying to help.
They believed deeply that without the company words of others you would become "Strange" and trapped too "deep in your own mind".
Makes you wonder how much of our modern mental health issues are societal generated, and just what other coping mechanisms and exercises our ancestors knew as "normal" that we have lost or forgotten in our modern hurry to just lock "nutters and broken people" into asylums in the last 100 years or so, or more recently just keep popping pills.