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  • Writer's pictureamyk73

Creating Harmony in Healing with Sound Therapy

We are surrounded by sound every day. As we move through our day, many sounds pass us by without much notice. We simply tune out noise over time as familiar patterns become woven into the fabric of our daily routines. The sound of lawns being mowed, birds singing, a train passing by or general work provide the backdrop to our activities that we usually don't hear in full focus, if at all. We shift our focus to noise when its different and outside these normal patterns calling for our attention to the present. A baby waking from a nap, a nearby emergency vehicle, or the phone ringing.

Sound, regardless of us hearing it directly or not, influences us. It can invoke feelings, increase motivation, anxiety, nervousness, or help in relaxation. It can be supportive and comforting when we are upset, lonely or they can be disruptive to our thoughts. No one can deny the comfort of having at least some background noise from a TV or playlist in an otherwise quite house. Memories can also be brought to the surface with sounds we may not have heard in a long time. Your wedding song for example. There are physical aspects triggered by sound as well. Sound can increase or decrease our draw to food, sleep, and exercise.

It is understanding sound's role in our lives that we can then start to see how it can help or hinder our health goals and healing progress. Using rhythmic vibrations is a profound form of therapy that transcends language and culture and speaks to us at a cellular, spiritual, emotional and mental level all at once. We can be transformed by the changes in sound that swirl around us.

Sound therapy has been used for centuries to promote health across the pillars of health (mind, body, emotions and spirit). It is here that this special energy medicine can enhance the experience of health and well-being where other methods cannot reach the depth needed for healing to occur.

What is Sound Therapy?

First, I believe its important to realize sound therapy is not new. For centuries it has been used to support health, well-being, including spiritual healing and cleansing, emotional processing, mental clarity and peace as well as physical healing. I don't know that we fully understand all of what sound can bring to our health but there is demonstrated proof it stimulates healing, changes moods, supports sleep, and so much more.

"At the heart of sound therapy lies the belief that everything in the universe is in a state of vibration, including our bodies. Leveraging and aligning the vibrations we need for healing can be a powerful shift in our health and well-being." - Amy Kramer, Board Certified Naturopathic Doctor

Sound therapy is a specific technique of using vibrational sounds in certain order, rhythm, or pattern to invite response. Sometimes it is not instant and takes time to reach deep enough into the body but when the right frequency is reached change does occur almost all of the time in living beings. From plants, snowflakes, animals, trees, and people we are all moved by the vibrational patterns occurring in and around us all the time. Using sound therapy helps to balance these frequencies to allow rehabilitation and support to flow into our being which can stimulate healing, redirection, restoration, and balance.

Using sound therapy requires us to know about our own frequency and then aligning supportive frequencies around us to lift, soothe, comfort, break-up, or relax the energies we are experiencing. Remarkedly, even individuals with hearing impairments can use sound therapy as the vibrations speak to the body itself and can provide much needed relief to physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs.

There are many methods of sound therapy. Some of the more common means used in natural medicine are music, singing bowls, drums, and even wind. For example, when you stand on a beach listening to the surf and hear the wind push the water in and out over the sand. This is a form of vibrational energy that is instrumental music and soothing for the nervous system. It is why so many people find relaxation going to the beach!

What is a Sound Bath?

A sound bath is a deeply relaxing experience where an individual is immersed fully into a series of sounds. The experience is similar to being floated in a pool of water and provides a deep relaxation result that calms the nervous system and can allow the body to shift from stimuli and reaction to repairing and healing. All other stimuli is limited in order t allow the mind, emotions, spirit and body to fully focus on the sounds in present moment.

Sound baths promote mindfulness and relaxation that are meditative in nature. The experience should be conducted by a trained holistic health practitioner to provide a safe space for the individual to fully relax and emerge renewed, refreshed and relaxed. The practitioner may use a variety of tools to create the sound bath including singing bowls, frequency music, tuning forks, chants, gongs or triangles.

Where an individual has significant trauma or other concerns it can take time to lean into the sound bath in order to enjoy it or find it calming. Sound therapy should never hurt or be uncomfortable. If it is at any point in time, the session should be paused as the vibrational sounds have worked too quickly and overwhelmed the body's nervous system creating stress. This opposite effect can cause further complications in an individual's health so again I cannot emphasize enough the importance of using a trained practitioner. They can work with you to the levels you are able to achieve and build up to a full sound bath as you are ready.

"Sound therapy should never hurt or be uncomfortable. If at any point it is, the session should end or if its a group class get up and leave! This is why it is so important to only get sound therapy from a trained practitioner. - Amy Kramer, Board Certified Naturopathic Doctor

Emerging from a sound bath is similar to coming out of a warm bath where you move slowly to reawaken the body. Hydration is also recommended afterwards to help the body flush out toxins loosened from the sound bath in order to promote increased flow of energy in the body's pathways.

Some of the typical sensations and effects you may experience emerging out of a sound bath include:

  • Tingling throughout the body as energy flows more freely

  • Sleepiness as energy is rebalanced

  • Relaxed as if you had a massage

  • Heightened awareness in your senses

  • Clarity and peacefulness of mind

  • Raised levels of gratitude

  • Bright light sensitivity

  • Renewed energy level

Each of us respond differently to sound therapy and sound baths. It is important to recognize what your body is saying after this experience and honor those messages with the right support.

After a sound bath or sound therapy I personally recommend my clients take the following actions:

  • Move to the pace your body feels right

  • Take a nap if you need

  • Drink good quality water. I typically recommend distilled water after sound baths

  • Make your next meal highly nutritious with emphasis on vegetables

  • Avoid caffeine for the next 24 hours

  • Have a flexible schedule

  • Journal as thoughts and dreams come up over the next few days

Sound Therapy and the Benefits of Silence

Even silence has a sound. The absence of noise is still a powerful noise that is often very uncomfortable for many but soothing to others. It can be shocking when you "come out of noise" and it is necessary to give the body time to adjust. Being able to do this is where we find increased ability to adjust to stressful situations without escalating emotions, reactionary actions, and over thinking.

Part of the reason many people are uncomfortable with silence is the same reason as someone finding pain or discomfort in a sound bath. Our bodies tell us when things don't feel right and different support is needed. The inability to sit in silence or in a silent space simply means we have other work needed before we are able to immerse in this type of experience and have it be effective.

Sound therapy works across the pillars of our health so when we struggle to sit and enjoy silence it means there is imbalance in our pillars. It could be big or small but until that balance is restored we will not find comfort in this type of setting. The same is true of sound bathing. They can however work together to help us measure progress of rebalancing this energy and helping the body repair.

I like to combine sound bathing with exercises my clients do in their home afterwards. Usually I see clients who cannot go a minute sitting in silence or having silence around them. Their minds are going everywhere, they think of all the things they need to do and it becomes frustrating quickly. Some will even describe it similar to a child being sent to timeout and fighting that.

After one or two sound therapy sessions though we revisit this exercise of silence. I ask my clients to begin working on sitting in silence. No music, no TV, no sound of any kind. Even putting on noise canceling headphones can help in this exercise. Then close your eyes and see how long you can go. Those that couldn't go more than a minute find they can go a little longer and it builds more and more each time we do a sound therapy session.

The reason for this shift is we are restoring energy balance in the body. We are also supporting healing of the nervous system so it can reset more frequently. It helps us break with stress periodically and adjust more evenly to different stimuli without pressuring the body. That creates the ability to promote mindfulness and reduces overall anxiety and stress we carry daily in our routines.

This works very well in developing the skill of meditation and using these types of tools to help tune in to our own intuition and guidance. We begin to use sound therapy and silence to help support our health on a deeper level and this is where vibrational frequencies really go into what scientists fail to explain. The energy medicine realm explains it as connection with nature through Earth's own nervous system connecting to our own so we can heal on deeper levels. This is where practices like grounding, sound therapy, Reiki and other modalities excel at supporting health.

Ready to explore it in your own health?

Sound therapy is offered for in-person sessions only at Dragonspit Apothecary.

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