We're still fresh into the new year so why not discuss a new and emerging trend that happens to be an old practice. Sound therapy, a form of therapy that strives to change the way you feel and think, is what we'll be exploring in this week's blog post. We'll dig a little deeper into that definition in a moment. But I'm going to give you a quick history lesson on this ancient practice and how music plays a role in our emotions. Sound therapy is believed to date back to ancient Greece. During this time, the Greeks would use music to try to cure mental disorders. Various cultures have since followed suit with the benefits of different sounds and of course, music.
Effects of Music
Music is often used to help people become more productive in the workplace. It’s also used to ease depression and studies say it may even change the way you perceive the world. Admit it, you have that one song (or maybe several) that makes you feel amazing! It’ll get you out of the dumps and you’ll be singing, dancing and smiling like you’re on top of the world. In contrast, I’m sure you have a song that you listen to that may contribute to your sorrow. That’s the way music is. It can be powerful. Music evokes many emotions, from happiness to self-pity and inspiration. It can even alter an experience. For example, have you ever been to a spa where loud and aggressive sounds were playing? No! You will only hear sounds that stimulate relaxation. This helps you achieve the level of peacefulness you desire from your experience.
What is Sound Therapy
But what exactly is sound therapy and is it more than just listening to music? Yes, it's music but it’s not just music, it delves much deeper. Depending on which therapy you choose, some sound therapy will directly connect with your brain activity. But, in a nutshell, sound therapy is a form of therapy that takes music and sounds to improve physical and emotional health. A person who seeks out a sound therapy experience should always see a trained sound healing practitioner.
Sound Therapy Types
There are many types of sound therapy. The four types we are discussing include:
1. Vibroacoustic Therapy
2. Guided Meditation
3. Neurological Music Therapy
4. Brainwave Entertainment
Vibroacoustic Therapy uses low frequency sounds to massage parts of the body. The low-frequency sounds are supposed to affect your bodily functions, such as your blood pressure and breathing. These sound vibrations may improve overall health and reduce stress. Vibroacoustic therapy uses speakers that are embedded into recliners, mattresses and specially made mats. Music and sound vibrations are then transmitted to the body. This type of sound therapy promotes relaxation and reduced pain. Evidence shows that vibroacoustic sound therapy has aided people with cancer and post-surgery patients with pain reduction.
Guided Meditation is a form of sound therapy that stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system. Similar to other sound therapy goals, its purpose is to cope with imbalances like stress and anxiety. It relieves tension through not just healing sounds, but also voice guidance by a trained professional. This meditation is offered in short sessions and videos.
Neurological Music Therapy
This form of therapy is used widely due to the plethora of positive research. Studies show that neurological music therapy can be beneficial for brain injuries, pain management and those who are in physical therapy. This musical and rhythm-based technique makes direct contact with brain function through hands-on activities like creating, singing, listening and dancing to music. Neurological music therapy focuses on how music and rhythm can physically affect the brain. Research shows that 30-minute sessions reduced pain in spinal surgery patients. For effective treatment, this therapy should be done by a licensed professional.
Brainwave Entrainment has been around for thousands of years and is also a thoroughly researched based form of sound therapy. To understand brainwave therapy you must first understand the five types of brainwaves that everyone has. Brainwaves are electric signals that determine how your brain cells interact with one another. The five waves are Delta, Theta, Alpha, Beta and Gamma. At all times, a brain wave is active. But, at any given moment, there is always only one wave that is dominant over the others. Your brainwave patterns change frequently, depending on what you are doing. Furthermore, the frequency of each brainwave pattern is determined by how much you are concentrated on said activity or emotion.
For every single action you take, there is a brainwave pattern for that particular task. For every emotion you feel, there is a brainwave pattern for that as well. Your feelings and actions change your brainwave patterns. So, brainwave therapy strives to do the opposite. Instead of your actions and emotions controlling the brainwave patterns, an outside stimulus aims to control your emotions or the way you feel overall. The therapy involves using pulsing sounds on specific frequencies. These frequencies encourage brain waves to synchronize to the beats of the pulsing sounds. It's claimed to enhance focus, induce relaxation and sleep or put an individual into an entranced state. Although more research still needs to be done on all the benefits, some studies claim it can also relieve anxiety, stress and behavioral issues in children.
Sound Therapy as a Whole
This is not a comprehensive list of every form of sound therapy. Other forms include:
1. Bonny Method
3. Singing Bowl Therapy
4. Tuning Fork Therapy
There is not enough evidence to support every method of sound therapy. However, overall, sound therapy touts many benefits including relief from depression, PTSD, anxiety disorders, forms of dementia, learning disabilities and behavioral problems. It's also used to decrease mood swings, encourage better sleeping, lower blood pressure and cholesterol and manage pain. Sound therapy classes are becoming quite popular. People are also incorporating yoga and meditation to add to the benefits.
Would you be willing to try sound therapy in 2019?
Angela Rightout is an enthusiastic, innovative writer with extensive experience in content writing, journalism, videography and social media. She earned her bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from Loyola University Chicago. She is passionate about well-researched content.
Angela enjoys writing on a broad range of topics from health and wellness to food, technology, entertainment and news.