A sound therapy treatment is both a passive and participatory experience. The passive aspect is that you become more relaxed by laying down and slowing your breath. By doing this, you prepare yourself to become the receiver of sound. It’s in this place of stillness that you participate by becoming more open and aware of each sound that comes in.
The Tomatis Method
In the 1940s, Dr. Alfred Tomatis, a French eye, ear, nose and throat specialist, discovered a way to rehabilitate people with damaged hearing by playing the sounds they could no longer hear using an electronic device that stimulated the muscles of the inner ear. In the course of his studies, Dr. Tomatis discovered that the same type of sound therapy could be used to treat a variety of disorders and even help improve memory, stimulate the imagination and improve learning ability.
Tomatis Method and other sound therapy practitioners use music therapy as part of their practice. Research has demonstrated that music can have profound physical and psychological effects. For example, aside from being uplifting and inspiring to listen to, Gregorian chants and the music of Mozart are believed to actually be able to increase one’s intelligence and may even have many health benefits.
Brain Wave Entrainment
Researchers have known for decades that the human brain emits frequencies within specific ranges or patterns. They have classified the four primary brainwave frequencies:
Brainwave entrainment is a method by which these states of consciousness are induced by introducing rhythmic sound frequencies that match the desired brainwave frequency. The brain then “entrains” to the frequency it is following and a shift in consciousness occurs. Brainwave entrainment is used for meditation, study, to help facilitate healing and much more.
Music is also being used to help with the alleviation of pain. There are a wide range of surgeons who now use sound therapy before, during, and after surgery. It has been shown to substantially reduce the amount of anaesthesia that is required. In a similar light, sound is also used to aid in both the birthing and dying processes. There are numerous tapes and CDs that have come out for making the birthing process smoother.
Drumming and Rhythm
There are drum and rhythm schools that use sound to facilitate all kinds of ends.
Chanting and Toning
Another more common technique is to teach people to resonate their body with their own voice. Chanting and toning are techniques for vibrating different areas of the body through singing.
Probably one of the largest areas of interest is that of Vibroacoustics. This is the application of sound to the body through special sound transmission devices such as sound chairs and sound massage tables.
Sound for the alleviation of learning disabilities
Sound is currently being used to help correct certain learning disabilities in children. There are numerous clinics across the world that is using the research of Dr. Tomatis to stimulate the brain and nervous system. For example, The Listening Program uses his technique whereby low frequencies are increasingly rolled off in classical music until only the high frequencies are left. Then all the frequencies are rolled back in until the full audio spectrum is again present. It has been proven that using this technique over a few weeks significantly aids in the reduction of learning disabilities.
Medical Uses of Sound
There exists a wide range of techniques that range from simple sound massage to what is termed “sound surgery” where sound is utilized inside the body. This includes placing highly precise tones within specific organs. Of course, ultrasound has been used for years to break up kidney stones or plaque on our teeth. This type of sound application is also being explored on other diseases such as cancer. Fabian Maman shows cancer being broken up with sound in one of his books. One of our instructors used sound to completely get rid of large breast cancer tumour. The tumour has now been gone for five years.
Using sound to destroy diseases is an aggressive form of sound surgery. Sound now being used more and more to help restore tissues to a healthy state of being by resonating the frequency of healthy tissues. Doctors have now figured out the resonant frequency of healthy organs. By applying the correct frequency to a diseased organ, the organ is entrained into a healthy state of vibration. Sound can also be used to massage organs. For example, when the heart has a disease it is known to “freeze up” and not move freely within its own sac. Applying sound to the heart at the right frequency massages the heart, loosening it up so that it can move more freely.
Sound and Visuals
One of the most interesting evolving areas within the field of sound work is the use of sound correlated with visuals. Hans Jenny has done research in the field called Cymatics, which explores the mandala-like patterns that sound creates in water molecules inside each cell of the body. Jenny vibrated sand on a metal plate with different frequencies and timbres to create a whole range of dynamically changing patterns. David Gibson, is developing a system where by 3D visuals of sounds can be placed inside the body in Virtual Reality. This is also leading the use of 3D visuals of all types of geometric forms being able to be placed throughout the body. Many are now studying the effect of different types of complex, geometric shapes on our psyche, body and spirit. This whole field is referred to as “sacred geometry.” The interesting thing is that various geometric shapes correlate mathematically to different types of chord structures in music.