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The Cat's Purr for Healing
by Paula Peterson
EARTHCODE & INNER LIGHT INTERNATIONAL NETWORK, New Heaven New Earth, Paula Peterson, PO Box 3395, Santa Cruz, CA 95063, USA, email@example.com, Telephone: 831-454-1440.
Editor's Note: This is an excerpt from the article "Secret Sounds That Heal", written by Paula Peterson and first published in the Spirit of Ma'at emagazine. In September of 2002 she interviewed Elizabeth Von Muggenthaler, a research scientist and bio-acoustic specialist. As Paula has put it in her own words, this researcher "has gone where no man (or woman) has gone before into the mysterious realm of the healing power of a cat's purring, the haunting whale-song of the Sumatran rhino, and about the sounds that we feel but never hear. She is also president of Fauna Communication Research Institute, where amazing breakthroughs are being made that may forever change the way we listen to the animals." From this article we have extracted only the cat's purr section for your consideration and healing.
To find out more about Elizabeth Von Muggenthaler's important research, animal sound recordings, CDs, or how you can help protect the Sumatran rhino from extinction, please visit Fauna Communication Research Institute at: http://www.animalvoice.com. To hear the unusual sounds of the Sumatran Rhino, click on Research or News.
The Cat's Purr Frequency
Elizabeth's research into the cat's purr has brought her a great deal of support from many sources, including veterinarians. She has also received support from a professor emeritus in England who is known as the "grandfather of bones." He is the foremost authority on bone density. She doesn't want to give his name since she doesn't have his permission.
Interestingly, he writes that optimal frequency for bone stimulation is 50 hertz. The dominant and fundamental frequency for three species of cats' purrs is exactly 25 to 50 hertz: the best frequencies for bone growth and fracture healing.
The cat's purr falls well within the 20 — 50 hertz anabolic range, and extends up to 140 hertz. All members of the cat family except cheetahs have a dominant or strong harmonic at 50 hertz. The harmonics of three cat species fall exactly on, or within, 2 points of 120 hertz, a frequency which has been found to repair tendons.
Cats Help Heal Themselves With Their Purr
A few veterinarians have said that the purr is only a vocalization of contentment, and most people believe that. But Elizabeth's research analysis shows it's not true. Cats will purr when they are injured and in pain as well as when they are content. In one case, a cat had broken its femur and the femur was sticking out. But it was purring, so it can be assumed that purring is not always a sign of contentment.
Some people claim that cats purr when they're injured because they're humming to make themselves feel better. That makes absolutely no sense. If you've ever broken your leg or an arm and you find yourself in the emergency room, are you whistling "Dixie"?
Purring takes a lot of energy. It's created by both the diaphragm and the larynx. Getting a diaphragm to move for something other than breathing is difficult, it takes energy. When there is pain and suffering, our bodies are traumatized and they shut down non-essential activity. Since cats purr when they are severely injured or dying, it has to be survival-related.
"Put a cat in a room with a bunch of broken bones — the bones will heal."
According to Elizabeth, that statement is an old veterinarian's adage and it's still taught in veterinary schools to this day. That's the first thing she came across when she started out with this research. But no one has done any studies on it.
The type of frequencies that are found in the cat's purr are good for healing muscle, tendon, and ligament injuries, as well as for muscle strengthening and toning. They are good for any type of joint injury, wound healing, reduction of infection and swelling, pain relief, and relief of chronic pulmonary disease.
Authors of the veterinarians' surgery manual say that what it basically comes down to is that, compared to other animals, cats simply don't get chronic pulmonary disease, muscle and tendon injuries, bone diseases, and a lot of other things that dogs get. The purr seems to be a constant strengthener and toner for the muscles.
The average health of cats is considered to be greater than that of dogs. An actual case study was done where they took 52,000 animals and found that lameness in dogs occurred 3.6 percent and in cats only .26 percent. In another study arthritis in dogs was listed as 2.4 percent of the population, and was not reported at all in cats. The prevalence of lameness in dogs occurred 3.1 percent of the time, and again, in cats it was not even mentioned. The overall incidence of primary lung tumors in the dog is 1.24 percent, and in the cat, .38 percent. This basically says that cats are in fact healthier than dogs are.
People like to say, "Oh, that's just coincidence," but it can't be. The odds of its being coincidence are like three billion to one.
Any veterinary orthopedic surgeon will tell you how relatively easy it is to mend broken cat bones compared with dog bones. Dog bones take much more effort to fix and longer to heal.
There is excellent documentation of cats' quick recovery from such things as high-rise syndrome, which was first mentioned by Dr. Gordon Robinson and later studied and reported in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. They documented 132 cases of cats' plummeting an average of 5.5 stories from high-rise apartments, with some of them suffering severe injuries. But interestingly, 90 percent of these cats survived. Most cats that fell from seven stories or more managed to live. The record for survival from heights is 45 stories!
Is there a difference between a cat's purr of contentment and the purr of a cat that's been injured? Apparently there is no difference. It's machine-like. The purr is nearly the same across species: The ocelot, chervil, and domestic cat are all create an identical sound.
Elizabeth showed this data to an architectural engineer who measures building vibration, and he asked if she were into mechanics, since the signal appeared to be so regular. He was greatly surprised when she told him that he was looking at the analysis of a cat's purr. It's totally unlike any other animal's vocalization.
Cat's Purr Promotes Healing
An idea is born.
Elizabeth stumbled upon these ideas by accident (which is true of most inventions and discoveries!). She had been working with tigers at a facility where there were also many other wild cats. It seemed odd to her, while passing by a chervil one day, that it was purring.
Later on, she read in National Geographic about this researcher who had put chickens on a vibrating plank for twenty minutes a day and their bones grew. She thought that was weird. So she called him and asked what the anabolic frequencies for bones were. He said that they were anywhere between 20 and 90 hertz, but that there is evidence suggesting that 25 hertz and 50 hertz are the best frequencies.
The next day, she got up, went into the living room, grabbed her big tomcat, Spot, started petting him, and turned on the microphone. Then she ran the recording through the computer. And guess what? Oh, my God.
After that, she started doing a search in the literature, and found that 25 hertz is the fundamental frequency. In other words, it's the first, or primal, frequency. After the first frequency, there is something called harmonics. Harmonics are always a multiple of the fundamental, meaning that if the fundamental is 25 hertz, the first harmonic is 50, then the second harmonic is 75, the third harmonic is 100, and so forth.
She started recording the wild cats. Then she grabbed every domestic cat from her friends and other people. "Excuse me. Can I record your cat?"
Then she took accelerometers and started measuring cats — accelerometers measure vibrations — to find out where on the body the sound is the strongest and weakest. The research revealed that the vibrational signal is at its weakest at the extremities. Interestingly, it's rare for cats to get bone cancer, but when they do, it's most often in the distal end of the extremities — the paw — and that's also where the vibrational signal is the weakest.
What are the odds that in six out of seven species of cat, their purrs are identical in frequency and amplitude? All of these cats come from a geological evolution that is different, South America, Africa, Asia. Yet the sounds they make match exactly, in both amplitude and frequency, to the frequencies that have been found to be healing, and not just for healing of bones.
I've had healing experiences with my own cats. I had one cat that slept with me every night, and it always felt so good and peaceful to have her next to me. And of course, she purred loud and long until we both fell asleep. So, I wonder, is it helpful for people to hold their purring cat close to their bodies?
Elizabeth says that from a scientific standpoint she would have to say she doesn't know since there is no evidence. She goes on to say that for something to be scientifically therapeutic, it has to be exactly the right strength, loudness, and amplitude. However, she did say that as a healer, she says: "yes, it absolutely", it can be helpful to sleep with you cat.
You, yourself, may have noticed that when you're not feeling well, your cat will often come up to the part of your body that's aching and start to knead you with their paws, purr and get that meditative look in their eyes. They could be trying to help.
How can we make a difference?
People tend to equate language with intelligence, says Elizabeth, and feels that people would be more willing to give of themselves to our amazing animal friends, both wild and domestic, if they considered them intelligent.
We have a lot to learn from them. Most of our modern medicines come from plants or animals. Killing them off is killing us. The average person does not realize that every time an animal becomes extinct we lose another opportunity not only to learn more about our world but also to gain something possibly therapeutic from this animal. It's unfortunate that many people are so consumed with purchasing expensive possessions that they don't stop to appreciate what we already have that has been given to us.
As an avid animal lover, I know full well that animals are intelligent beings even if they don't speak an understandable language — although my own cats have tried to talk like humans. Elizabeth has a recording of a cat in a veterinarian's office who kept saying its owner's name.
Animals have so much more than we have. As humans we are limited by what we're able to see, hear, and smell. Our senses are nowhere near as keen as those of a dog or a cat. You may have seen your own cat at times looking at something you cannot even sense, much less see. Most humans presume that their cats are just staring into space, but they are tracking something.
We as humans can't even begin to understand what a dog smells. Their noses are many times more efficient than ours.
A scallop has a hundred eyes, so it really does see us as we're ripping it from its home. Birds see in the ultraviolet spectrum. We can't see that. We're so limited. It would be nice to spend a day inhabiting the body of several different creatures, just to experience what they're able to see, feel and hear that we can't.
Well... I could have listened to Elizabeth go on and on —her work is that interesting— and she was quite pleasant and easy to talk with.