Sound healing therapy uses aspects of music to improve physical and emotional health and well-being. The person being treated partakes in the experience with a trained practitioner. Music therapy may involve:
- listening to music
- singing along to music
- moving to the beat of the music
- playing an instrument
Healing with sound is believed to date back to ancient Greece, when music was used in an attempt to cure mental disorders. Throughout history, music has been used to boost morale in military troops, help people work faster and more productively, and even ward off evil spirits by chanting.
More recently, research has linked music to a number of health benefits, from boosting immune function and lowering stress levels to improving the health of premature babies.
There are a few different types of sound therapy, each with different benefits, though not all have been supported through research.
Guided meditation is a form of sound healing in which you meditate to voiced instruction, either in a session or class, or using a video or app. Meditation can involve chanting or repeating mantras or prayers.
Research has found that meditation offers a number of health benefits, including:
- stress reduction
- decreased anxiety and depression
- improved memory
- reduced blood pressure
- pain reduction
- lower cholesterol
- decreased risk of heart disease and stroke
Sound therapy is used to treat symptoms of a number of conditions, including:
- anxiety disorders
- post-traumatic stress disorder
- autism spectrum disorder and learning difficulties
- behavioral and psychiatric disorders
Some of the supposed benefits of music therapy include:
- lowers stress
- decreases mood swings
- lowers blood pressure
- lowers cholesterol levels
- teaches pain management
- lowers risk for coronary artery disease and stroke
- improves sleep
How it works
Sound therapy uses different aspects of sound to improve your emotional and physical well-being. How it works depends on the method being used. Most music therapy sessions are experienced one-on-one with a specially trained practitioner.
A session may involve sitting or lying down while listening to music or sounds from a speaker or instruments, or having vibrations applied using a special tool, such as a tuning fork. Depending on the method, you may be encouraged to participate by singing, moving, or even using a musical instrument, or you may need to remain still and quiet to let the sounds take effect.
Along with voice, the following are some of the different instruments used in music therapy:
- singing bowls
- tuning forks
- pan flute
Some methods use a variety of instruments in one session, which can include a guitar, piano, or other instrument.