Sound Therapy: The Guide to Treatments, Used Sounds and Music

sound therapy

Music is used for everything from relaxation to education, but sound therapy is a unique form of treatment that can be used to heal as well. Sound therapy uses a variety of sounds and music to treat mental and physical conditions, and its history dates back as far as Ancient Greece. Today, it is used to treat everything from tinnitus to anxiety, so we’re here to look at just how it achieves this.

Music is the universal language that everyone can speak, and it’s something that’s inherently within all of us no matter our backgrounds, age, or cultural identity. Music is so powerful in fact that it’s been proven to have therapeutic and medicinal benefits, and this form of treatment is called sound therapy.

Sound therapy is not a new form of treatment but it is something that we have seen more in recent times. The benefits to both physical and mental health can’t be denied, and it’s easily one of the most calming and natural ways to heal ourselves from various conditions.

For those new to the concept of sound therapy, it can sound quite out there, but it has been proven to work for everything from tinnitus to depression. There are different methods used in this form of alternative treatment and it’s a great non-invasive way to heal your body and mind. If you’re interested in using music and sound to treat your health concerns, then sound therapy will be a great choice for you.

What Is Sound Therapy?

Sound therapy is fairly self-explanatory when you hear the name, as it refers to the use of sounds and music to help treat and heal various conditions. When you really think about it, it should come as no surprise that music does, in fact, have healing powers, as we know how powerful a sad song can be when we’re feeling down or how we can pep ourselves up with a motivating tune.

Sound therapy takes this healing power of music and uses it to treat specific conditions, both mental and physical. A sound healer is a practitioner who uses some or all aspects of music to improve your health, and this might be in the form of emotional, psychological, or physical healing.

There are a number of ways that you can be treated with sound therapy that include singing along to it, listening to the music, meditating to music, chanting, playing musical instruments, and listening to specially crafted sounds that can alter the brainwaves.

The History of Sound Therapy

Sound therapy might seem like new age magic to some, but its origins date farther back than you might think. Music has been used in all countries around the globe as long as has been recorded, including Ancient Greece, Ancient Egypt, and Native American cultures.

During the 1940s, when American soldiers were recuperating from injuries sustained in World War II, music was played to them as a form of therapy. It was this use of music that is sometimes considered the dawn of musical therapy in the modern world, and from there it has only progressed further.

Today, sound therapy is used mainly for spiritual growth and mental wellbeing, but more and more studies are proving just how effective it can be for physical needs as well. The basis for sound therapy is in psychology and neurology which we know can have a huge impact on our physical wellbeing as well as mental.

The Science Behind Sound Healing

To understand what makes sound therapy so effective we should first broaden our knowledge of sound in general. Most things that we experience on earth is done with a perception of waves. These waves are transmitted to our ears and through our auditory nerves, into the auditory cortex which is responsible for processing sound.

Once in this part of the brain, these waves have the ability to trigger different emotions and feelings within our bodies. They can release hormones and chemicals that make us feel a certain way or trigger impulses in our bodies like tapping our feet, singing along to the lyrics, or dancing.

There are a number of studies that prove how beneficial music can be, although scientists still don’t know completely how it can alter our moods. A sound healer’s role is to use this music to tap into your emotions, reduce stress, and improve your mental wellness, in turn making a healthier and happier you.

How Does Sound Heal Us?

If you’ve ever listened to music before then you’ll know instantly that this fact is true – music has the ability to completely change your mood. A song might make you jump out of your chair and want to dance, or it can bring you back to a painful time in life and flood you with sad emotions. It’s clear that music has the power to heal, it’s just a matter of finding the right sounds.

We know that music has the ability to change our minds, so it can be assumed that it can change our bodies as well. This is a fact that has been proven during studies, with a 2006 study in the Journal of Advanced Nursing finding that those who listen to music regularly actually feel less pain and are less likely to be stressed and anxious.

As humans, we emit our own sound waves and in turn hear things at different frequencies. Sound healing works by matching sounds with these frequencies so that every patient is working with something that is conducive to their healing needs.

Most of this practice is focused on the internal and spiritual healing that needs to take place and it can also aid in relaxation and restfulness. However, there are many physical conditions that can be treated with sound therapy and different types of this treatment that works better for certain areas than others.

Forms of Sound Therapy

There are many different types of sound healing and sound therapy available. Some of these methods focus more on the spiritual side of things and others the physical, so it depends on the patient and what suits them best.

Bonny method

A mix of sound with guided imagery where music is used with pictures to help psychological problems.

Dalcroze method

This technique is taught to children in order to show them the power of sound therapy with a huge focus on rhythm.

Guided meditation

Mantras and guided meditation can be a form of sound therapy that you can perform on your own.

Root frequency entertainment

A more spiritual form of sound therapy that focuses on the notion that our souls each have their own frequencies.

Neurologic music therapy

Used for both cognitive and motor functions, this is a neurological form of sound therapy that uses music as a way to change the patient’s mood and thoughts.

Singing bowl therapy

Founded in Asia, this form of sound therapy uses metallic bowls to create peaceful and calming sounds that can ease pain, strengthen the immune system, and improve mood.

Nordoff-Robbins technique

This sound therapy is aimed at children who may have learning difficulties or disabilities including autism or emotional trauma.

Tuning fork

A tuning fork is applied to specific parts of the body in this form of sound therapy as they can apply vibrations to release tension.

Vibroacoustic therapy

The patient lays or sits somewhere and speakers are placed on their body with the vibrations offering relief from pain, cancer, and strokes.

What Can You Use Sound to Treat?

woman listening to music

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Sound therapy has been proven to treat both mental and physical conditions, and there’s really no limit to what it can help you with. These are some common conditions that have reported success with the use of sound therapy.

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Mood swings and negative emotions
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    Autism and learning disabilities

In addition to being able to heal these conditions, the use of music and sound can be therapeutic for the body and mind. It has been said to bring clarity of mind, relaxation, aid with sleep, improve creativity, and a stronger awareness of the self.

Music For Your Ears and Health

woman wearing a headset and listening music

Image via: pixabay

Music is so powerful that it can be used in so many areas of our life, and not just for entertainment. This amazing source has the ability to get us up and dancing or crying some therapeutic tears, so it’s no wonder that it can heal our bodies and minds as well.

Sound therapy has been used for centuries and as we learn more about its benefits, we will likely see it used it so many other areas of healthcare. For a completely noninvasive and effective form of healing, sound therapy can be a great alternative for those looking for something gentle.


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