How does Sound Therapy work?
Sound Therapy works on the principle that everything in the Universe is energy in vibration. Sound therapy is the therapeutic application of sound and vibration in order to create the environment for the body to go into its own natural healing processes.
Sound can facilitate shifts in our brainwave state by entrainment. Entrainment synchronizes fluctuating brainwaves by providing a stable frequency to which the brainwave can attune. Combinations of rhythms and frequencies make it is possible to shift from our normal beta state (alert, waking, concentrating, reacting) to alpha (creative, relaxed), and even theta (meditative state) and delta (deep sleep; where restoring and healing can occur). Shifting brainwave states elicits the Relaxation Response in the body, turning on the parasympathetic nervous system state.
What is a Sound Bath?
It is called a Sound Bath because it feels like the sounds are washing over you.
Participants lie down on yoga mats, close their eyes and focus on their breath as wave after wave of sound washes over them. A sound practitioner creates a soundscape using combinations of sounds to prepare the nervous system to go into the parasympathetic nervous system state. This creates the environment for the body to go into its own natural healing state often relieving stress, and reduce pain.
What can Sound Therapy help with?
Sound Therapy can help with an array of ailments dealing with the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual body.
May help with:
+ Relieving Stress + Anxiety +Insomnia
+ Reducing Pain + Depression +Digestive Issues
+ PTSD + Fibromyalgia +Cancer
+ Added Mobility +Brain Function +Increased Blood Flow
Who should NOT do Sound Therapy?
You should not have a sound therapy session if you are in the first trimester of pregnancy, or have thrombosis. Please let your practitioner know if you have a pace maker or any other device.
What role does sound healing play in modern medicine?
There is an abundance of research supporting the healing properties of sound, including ultrasound, infrared, and consciousness altering audible sound. Therapeutic ultrasound, in particular, is widely popular as a medical treatment for a variety of ailments, such as kidney stones, tumors, cancer, teeth cleaning, bone regeneration, liposuction, killing bacteria, & much more. (http://eocinstitute.org/meditation/sound-healing/)
Why Use Sound Therapeutically?
The human body is wired to be exquisitely sensitive to sound. The faculty of hearing is one of the first sense to develop in utero, and the last to depart before death. In addition to perceiving sound through our ears, a recent NIH study published in the journal Nature (November, 2009) shows that we also "hear" the pressure waves of sound through our skin. Water, of which our bodies are largely composed, conducts sound at a rate approximately four times faster than air.
Our bones also conduct sound, as evidenced by newer hearing aids that conduct sound through the skull directly to the cochlea, and through the technique of using a vibrating tuning fork to determine if a bone is fractured. In this technique, the tuning fork is placed distal to the suspected fracture and the stethoscope is placed proximal to the injury on the same bone. A clear tone indicates an uninjured bone, whereas the sound is diminished or absent in the presence of a fracture (Moore, 2009).
It has been discovered that in addition to the traditionally viewed "lock and key" structure of receptors on cell membranes that receive and respond to physical molecules, there are also antenna – like structures ("primary cilium") that respond to vibrational frequencies.
Bruce Lipton writes in The Biology of Belief (2005):
"Receptor antennas can also read vibrational energy fields such as light, sound, and radio frequencies. The antennas on these energy receptors vibrate like tuning forks. If an energy vibration in the environment resonates with a receptor's antenna, it will alter the protein's charge, causing the receptor to change shape. Because these receptors can read energy fields, the notion that only physical molecules can impact cell physiology is outmoded. Biological behavior can be controlled by invisible forces as well as it can be controlled by physical molecules like penicillin, a fact that provides the scientific underpinning for pharmaceutical-free energy medicine."
These receptors are also described in a paper titled "The Primary Cilium as a Complex Signaling Center" (Berbari et al., 2009):
"Fluid movement through the tubules and mechanosensory activities of the cilium may have an important impact on cellular responses. In addition to responses induced by fluid shear, cilia have important functions in pressure, touch and vibration sensation."
In addition to receiving vibrational information, these cilium may also transmit information about the state of order or disorder within the cell.
Sound Medicine Used in Both Alternative and Conventional Settings
Music therapy, vibroacoustic therapy, and the Tomatis Method are three techniques that are used both conventionally and alternatively. All three fall into the category of sound therapy.
Music has been used clinically in the United States since WWII, when it was used to treat returning soldiers for what is now known at post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. Since then it has become more widely employed, and is now used in hospitals, nursing homes, institutions, and other rehabilitative settings. Music therapists work to help clients improve their level of functioning and quality of life by using music experiences such as singing, songwriting, listening to and discussing music, and moving to music, to achieve measurable treatment goals and objectives.
Music therapy has been shown to be particularly effective with some of the more challenging members of the population, especially those with Alzheimer's and dementia, autistic spectral disorders, stroke victims, and even prisoners. A study on a group of women in prison in Israel who all participated in a choir showed that group members "experienced a sense of community and togetherness as a result of the exercise" (Silber, 2004). Alzheimer's patients demonstrate less agitation and confusion when engaged in group or individual music exercises, as opposed to being left alone in front of a TV (Darrow, 2004). Autistic children are able to be more expressive and engaging when involved in musical activities (Kim, 2009).
Music is also gaining more acceptance in the medical field, being used both during surgery and post-op; and especially in the practice of music thanatology, which combines music – often harp music – with end of life care. It is being used to help people manage pain, anxiety, stress and a surprisingly wide range of other issues.
Studies have shown (Rider, 1985) the method of music therapy that works most effectively utilizes the principles of resonance and entrainment. Entrainment music therapy is described as "any stimuli that matches or models the current mood state of the individual and then moves the person in the direction of a more positive or pleasant mood state" (Freeman, 2004). For example, if a person is initially agitated, music selected will match that agitation initially (resonate with), and then move slowly into a melodic piece that can lead to anxiety reduction (entrain to). This technique has been used successfully in reduction of both pain and anxiety.
Vibroacoustic Sound Therapy (VST) incorporates both music therapy and sound frequencies. VST is the transduction of both sound and music through specially designed beds, tables, or chairs, with speakers arranged in such a way that the sound currents travel directly through the body. Lower frequency waves, in the range of 30-100 Hz are generally used, and sessions can last from 10-45 minutes (Boyd-Brewer, 2004). This technology originated in Sweden in the 1970s and now has grown to be used worldwide in settings from hospitals to spas. Numerous studies have been conducted on this technology and have demonstrated that it is beneficial for a wide range of ailments, from pain and anxiety reduction to reducing problem behavior in autistic adults and children. One study found that negative stereotypical behavior was reduced upwards of 40% in autistic adults (Boyd-Brewer 2003).
VST can be utilized with just music, pulsed sound waves and music, and in some technologies, combined with visual light stimulation. Most studies have determined that VST is most beneficial when pulsed sound is combined with music, and nearly all studies have shown that it brings improvement to a wide range of disorders (Boyd-Brewer, 2004).
The Tomatis Method, and a somewhat similar technology called Auditory Integrative Training are other sound therapy techniques that have undergone some, but not many, rigorous studies. While these therapies are fundamentally different, both involve listening to specially created music through headphones for the purpose of retraining the auditory system and creating symptomatic improvement for issues such as autism, learning disorders, hearing disorders, ADHD, and more. The treatment of autism has been the most studied with these techniques, as they are generally effective at reducing the sound sensitivity so common in the disorder, resulting in improved interaction with their environments (Edelson et al. 1999).
Where does Sound Therapy come from?
For thousands of years, sound has been used in ancient cultures to relieve pain, reduce stress, ease anxiety, and promote a sense of well being. Many cultures, religions and mystic traditions have celebrated the power of music to induce trance and meditative states, and expand one's consciousness. Sufi mysticism, Kirtan, gospel singing— even the use of bells and harps at a cathedral.
Sound therapy has been around since the beginning of recorded history—the oldest surviving scriptural texts tell us so, and think of overtone chanting from Central Asia, for example—science is finally catching up with these ancient practices in sound-healing on the frontiers of modern neuroscience.
Most cultures share myths of creation that begin with a sonorous event. In the ancient Vedic texts, Lord Vishnu rests on the cosmic, shoreless ocean. The silence is broken with the cosmic hum we know as Aum. In the Bible, John 1:1 states, “In the beginning was the Word…”
At the first vibratory universal note a system of mathematics and harmonic ratios is revealed. From macrocosm to microcosm, we exist and live in a sea of sound. Geneticists have decoded the musical expression of our DNA; NASA has captured the sounds of all the planets, even the sound of black holes; and in November of 2014 the European Space Agency’s Rosetta probe recorded the sound of a comet. It’s no wonder our bodies respond to therapeutic sound.
Himalayan singing bowls (standing bells that "sing") have been used throughout Asia for thousands of years in prayer and meditation, and are now used to promote relaxation and wellbeing. The didgeridoo, developed by Indigenous Australians of northern Australia.
Throughout our written history we find references to healing temples built with the intention to harness the three most powerful universal forces: sound, light and magnetics. These temples were constructed on magnetic vortices with architecture designed to capture the power of sound and light waves. People would travel to these locations and spend anywhere from one to several nights for a resonant recalibration of body, mind and spirit.
Resonant architecture to assist in vibrational health can be tracked throughout history. Vastu Shastra, a portion of the Vedas, contains the art and science of construction and is still implemented today. Sitting or standing in this resonant architecture, one cannot help but experience a sonic realignment from head to toe.
Since 4000 B.C., sound, light and magnetics have been inextricably linked. Tracing the thread from the Egyptian pyramids, Greek Asclepian temples and the Gothic styles of cathedrals and churches, we see common themes of resonant architecture. Many of these ancient sites were built near the sea or river, which contains relaxing, therapeutic sounds. Some say these were our first hospitals and recovery centers, with priests and priestesses serving as medical staff.
In Recent Years:
Sound in medicine is being researched throughout the world. In 2004, Smithsonian magazine introduced the work of Jim Gimzewski, Ph.D., of the University of California Los Angeles. Gimzewski coined the term sonocytology when he heard the sound of a cell.
Missouri University’s assistant professors and biological engineering team Xudong Fan, Ph.D., and John Viator, Ph.D., made news when they created a photo-acoustic device that can detect as few as 10 melanoma cells in a blood sample. At Duke University, biological engineer Kathy Nightingale is also detecting disease with sound.
Nightingale reports that “ultrasound maps differences in the acoustic properties of tissue. Muscles, blood vessels and fatty tissue have different densities and sound passes through them at different speeds.”
Another interesting report from a team of Danish scientists refutes the common view that nerves transmit impulses through electricity, saying nerves actually transmit sound. The Copenhagen University researchers argue that biology and medical textbooks stating nerves relay electrical impulses from the brain to the rest of the body are incorrect.
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