A trending health topic that has really gotten our attention this month is music therapy and sound baths. If you haven’t heard of this before or maybe, you have but like we wanted some more information then this is the article for you. It might sound a bit new and quirky but after investigating the different types, benefits and how it works alongside trying some types out ourselves… we think this is something to really get behind! Let’s dive in.
To boost one’s mental and physiological well-being, sound healing therapists employ musical techniques. The patient actively participates in the process with the expert clinician. Some forms of music therapy include singing, dancing, meditating, and/or playing an instrument.
Ancient Greeks may have been the first to try using sound therapy to treat mental illness, with the use of music. Throughout history, music has been used to do everything from enhancing army morale to increasing productivity at work to driving away evil spirits through chanting. Recent studies have shown that listening to music can improve a person’s health in several ways, including their immune system, their stress levels, and even the health of preterm infants.
Sound therapy comes in a few forms, each with its own set of potential advantages; however, not all of these have been adequately studied.
Sound healing takes the form of guided meditation, in which the practitioner meditates along with spoken instructions provided in person, through video or smartphone. Mantras, prayers, or other words of inspiration may be repeated aloud during meditation. A variety of health benefits, including lower blood pressure, less pain, lower cholesterol, and a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke, have been linked to regular meditation practice.
Neurological Music Therapy
Therapeutic music sessions have been shown to have a calming effect. Evidence suggests it’s more beneficial than medication for calming patients down before surgery. After spine surgery, a 30-minute music therapy session, in addition to standard care, significantly lowered patients’ levels of distress, according to research published in 2017. A trained professional evaluates each patient prior to administering music therapy. Music therapy includes activities like song writing, singing, and dancing. It’s used in cases involving physical therapy, pain relief, and head trauma.
The Bonny Method
The Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) was developed by Helen L. Bonny, PhD, and uses a combination of classical music and guided imagery to aid in the study of development, awareness, and alteration. In 2017, researchers found encouraging signs that GIM sessions could improve the physical and mental health of persons with special medical and psychological care requirements.
Professional musicians who have completed Nordoff-Robbins’ 2-year master’s degree are the ones who administer this sound healing therapy to patients. They play the music that patients will recognise, work together to compose new pieces, or practise for a public performance. Children (and their parents) suffering from developmental delays, mental health challenges, learning difficulties, autism spectrum disorder, dementia, and other conditions are all treated using the Nordoff-Robbins methodology.
Tuning Fork Therapy
A tuning fork is a musical instrument whose vibrations can be used in a therapeutic context. In addition to promoting emotional stability, this method of stress relief can assist the release of pent-up energy and tension. Sound frequencies are used to stimulate acupuncture points in place of needles, or so the theory goes. There is preliminary evidence that tuning fork therapy can ease musculoskeletal discomfort.
This technique, also known as binaural beats, employs the use of pulsing sound to induce a desired mental state by entraining your brain waves to match the frequency of the beat. Its intended effects include a heightened capacity to concentrate, a mellow state of relaxation, and even a good night’s sleep. There is some evidence that audible brainwave entrainment helps with anxiety, pain, and premenstrual syndrome symptoms, and it also helps with behavioural problems in children, though more study is needed.
So, what does music therapy treat? Anxiety disorders, depression, PTSD, dementia, autism spectrum disorder, learning challenges, behavioural and psychiatric diseases, and cancer are just some of the conditions that music therapy is used to treat. Music therapy has been shown to have a variety of health benefits, such as helping patients relax and sleep better, as well as reducing their stress, mood swings, blood pressure, cholesterol, pain, and risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
How does it work? To enhance mental and physical health, music therapists employ a variety of musical techniques. What this means in practice depends on the approach taken. One-on-one sessions with a certified therapist are the norm in music therapy. Sitting or lying down while listening to music or noises played on a speaker or instruments, or having vibrations applied with a particular tool, such as a tuning fork, is one possible position during a session. You can be asked to sing along, dance, or play an instrument as part of the process, or you might be asked to stay silent and still while the sounds do their work.
The takeaway here? The health advantages of music therapy are well-documented, and while the evidence for some approaches is scant, it is clear that music therapy is helpful for relieving stress and calming the mind. There is little risk of listening to music. Find the sounds that work for you.
A “sound bath,” is a practice that uses traditional wind and percussion instruments to create waves of relaxing, reverberating sound, has been shown to have positive effects on stress, exhaustion, and depression in one research. Due to the correlation between stress and other diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease, taking regular sound baths may be an effective preventative measure. Although research is scant, what little there is suggests that sound baths may have a number of benefits, including but not limited to elevating mood and easing muscle tension. While sound baths shouldn’t be used in place of conventional medical care, they can be a relaxing addition to the other ways you and your doctor have been discussing.
How does it work? Many believers in the “sound healing” phenomenon attribute it to sound baths. For thousands of years, many different cultures have relied on the therapeutic effects of sound. Most people who take a sound bath do so while lying face up on a yoga mat or meditation cushion. Then, a service provider versed in sound bath musical skills will employ one or more instruments to produce calming, layered vibrations. By guiding you further into a state of meditation or relaxation, it can help you turn off your body’s natural “fight or flight” response. The practitioner will bring you back to full consciousness at the end of the session, then they will cease the sound bath and wish you well on your journey. There isn’t a tonne of research on sound therapy, but what there is suggests it can have some positive effects, like easing stress and elevating mood. Although sound baths shouldn’t be used in place of conventional medical care, they can be viewed as a safe addition to various approaches you and your doctor have been considering. Let’s look into some benefits.
Positive Effects on Mental Health
Depression and anxiety, among other mental health issues, may respond favourably to sound bath therapy. Sixty-two adults were polled twice, once before and once after a sound bath and meditation session in a 2016 study. After therapy, researchers saw a marked reduction in subjects’ stress, anxiety, and bad moods. Thirty of the 60 trial participants listened to Tibetan singing bowls before surgery, whereas the other 30 listened to no music. Those who were given headphones with music had reduced heart rates and other vitals that signal anxiety, according to the findings. According to a review of four studies published in 2020, those who took part in a sound bath using Tibetan singing bowls had reductions in negative emotions such as depression, anxiety, rage, and disorientation.
Pain Relief in the Body
Participants in the 2016 study were also asked to rate their pain on a scale from 1 to 5 if they were experiencing any discomfort. Many of the people in this study reported greater pain levels before receiving a sound bath than after. However, more study is needed to determine whether or not this tendency towards less pain might have therapeutic value. Improvements were also seen in bodily symptoms including blood pressure and heart rate in the 2020 evaluation. However, the reviewers cautioned that more studies are needed to confirm that sound baths have these effects on the vast majority of people.
Is a sound bath different from music therapy? Yes. One should not confuse a sound bath with music therapy. A sound bath is often used before or after a meditative practice like yoga. Most commonly, the instruments utilised will generate resonant low frequencies that will overlap with one another. The music is played by a caretaker who has been educated in sound bath procedures. Anxiety can be reduced, the nervous system can be calmed, and mental chatter can be shut out as you deepen your connection to your body through a sound bath. The use of music in treatment is known as music therapy. Instead of a psychiatrist or psychologist, the treatment is given by a qualified musician. As a form of therapy, musical activities such as playing an instrument, listening to music, and expressing oneself musically can help patients cope with intense feelings.
The takeaway here? You can take a sound bath, which is a form of meditation, without worrying about any adverse effects. Because all you have to do during a sound bath is listen, it may be simpler to get started with than other forms of meditation. Remember that sound baths are not a substitute for medication or therapy with a certified mental health specialist in the treatment of anxiety or depression. In any case, since stress reduction is the primary benefit of this method, it may be worthwhile to incorporate it into your treatment plan.