What is Sound Therapy?
Music affects us all in different ways. Beethoven’s symphonies, Modern Jazz, Motown, heavy metal or trance music; they all impact us in different ways. Our mood, energy levels, mindset; even our emotions are all affected by the music we listen to.
On a fundamental level, music is simply organised sound. According to an article written by Patrick Keneally from The Guardian in 2008:
“Sound therapy deconstructs music into pure sound, harnessing the knowledge that sound can have a powerful effect on our emotions. Sound therapists believe that we are all made up of different energy frequencies. They use sound frequencies to interact with these, thus attempting to re-balance the body’s energy.” – Patrick Keneally
As a trained sound therapist and energy healer, I believe that the sound frequencies created by different instruments (including the voice) are not only heard, but also felt throughout the body’s tissues and cells. The vibrations created by these instruments release energetic blockages and re-balance the body’s energy system.
The British Academy of Sound Therapy (BAST) beautifully describes this notion of the body’s energy system as follows:
“Our organs, chakras and different areas of our bodies, all sing a different note, which when blended together, produce a symphony as individual as a fingerprint.” -The British Academy of Sound Therapy (BAST)
Our body is effectively a finely tuned orchestra which absorbs and reacts internally to the vibrational frequencies of external sounds. This delicate vibrational balance can easily go ‘off key’ in response to everyday challenges such as stress or illness.
Sound therapy effectively modifies the body’s imbalanced frequencies; re-tuning it from vibrational discord back to a deeply relaxing, harmonic symphony.
“It’s like being wrapped in a blanket of peace.” – Sound Therapy Client
This is how one client described her experience with the sounds of the OM; other accounts can be found on my testimonial page.
What happens during a treatment?
“All you have to do is lie down and bask in the tuneful beauty of ‘pure’ sound.” – Patrick Keneally
The initial sound therapy consultation will involve taking details of your medical history, any current health challenges and what you may be hoping to gain from the session. We will then create a bespoke treatment plan to re-balance the body. This plan may involve using vibrational sound medicine to:
- clear energetic blockages
- release trapped energy (often connected with past trauma)
- release pain (both physical and emotional)
- re-energise and re-balance areas of the body that may be feeling depleted
Initially I will use the tuning forks, to calm your mind and autonomic nervous system, relax your body, and identify any areas where your energy may be blocked. I have a large selection of forks tuned to different frequencies, all denoted to working with a variety of issues.
During our sessions, I may also use relaxing music, chimes, singing bowls, tingshas, native American flutes, drums, rattles or even my voice, if I am intuitively drawn to do so.
How can Sound Therapy support you?
“You can look at disease as a form of disharmony. There is no organ, system in the body that is not affected by sound, music and vibration.” Dr. Mitchell Gaynor (Integrative Oncologist Specialist)
Sound therapy is said to help not only physical illness, but also help balance the emotions and quieten a busy mind. Most people feel calm and deeply relaxed following a treatment; often these calming effects can last for several days.
In my own therapy practice, I have seen clients respond positively to sound therapy with conditions such as:
- Back, neck and shoulder pain
- Insect bites
- Stress-related illnesses such as ME, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or IBS.
I have also worked with cancer patients (at various stages of the disease) and found that the sound therapy has helped them relax and sleep more easily. It has also eased some of their stress-related symptoms and, in many cases, relieved some of the physical pain symptoms.
I have worked with kidney failure patients who have noticed an improvement in the skin conditions (ulcers) which are common in the advanced stages of the disease.
Clients have reported feeling calm and relaxed after sound healing sessions, with less stress and anxiety and a greater sense of mental health and wellbeing. Some report increased energy, greater clarity and focus and even some relief from pain. All this feedback is subjective, each person will experience sound healing differently. It is also important to remember, that like all complementary therapies, sound healing is intended to work alongside allopathic medicine, it is not a replacement.
Lyz Cooper founder of the British Academy of Sound Therapy (BAST) states:
“Whether you come for a regular tune-up or relaxation session, or have a chronic long-term illness, sound could help you to enjoy a better quality of life.”
What evidence is there that Sound Therapy works?
The British Academy of Sound Therapy (BAST) has undertaken several research projects into the efficacy of sound therapy. One such study revealed that 95% of clients suffering from stress-related disorders felt an increased state of calm following treatment. This was not a clinically-based trial however so again it is important to note that these findings can only be considered subjectively.
A preliminary study conducted by BAST measured the effects of sound therapy on the autonomous nervous system (ANS). Clients were connected to a machine that monitored their stress responses (similar to a lie detector).
Each sound therapy client demonstrated an overall decrease in the arousal of the ANS compared to the control group, who were simply lying down and relaxing. This study suggests that sound therapy has a deeply calming effect on the autonomic system and may therefore benefit clients with stress-related conditions.
Details of BAST research projects can be found here