Sound Therapy what is it ?
Sound therapy refers to a range of therapies in which sound is used to treat physical and mental conditions. One of these therapies is music therapy. Music therapy can involve a person listening to music for conditions such as stress and muscle tension.
Music is one component of this therapy. Others use sound wave vibrations to treat physical and mental conditions. In general, this therapy is based on the theory that all of life vibrates, including people’s bodies. When a person’s healthy resonant frequency is out of balance, physical and emotional health is affected.
Treatment by sound waves is believed to restore that healthy balance to the body. Healing is done by transmitting beneficial sound to the affected area. The healing sound may be produced by a voice or an instrument such as electronic equipment, chanting bowls, or tuning forks.
By coming on one of our holistic long weekend retreats that we organise a few times a year with our specialists from a UK healing school, you have an opportunity to experience Acu-Sound treatment using tuning forks.
However, before we continue our talk about Acu-Sound, lets discover the origins of these treatments!
Sound Therapy Origins
Indigenous societies around the world have traditionally used sound in healing ceremonies, including drumming, hand-clapping, singing, dancing, and pulsating. The broad spectrum of sound therapy includes chanting, an activity long connected to healing and religion, and sounds of nature. Different sounds have elicited a variety of emotional responses and altered mental and physical states in people. One recent brain-imaging study found that spine-tingling music spark off the same parts of the brain that are stimulated by food, sex, and certain types of drugs.
The connection between sound and healing was chronicled in 1896 when American physicians discovered that certain types of music improved thought processes and spurred blood flow. More advances in sound therapy came after World War II. Music therapy began in the 1940s, when it was used as part of rehabilitation treatment for soldiers.
During the 1950s and 1960s, sound wave therapy developed in Europe. The British Osteopath Sir Peter Guy Manners developed a machine that treated patients with healing vibrations. By the 1990s, Manners had developed a computerized system with about 800 frequencies used to treat a range of conditions. Similar therapies are also known by names such as bio-resonance and vibrational therapy. This therapy is used to treat such conditions as cancer.
After Manners developed his therapy, two ear specialists in France developed therapies that focus on listening. Dr. Alfred Tomatis’ method and Dr. Guy Berard’s auditory integration training involve the patient listening to sounds through headphones. Currently, the Tomatis method is used to treat conditions ranging from learning disabilities to anxiety in both children and adults.
From the 1960s on, interest in alternative medicine and New Age healing has led to a wide variety of sound healing therapies. These range from the ancient practice of chanting and the use of singing bowls to vibro-acoustic furniture.
Benefits of Sound Therapy
Sound therapy focuses on balancing energy to treat a condition. Advocates maintain that sound therapy is effective in treating such conditions as stress, anxiety, high blood pressure, depression, and autism. Chanting and overtone chanting are used in therapy with Alzheimer’s patients. This form of sound therapy is said to help with memory function. Some researchers think that music memories may outlast some other types of memories because music involves many parts of the brain.
Physical conditions treated by sound therapy include pain during labour, muscle and joint pain like arthritis, back pain, sports injuries, soft tissue damage, and cancer.
The Tomatis method is used for conditions including dyslexia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Down syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, autism, depression, and behavioural problems. The method, also known as listening therapy, is used to help older people with coordination and motor problems. Furthermore, performers take the therapy to refine their skills.
Sound is very deeply connected with vibrations. In the growing field of energy medicine it is well known that our universe is created through patterns of frequency. Science is now documenting what mystics of many traditions have known forever. Everything that exists in the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual realms does so on a vibratory basis. This is obvious if you consider that electrons are always moving and vibrating.
“Concerning matter, we have been all wrong. What we have called matter is energy, whose vibration has been so lowered as to be perceptible to the senses. There is no matter.”
Sound therapies like cymatics have been compared to acupressure. An instrument is placed on a point of the body and beneficial sound is directed at that point. The sound directed through the skin is believed to establish healthy resonance in unhealthy tissue.
The spectrum of sound therapy includes such other treatments as:
- Audiotapes with special frequencies or music are designed for conditions ranging from AIDS to weight problems. Some recordings are said to target both the emotional and physical aspects of these conditions.
- Tuning forks are used to give the person resonance. This is said to help the person relax and give balance. Hemi-sync therapy involves listening to synthesized sounds to balance both hemispheres of the brain. This is said to produce an altered state of consciousness.
- Adaptation of age-old instruments such as the Tibetan singing bowls. Sound from these bowls can be used in conjunction with chanting or meditation. Tibetan monks used bronze bowls.
Sound therapy has produced no known side effects or complications.
Sound therapy has been accepted within the traditional medical community. Other therapies such as chanting and toning have been integrated into traditional treatment of cancer. Furthermore, some studies indicated that auditory integration training and the Tomatis method could be used for behavioural problems.
While the traditional medical community remains sceptical about some aspects of sound therapy, treatment has been undertaken by people around the world.
We use several types of sound therapy on our Holistic retreats in Barcelona, so come and try!
Don’t miss out these incredible experience!
Albright, Peter. The Complete Book of Complementary Therapies. Allentown, PA: People’s Medical Society, 1997.
“Brain Health—Music and the Mind.” Harvard Health Letter 27 (December 2001): np.
Sound Healers Association. P.O. Box 2240, Boulder CO, 80306. (303) 443-8181. <http://www.healingsounds.com/sha/sha-about.asp>.
The Tomatis Method. <http://www.tomatis.com>.
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