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What is Sound Healing Therapy

Sound healing therapy uses aspects of music to improve your physical and emotional health and well-being. The person being treated partakes in the experience with a trained sound healing practitioner.

Sound healing may involve:

listening to music

singing along to music

moving to the beat of the music

meditating

There are different types of sound therapy, including vibrational sound therapy, which uses special sounds that produce vibrations thought to improve brain waves.

Healing with sound is believed to date back to ancient Greece, when music was used in an attempt to cure mental disorders. Throughout history, music has been used to boost morale in military troops, help people work faster and more productively, and even ward off evil spirits by chanting. More recently, research has linked music to a number of health benefits, from boosting immune function and lowering stress levels to improving the health of premature babies.

There are a few different types of sound therapy, each with different benefits, though not all have been proven.

 

Vibroacoustic therapy

Vibration is believed to affect your body’s functions, such as blood pressure and breathing. Vibroacoustic therapy uses audible sound vibrations to improve health and reduce stress. This type of sound therapy involves using speakers embedded in recliners, mattresses, and special mats to transmit music and sound vibrations directly to the body. There’s some evidence to support its benefits, specifically its ability to promote relaxation and reduce pain and symptoms in people with cancer and those recovering from surgery.

 

Guided Meditation

Guided meditation is a form of sound healing in which you meditate to voiced instruction, either in a session or class, or using a video or app. Meditation can involve chanting or repeating mantras or prayers.

Research has found that meditation offers a number of health benefits, including:

stress reduction

decreased anxiety and depression

improved memory

reduced blood pressure

pain reduction

lower cholesterol

decreased risk for heart disease and stroke

 

Singing Bowl Therapy

Singing bowl therapy dates back to the 12th century and has been used for meditation and rituals in Tibetan culture. Metal bowls produce a deep, penetrating sound that’s used to relax and repair the mind. A 2016 study found that singing bowl meditation reduced stress, anger, depression, and fatigue. All of these things are known to impact physical health and raise the risk for disease, suggesting that singing bowl therapy may be good for your physical, as well as emotional, well-being.

 

Tuning Fork Therapy

Tuning fork therapy uses calibrated metal tuning forks to apply specific vibrations to different parts of the body. This can help release tension and energy and promote emotional balance. It works similarly to acupuncture, using sound frequencies for point stimulation instead of needles. There is some research suggesting that tuning fork therapy may help relieve muscle and bone pain.

 

Brainwave Entrainment

Also known as binaural beats, this method stimulates the brain into a specific state using pulsing sound to encourage your brain waves to align to the frequency of the beat. It helps induce enhanced focus, entranced state, relaxation, or sleep. Though more research is needed, there’s some evidence that audible brainwave entrainment reduces anxiety, pain, symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, and improves behavioral problems in children.

 

Improving Symptoms with Sound Therapy 

Sound healing is used to treat symptoms of a number of conditions, including:

anxiety disorders

depression

post-traumatic stress disorder

dementia

autism and learning difficulties

behavioral and psychiatric disorders

cancer

Some of the supposed benefits of sound healing include:

lowers stress

decreases mood swings

lowers blood pressure

lowers cholesterol levels

teaches pain management

lowers risk for coronary artery disease and stroke

improves sleep

 

How Does it Work?

Sound healing uses different aspects of sound to improve your emotional and physical well-being. How it works depends on the method of sound healing therapy being used. Most sound healing sessions are experienced one-on-one with a specially trained practitioner.

A session may involve sitting or lying down while listening to music or sounds from a speaker or instruments, or having vibrations applied using a special tool, such as a tuning fork. You may be encouraged to participate by singing, moving, even using a musical instrument, or remain still and quiet to let the sounds take effect, depending on the method.

Sound healing instruments

Along with voice, the following are some of the different instruments used in sound healing:

singing bowls

tuning forks

pan flute

harp

drums

Some methods use a variety of instruments in one session, which can include a guitar, piano, or other instrument.

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