Depression and anxiety cases are on the rise—no surprises there. But did you know that sound therapy is a way to activate the body's natural self-healing processes and get it back on track? Have you ever had a bad day and felt better after listening to particular sounds? maybe one night you couldn't sleep, having had a stressful day. But then it started to rain. And the sound of the raindrops outside soon made you calm enough to fall asleep. That's how sound therapy works.
The therapeutic power of sound is not a new discovery. Ancient cultures have been healing with sound for thousands of years. Forty thousand years ago, Australian aboriginal tribes used the didgeridoo's low frequency sound vibrations to create deep states of relaxation and bring about other sound healing benefits. Across the Indian Ocean, ancient Egyptians built resonating structures, including the pyramids, to amplify ritualistic chants for its restorative effects. In fact, in 1997, while carrying out acoustics testing in the Pyramids, acoustic physicist researcher John Stuart Reid found himself cured of chronic lower back pain. John, a well-respected authority on cymatics (the study of sound waves), has been studying sound healing ever since.
What the ancients understood, and what studies are finding out today, is that the properties of sound are able to adjust the body's structure. The low frequencies from harmonious sounds—such as drawn-out vowels, raindrops, rustling leaves, or certain instruments—can stimulate the body's natural healing capacity.
How does it work?
How exactly does sound affect your body so that the stress of depression and anxiety is eased?
The body has chakras, or energy centres. Each of these chakras has a different frequency and easily reacts to external sound waves. When you allow the chakras to absorb the vibrations and frequencies from the instruments, the body will naturally find its own rhythm. Just like how a drum guides musicians to keep a steady tempo.
Being surrounded by low frequency sounds changes the activity of the brain waves and slows them down, in a way. It puts your brain in a calm state, and stimulates your body's self-healing ability to "reboot" your system.
Tools that help ease anxiety and depression
Different objects can produce the low-frequency sounds you need. The most popular instruments sound therapists use are Tibetan singing bowls and crystal bowls. There are also gongs, shakers, chimes, tuning forks, drums, even the human voice.
In this way, sound therapy is similar to music therapy. The difference is that healing with sound focuses on specific conditions, whereas music therapy deals with more general conditions and overall wellbeing.
Sound baths and sound massages
For an experience like no other, try a sound bath. It's a group experience where everyone lays on yoga mats, with cozy blankets and cushions for comfort. And just like water in a real bath, you are immersed in a cascade of sounds, and vibrations all around you (and through you!) Sound Baths usually take about an hour or more, until you are lulled into a deep meditative state of healing.
You can get a similar private experience with a sound massage; this takes place with just you and your therapist.
Both offer great healing benefits for anxiety, depression and general stress relief. It's an experience that MUST be tried!
Perfect for all ages and issues
Because sound therapy is non-invasive without side effects, it's ideal for children, people with disability, senior patients, and those in hospice.
Aside form depression and anxiety, sound therapy is a great complementary course of healing for many other ailments. These include chronic pain and stress, behavioural disorders, high blood pressure and cholesterol, and memory problems. It can also help ease post-partum depression in mothers, boost the immune system of premature babies, help children with autism and leaning disabilities, and assist in the rehabilitation of cancer patients.
It really is worth being open to sound as a way to reboot your system, recharge your body and ground your soul for a stress-free existence.