“There’s no organ system in the body that’s not affected by sound, music, and vibration. You can look at disease as a form of disharmony.” — Mitchell Gaynor.
We all know that music can have a calming effect on our minds and bodies. But, did you know that certain sounds can also elicit therapeutic responses?
Sound therapy is not a new concept; it’s been around for centuries and has recently been gaining a lot of popularity as more and more people are seeking new ways to calm their minds.
Interested in learning more about how sound can affect your health? This article presents a brief overview of different sound healing techniques and their impact on our minds, bodies, and souls.
What is Sound Healing? Is It The Same As Music Therapy?
When you think of sound healing, you will typically think of music therapy. Music therapy is an evidence-based form of clinical therapy that involves using different harmonies and sound frequencies to elicit an emotional response. It is often used in mental health treatment for anxiety, depression, etc.
On the other hand, sound healing is a more alternative form of therapy that has been used across different cultures for many centuries. There are different types of sound healing techniques, of which sound baths and vibrational sound therapy are two major forms.
Let’s take an in-depth look at these different types of sound therapies.
Music therapy is a form of cognitive clinical therapy that has music as the main form of healing. Music therapy has a long, proven, and evidence-based history, with the earliest references tracing back to the 1800s.
So, what is music therapy? It is a type of therapy wherein different types of music are used to achieve individualized objectives like improving mood, reducing stress, and addressing the cognitive, emotional, physical, and social needs of a person or a group.
This methodology is proven to be a soothing distraction for an overworked brain and helps promote a positive outlook while influencing your behavior in a positive manner.
The different frequencies of music, especially binaural beats, used in this form of therapy can trigger alpha and theta waves in the brain that can help treat various mental health concerns.
How Music Therapy Works
Music therapy is a clinical therapeutic approach employed by trained and certified music therapists to address the specific goals of their patients.
It involves different types of activities related to music such as playing instruments, listening to sounds and pre-recorded ambient music, writing songs, discussing music, dancing, and even guided imagery.
Music therapy has no limits on age, musical talent, or skill. Anyone can participate and benefit from it.
There are also different types of music therapy such as cognitive behavioral music therapy, vocal psychotherapy, Nordoff-Robbins music therapy, and the Bonny method of guided imagery and music (GIM) — any of these methods may be applied depending on the patient’s requirements.
Benefits of Music Therapy
1. Activates different parts of the brain including memory, sensory relay, and emotions
2. Promotes healthier coping skills
3. Helps manage pain and muscle tension
4. Lowers blood pressure and heart rate
5. Releases endorphins and relieves stress
6. Strengthens motor skills and encourages effective communication in children/adults with learning disabilities
Music therapy and sound baths are often confused, but they are quite different from one another. So, what is a sound bath?
Sound baths, also called sound meditation or sound therapy, are a meditative experience where participants are “bathed” in sound waves. These sound waves can be in the form of a variety of instruments, often high-frequency instruments, like chimes, drums, gongs, percussions, rattles, singing bowls, tuning forks, or the human voice.
In sound baths, the sounds or musical instruments are carefully chosen to include a voice that has a prominent timbre and overtones. For example, a crystal bowl is tuned specifically to the notes of the seven chakras, while a gong is the preferred instrument to release body tension and calm your nervous system.
A sound bath is a fully immersive form of healing that is primarily aimed to soothe your nervous system, manage your anxieties, temporarily quiet the constant flow of thoughts, and facilitate deep relaxation.
Sound baths aim to balance the energy in your body to promote specific brain waves and encourage a restorative state that triggers your body’s self-healing.
How Sound Bath Works
Unlike other therapies like music therapy, a sound bath is not a clinical treatment. It is considered to be a spiritual meditative practice and is a passive form of therapy where the participant is not required to do anything.
Sound healers may conduct sound baths in groups or in individual sessions.
Before conducting the sound healing session, the participant is encouraged to share a few details with their healer or facilitator about any issues that they want to address. This allows the facilitator to plan the session in a more customized manner and choose the right sounds to be played.
During the sound bath, the individual lays on their backs. In yoga practice, this is called the Savasana position. It is the best position for experiencing the entirety of the sound bath and one that is convenient and comfortable for everyone since it doesn’t require any athleticism, balance, or coordination.
The sound healing practitioner guides the individual or group by playing or producing the sound waves. In some cases, the individual or the entire group sounds may also participate in the mantras or chants.
This guided experience can last from 15 minutes to several hours.
Benefits of Sound Baths
1. Releases negative emotions like anger, anxiety, frustration, and stress
2. Boosts contentment, joy, and tranquility
3. Alleviates physical discomforts and pain and promotes physical health
4. Improves bodily functions such as the circulatory, digestive and lymphatic systems
5. Promotes emotional healing and contentment
Vibrational Sound Therapy
A popular method used to promote healing, vibrational sound therapy has roots in Tibetan and ancient Asian culture and beliefs. It is an ancient practice that follows the belief that the universe is divided into different planes, and each of these layers of energy manifest into your physical existence.
For instance, seven main chakras flow through the human body. These chakras represent different energies and signify a specific area of your life. All your thoughts, behaviors, and experiences produce unique vibrations that can block these chakras and impact your emotions and physical state.
Here’s a look at the seven chakras and what you may experience if they are blocked:
#1. Root Chakra: a great sense of anxiety due to a lack of security
#2. Sacral Chakra: a display of addictive behaviors due to lack of creativity and control
#3. Navel Chakra: challenges in the digestive system due to lack of confidence
#4. Heart Chakra: a sense of being isolated and alone
#5. Throat Chakra: possible occurrence of sore throat because of fear of speaking up
#6. Third Eye Chakra: poor motivation in life due to close-mindedness
#7. Crown Chakra: slight discomforts like headaches because of a feeling of being lost, unvalued, and without guidance
If these chakras and vibrations are ignored, they may also cause medical issues and regress your quality of life.
How Vibrational Sound Therapy Works
In vibrational sound therapy, the goal is to influence your body to the cellular level. This allows better energy flow and proper alignment of your energies.
Improper energy flow or an energy block can decrease your energy level, further manifesting through physical, mental, and emotional issues.
Vibrational sound therapy uses therapeutic singing bowls, also called Tibetan singing bowls or Himalayan bowls, that are placed directly on your body. These bowls create sound waves through which your healer can help harmonize your energies and promote healing.
Mental and Health Benefits
#1. Reduces stress, tension, and pain
#2. Improves sleep and concentration
#3. Boosts self-confidence and creativity
#4. Balances your energy planes and chakras
#5. Better pain management
Whether you want to explore natural energy healing methodologies or include alternative forms of therapy to achieve inner peace and better mental health, sound therapy is an excellent form of healing that anyone can benefit from.
Be sure to contact an experienced professional to guide you through these practices to help you heal your body, mind, and soul.