What is Sound Therapy?

Health & Wellness
Last Updated Jul 29, 2020
Health & Wellness

Sound therapy is "making waves" as an effective form of treatment for a number of disorders. What is sound therapy? A better question might be, "What are sound therapies?" because there are a number of modalities that utilise sound as a therapeutic tool. If, after reading this brief guide, sound therapy sounds like something you would like to explore further, contact a sound therapy practitioner in your area who will be able to fill you in on the details about their specific treatment modalities.

Sound Therapy Theory

That sounds can influence our moods and behaviour has been intuitively understood at least since the invention of the drum. Drums have been used by indigenous cultures throughout the world for everything from trance-inducing religious rituals to calls to arms. Traditional "medicine men" and shamans have used drums and other musical instruments in healing rituals throughout the ages and continue to do so today.

It is obvious to anyone who listens to music that sounds play an important part in our emotional lives. What is less widely known is how music works to make us feel happy, tranquil, energized or even to facilitate healing. Most researchers into sound therapy agree that sound waves or frequencies are responsible for music's ability to influence us and many researchers believe that they may have therapeutic benefits that go far beyond the ability to alter our moods, believing the right frequencies used in the right combinations may be able to bring about biological changes that can help boost our immune system and even heal the body. How is this possible? In order to understand how this can happen, we need to explore some of the more common sound therapy modalities.

The Tomatis Method

In the 1940s, Dr. Alfred Tomatis, a French eye, ear, nose and throat specialist, discovered a way to rehabilitate people with damaged hearing by playing the sounds they could no longer hear using an electronic device that stimulated the muscles of the inner ear. In the course of his studies, Dr. Tomatis discovered that the same type of sound therapy could be used to treat a variety of disorders and even help improve memory, stimulate the imagination and improve learning ability.

Music Therapy

Tomatis Method and other sound therapy practitioners use music therapy as part of their practice. Research has demonstrated that music can have profound physical and psychological effects. For example, aside from being uplifting and inspiring to listen to, Gregorian chants and the music of Mozart are believed to actually be able to increase one's intelligence and may even have many health benefits.

Brain Wave Entrainment

Researchers have known for decades that the human brain emits frequencies within specific ranges or patterns. They have classified the four primary brainwave frequencies:

  • Beta is the frequency associated with normal waking consciousness.
  • Alpha is the state of drowsiness, daydreams, light sleep and some meditative states.
  • Theta is the brainwave state associated with dreams.
  • Delta is the state of deep, dreamless sleep.

Brainwave entrainment (bwe) is a method by which these states of consciousness are induced by introducing rhythmic sound frequencies that match the desired brainwave frequency. The brain then "entrains" to the frequency it is following and a shift in consciousness occurs. Brainwave entrainment is used for meditation, study, to help facilitate healing and much more.

The theta level of brainwave activity is of particular interest to many healers, who believe that it is also the state of consciousness associated with healing, intuition and paranormal abilities. A theta healing practitioner in your area will be able to teach you more about this unique form of sound therapy.

Sound therapy is used by a variety of natural therapists, including those involved in spiritual healing, energy healing, breathwork and many more. Ask your local practitioner and discover more about sound therapy as a stand alone treatment or as it is used in conjunction with other natural therapies.

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Originally published on Oct 19, 2011

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