There is momentum growing toward a new type of treatment program for pain. More and more people are discovering the benefits of sound healing.

Famous musician Bob Marley once said, “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” Marley may have been on to something when he said this, but perhaps he did not go far enough. There is momentum growing toward a new type of treatment program for pain based on sound therapy. Recently, more and more people are discovering the benefits of sound healing.

What Is Sound Healing?

According to the British Academy of Sound Therapy, sound healing combines therapeutic sound techniques to impact you in numerous ways, including:

  • Neurologically
  • Psychologically
  • Physiologically

Sound therapy relies on instruments and voices to deliver tonal and rhythmic noises. Typically, most sound therapists rely on various tonal instruments, such as tuning forks, gongs, Himalayan bowls, and crystal singing bowls. They also rely on vocal techniques such as mantra, toning, and over-toning, each with a unique process and purpose.

Singing Bowls

Mantra is otherwise known as the chanting of Sanskrit words. Toning requires the sound therapist to sing one tone repeatedly. In this case, the tone is often a single vowel sound. Over-toning occurs when the therapist sings more than one tone simultaneously. Additionally, sound practitioners may rely on techniques such as Group Voice Therapy or Holistic Voice Therapy.

With these techniques, a sound therapist will likely combine other elements into the sound healing process, such as movement, visualization, or breathing practices. Other therapists may rely on methods that involve therapeutic percussion rhythms using instruments such as frame drums, shakers, rain sticks, and chimes.

Although sound healing has only recently begun growing in popularity, it has been in existence for thousands of years. It’s use dates as far back as the beginning of recorded history, according to Massage Magazine. Some say that sound therapy dates back to prehistoric times, where a shaman, or an ancient healing practitioner, used drums and chants to help heal people.

The Benefits Of Sound Healing

​​​Unfortunately, scientists have yet to conduct clinical trials that analyze the effects of sound therapy. However, sports medicine specialist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan, Vijay B. Vad, tells the New York Times that sound treatment could work because pain is subjective. He said that of those suffering from back pain, 35 percent indicated they felt relief compared to a placebo.

This likely has to do with the fact that sound therapy breaks your stress cycle. Some studies suggest that as many as 90 percent of doctor’s visits are due to stress. Even a 15-minute sound therapy session could reduce your stress levels significantly. Just because there is a lack of scientific evidence does not mean that people do not firmly believe in the benefits of sound therapy.

Therapists with Patients and practitioners

Patients and practitioners have reported that sound therapy was beneficial in reducing severe muscular problems like Parkinson’s disease. They have also said that using sound treatment helped to alleviate everything from misaligned vertebrae to headaches. Additionally, many have reported that sound therapy helped them sleep better at night, shift out of depression, reduce pain, and clear their sinuses.

Overall, it seems that sound therapy is useful because they leave patients feeling energized and revitalized. Many also say that after going to an audio therapy session, they felt more in-tune and better connected with their body having put themselves in a better state of well-being. Therapists have used sound to lead to profound personal transformations.

One of the most significant beliefs in the scientific community is that sound therapy is useful because of the effects that the sound’s vibrations have. Every sound produces a wave. When used correctly, your body will not only hear the sounds but will “feel” these vibrations as well. The vibrations generated by sound can reduce respiratory and heart rates as well as relax brain-wave patterns.

sound therapy

Every sound vibrates at a different frequency. This phenomenon is known as “resonance.” Each part of the human body has a unique natural resonance. There is a belief that when the body’s vibration is out of tune, stress is a side-effect. So, by that nature, returning the body to its natural state of resonance could go a long way toward reducing chronic tension and pain.

The fact that ultrasound therapy is so widely-used in the medical community lends credence to this belief. Ultrasound therapy relies on fast vibrations that are high-focused and targeted. Doctors can use ultrasound technology to break up kidney stones and perform a host of other medical procedures. Ultrasound technology is very well-developed and accepted in the medical community.

The fact that ultrasound therapy is a well-used treatment lends credibility to the belief that sound treatment could be beneficial. Whereas ultrasound therapy is intense and highly-targeted, sound therapy merely works more gently. Both end up returning the body’s vibrations to their natural states. As scientists conduct further research, the results should show how useful sound therapy could be.

Potential Side Effects Of Sound Therapy

Although most consider sound therapy to be safe, there are a few side effects that are worth noting. These side effects tend to be minimal, affecting only a handful of people. These side effects are often only reported after the first therapy session. If users were to continue with the meetings, there would likely be less chance of you suffering from these side effects.

covering her ears

According to Dove Med, this is primarily due not because of the sounds themselves, but because of the reclining position you’re in during your therapy sessions. If you do suffer from side effects, you can inform your sound therapist. At this point, your therapist will likely adjust your chair. If this does not solve the problem, your therapist can also reduce the frequency of your sound vibrations.

The side effects that patients tend to report include:

  • Mild Nausea
  • Lethargy
  • Vertigo

If you were to suffer from any of these symptoms during your therapy sessions, it’s crucial that you inform your therapist as soon as possible. They will work with you to better gauge your symptoms so that you can begin receiving the benefits that sound healing offers. We recommend having a candid conversation with your therapist before giving up on sound therapy.

Who Practices Sound Therapy?

Now, people can partake in a certification program to become knowledgeable in the world of sound therapy. The people signing up for these certifications range from those with extensive medical backgrounds to those with no scientific or medical education at all. This is similar to those who study to practice acupuncture or massage therapy.

therapist using sound healing

You can see an excellent example of sound therapy training on the Sound Healing Academy’s website. The organization goes as far as to say that they offer “Sound Healing Training for All Levels” and that people studying with them do not need to have any prior healing experience. They also provide free sound healing classes to those interested in learning more about these therapeutic techniques.

Because sound therapy is relatively new from a mainstream point of view, we suggest that you follow up with your therapist’s background before working with them. You want to make sure that your therapist is well-versed in sound therapy techniques and has a solid understanding of the purpose of the methods they are using.

Is Sound Healing Right For You?

Think about how you already may use music to help you relax. Many people rely on music or sounds to meditate or fall asleep. When you receive a massage, your practitioner likely has music on in the background. Or, perhaps when you’re stressed, you put your favorite song on to help “drown out the background noise.”

Tibetan Singing Bowls

Whatever the case may be, there’s a good chance that you already use music in some capacity to help you relax. Sound healing merely emphasizes these techniques in a more defined way. Sound therapists are often well-trained and knowledgeable when it comes to utilizing different techniques, rhythms, and patterns to get the most out of your healing process.

Plus, it seems as though sound therapy will see continual use in the future. The founder and director of the Healing Music Organization, Amrita Cottrell, said that sound treatment is what meditation was two decades ago and yoga was a decade ago. Meaning, more and more people are now in-tune to the health benefits these therapeutic practices offer, and the trend will continue to grow.

If you have yet to try sound healing, you may find it in your best interest to do so. Although there are some side effects associated with sound therapy, researchers generally consider the practices considerably less invasive than other pain treatment options. They could be a safer alternative to drugs or medication. You never know how the treatment will work for you unless you try!

 We recommend reaching out to your trusted healthcare provider before beginning sound therapy. Like any new therapy program, your trusted doctor will have a better idea of how the program will impact you specifically, because they have extensive knowledge about your health history. Your healthcare provider will better be able to recommend sound therapists and practices for you.

 

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Author: Lisa Hosmer

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