Music often acts as a healing agent. Listening to old Jazz or even the classics has often resulted in a calmer mind and body. Many therapists believe that sound can be used as an agent against common ailments. Sound therapy is picking up speed- and one can understand that the trend will be at its peak in the next couple of years with individuals prioritizing an interest in wellness.
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It must also be mentioned that such a form of therapy has brought in claims of improved focus, as well as alleviating physical pain. Some of us may be skeptics of the whole she-bang, but the evidence is out there for everyone to see. In the city of New York, one would readily come across places like the Woom Center and Maha Rose, which boast audio healing sessions. In Los Angeles, the LA Sound Healing and The Soundbath Center both generate enough talk about it to give severe competition to the rest of the businesses.
What Is Sound Therapy?
If there is a growing trend about something, there is always a reason behind it. So let’s ask the biggest question which could provide insight into sound therapy. Sound therapy, for the unaware, is a series of treatments, which range from sound baths to music therapy. According to the founder of the Integrative Health Program at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Nada Milosavljevic, this form of therapy is similar to massage therapy as it delivers healing through touch. This can also be considered to be a form of sensory therapy- and has been in use by several groups all over the world for the last few centuries. In the United States, the biggest sub-genre of this therapy would be music therapy, but other factions have risen up as well. After all, music and sound are quite simple to access and are noninvasive as well.
One should also realize that sound therapy is quite distinct inside itself- as there are various flavors of sounds that affect differently. Every single note has its own healing capacity. And due to this, sound baths are usually the most common. The author of Sound Bath: Meditate, Heal, and Connect Through Listening, Sara Auster, uses sound baths to initiate a full-body, immersive listening experience. Music therapy, on its own, uses sounds that are guided by a therapist in order to alleviate stress and enhance one’s memory. Another form of this therapy is binaural beats, which involves playing a couple of separate tones in each ear which are then perceived as a single tone by the brain.
Incidentally, sound therapy finds mention in our ancient history as well. Pythagoras, the ancient Greek mathematician and philosopher, was one of the first to use therapeutic sound bites to diagnose and treat emotional, as well as physical maladies. Iamblichus, his biographer, wrote that the scientist believed that music had the ability to contribute greatly to one’s health. If it was used in an appropriate manner, it could work on par with medicine. And today’s holistic approaches to therapy lists music therapy as an established clinical disciple which has been used widely to help people overcome their challenges- be they physical, or emotional.
In order to understand if sound therapy actually works, it would be quite prudent to know how it functions. This is where the CymaScope comes in handy. This is the world’s first instrument that would actually allow one to study the visual geometry that gets created when a sound note encounters a fluid medium or a membrane. The device then goes on to create sound images which are called “CymaGlyphs”, which are also the imprints of sound on the surface, as well as the sub-surface of pure water. For those who are curious about the scientific side of it, pure sinusoidal sounds usually contact several mathematical ratios, with the most important being “phi”, which is also referred to as the “Golden Mean”. The ratio of this is 1:1.618. Phi is also prevalent amongst almost living things, which does indicate that there is a link between life and sound.
The Benefits of Sound Therapy
The next question that arises after this is- what are the benefits? Well, there have been several studies conducted that support the usage of sound therapy for the relief of both psychological and physical pain. One such study, which was conducted by researchers from the University of California, deduced that the medication which was aided by Tibetan bowls noticeably alleviated anger and stress. This was even more prevalent amongst the youth- who were quite new to the entire idea. Another study, which focused on patients that were suffering from fibromyalgia, went on to note that the low-frequency sound stimulation naturally increased the amount of time for every participant to both sit and stand without any lingering pain.
There have obviously been meta-analyses that do support the benefit of sound therapy on one’s health. A study conducted by scientists at the University of Bonn in Germany did find some evidence among 30-odd studies which definitely supported the use of binaural beats which would be a way of reducing anxiety. After analyzing around 400 studies, researchers from McGill University found that there was a direct link between listening to music and obtaining improved mental, as well as physical health. Now, while most of the other researchers have had small sample sizes, it still demonstrates real results. Nada does mention that although sound therapy is never a cure for every pain or stress out there, this form of therapy is highly beneficial.
A major aspect of sound therapy that one should focus on is intention. When someone intends for this therapy to work on them, it amplifies the effectiveness of the healing. Although it has been proven that most mainstream medicine doesn’t seem to be dependent on the intention of a patient, most practitioners of vibrational energy do use a holistic approach that would address both the body and the mind. When one has the power of intention at their disposal, the chances of a successful outcome does tend to intensify. For those wondering about the definition behind creative intention during sound therapy, it simply means focusing one’s thoughts, and feelings, and visualizing what one wants for their own body. One needs to believe that sound therapy will heal them- and they need to guide it toward their source of pain.
With the growth in popularity, it shouldn’t be difficult for someone to participate in sound therapy if they want to. The simplest form of access would be the Internet- where one would find scores of videos that could approximate the sound of binaural beats or Tibetan bowls.