What is Sound Therapy?

Sound therapy covers a broad range of therapies that utilise sound to address different kinds of physical and mental conditions. It's rooted in the belief that everything in the universe - living or inanimate - is made up of energy and maintains a vibrational frequency. Maintaining the ideal level of frequency is vital to a person's health and wellness; otherwise, an imbalance could lead to a physical, emotional or psychological disorder.

French ear, nose and throat specialist, Dr Tomatis, discovered sound therapy in the late 1940s after restoring the hearing of opera singers and factory workers by playing to them the sounds they could no longer hear. He found a link between the ear and the voice and figured that if he could improve the way a person listens, he could improve their learning, balance, coordination, posture, communication, and creativity.

What is sound therapy?

What are the Different Kinds of Sound Therapy?

Several types of sound therapy have been developed ever since its inception to address all sorts of physical, emotional and cognitive conditions. Some examples of these include:

  • Music therapy is one approach to sound healing that supports physical rehabilitation and self-expression.
  • Auditory retraining therapy is another form of sound therapy that helps address learning difficulties, especially in children.
  • Vibrational therapy involves placing an instrument on a specific point on the body which corresponds to an organ or tissue that requires healing.
  • The Tomatis method involves the use of specialised headphones to listen to recorded sounds that aim to increase the frequency levels in the brain and improve the way it processes sound.
  • Guided meditation employs chanting or the repetition of healing sounds using one's voice to reach a meditative state, and release pain and stress. 
  • The Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) aims to help clients with deep-seated psychological and emotional issues. It involves listening to classical music and forming positive images at the subconscious level while in the state of relaxation.   

How Does Sound Therapy Work?

Sound therapy involves the use of the voice or a variety of instruments to produce healing sounds to treat a condition. Before the therapy session begins, the therapist assesses the condition of the client and gets them in a comfortable position. The sound therapist will then begin to induce the client in deep relaxation by creating soothing sounds.

A sound therapist may use one or more instruments when treating a client, depending on the latter's needs. Each instrument holds a unique sound and vibration that correspond with the body's frequency. Some of the instruments used in sound healing include:

  • Singing bowls
  • Rainstick
  • Tuning forks
  • Chimes
  • Pan flute
  • Tibetan tingsha
  • Drums
  • Shamanic rattles

What are the Benefits of Sound Therapy?

Sound therapy balances energy and vibrational frequency levels to alleviate symptoms of a physical, emotional or mental condition. It's especially beneficial for the following conditions:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Poor concentration
  • High blood pressure
  • Sleep issues
  • Pain management
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Mood disorders
  • High cholesterol
  • Learning disabilities
  • Low self-esteem
  • Absent-mindedness

What Can You Expect from Sound Therapy?

Before a client undergoes sound therapy, the sound therapist will assess their condition to determine which method and instruments suit their needs best. After the assessment, the client is encouraged to get in a comfortable position so that the therapy can begin. They may opt to lie down or remain seated. 

The duration of the therapy depends on the type of therapy carried out. Some therapies, like the Tomatis method, can be undertaken at home. The therapist will prescribe a specific number of listening sessions, then after which, the client and therapist will meet for a reassessment.

Is Sound Therapy Safe?

Sound therapy has no side effects, nor does it have any contraindications. Everybody, regardless of age, can benefit from it. To get maximum results, clients should openly discuss with the sound therapist the kinds of sounds or music that work for them.