Did you know that about 20% of people in the U.S. already experience a mental illness in any given year? Furthermore, over 50% will get diagnosed with one at some point in their lifetime. Some of the most common are anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Fortunately, common mental illnesses are manageable with medications and therapy. The latter may even contribute to their prevention.
Sound healing therapy is one such method used as a treatment for mental illnesses. However, it may also help promote better mental health in general. So, even those without a diagnosed disorder can partake in this guided music therapy.
But what exactly can this type of sound-based therapy do for you?
Below, we’ve listed the many potential ways sound healing benefits people, so read on.
Listening to music is one of the best ways to relax, a fact that science backs up. For instance, scientists found that music interventions have a significant stress-reducing effect.
That’s why sound therapy sessions involve listening to or making peaceful sounds. The source can be a speaker, instruments, or specialized tools, like tuning forks.
Depending on the method, participants may lie still, sing, chant, or move along to the sounds.
For example, during a sound bath session, participants lie down on a yoga mat. Then, a practitioner who has completed sound bath training plays instruments. These may include gongs, healing bowls, and tuning forks.
Those instruments produce resonant sounds and soothing vibrations. When you focus on these, you may find yourself relaxing and feeling less stressed and tense.
Do a quick online search for “how to calm down,” and you’re sure to see guides advising listening to calming music. After all, it’s a tried and tested method that helps by releasing happy hormones.
One such hormone released by listening to music is dopamine. In such situations, the hormone can make the surrounding environment more attractive. Since being somewhere nice makes people happy, they’re likely to have a better mood.
Endorphin and oxytocin are two other happy hormones tied to pleasant sounds. Like dopamine, they have an association with pleasure and happiness. Scientists say listening to music triggers their release.
You may wonder why you even have to go to therapy if you can listen to any music you love anywhere. One reason is that sound healing therapy occurs in a conducive environment. In this setting, there are much fewer distractions that may impair your focus.
Also, remember that sound therapy practitioners have undergone training. For instance, they have the skills necessary to play the healing instruments. But if someone untrained plays them, the sound could be more annoying than relaxing.
People with mental illness are often more prone to pain conditions and vice versa. Indeed, up to 60% of people with chronic pain also exhibit signs of depression.
Sound healing therapy may help relieve the symptoms of both conditions. As mentioned above, listening to pleasant sounds reduces stress while releasing happy hormones. That can help people with depression, as they often have deficient dopamine levels.
Sound healing therapy may further help ease pain by creating positive emotions. The relaxing sounds used may also shift brain activity away from pain patterns. So instead of focusing on the pain, participants concentrate on the positive.
You may have heard of the saying “use it or lose it” when referring to muscles. The same principle applies to the brain. Without brain activity, its cells can’t establish and maintain connections.
When you listen to or play music, it activates the brain’s memory areas. It may also help create new memories. Both, in turn, benefit the brain because they work out the brain and, thus, utilize its cells.
Sound healing may boost those benefits, as it involves listening to and playing music. For one, it teaches your brain new things, such as processing sounds you’ve never heard until a session. It also helps challenge your brain by allowing you to learn how to play a new instrument.
There’s no proof that stress alone can cause long-term high blood pressure levels. However, it’s a well-known cause of short-term BP increases.
Unfortunately, a short-term, massive spike in BP levels can be enough to trigger a heart attack. It can also damage the heart, kidneys, and blood vessels.
Since sound healing therapy has stress-reducing effects, it may help keep your BP in check. Pair it with other stress busters, such as exercise and yoga, and you may enjoy even better results.
Sound processing starts in the brainstem. This is the same area that controls heartbeat and respiration rate.
That connection could explain why relaxing music can help slow heart rate. Likewise, it’s one of the possible reasons calming sounds can slow one’s breathing rate.
For reference, an adult’s normal resting heart rate is between 60 and 80 beats per minute. As for respiration, it’s between 12 and 20 breaths per minute.
You want a normal resting heart rate as it implies your heart beats more efficiently. It’s also a sign of a healthy heart, which may return to baseline faster after physical activity.
A healthy respiration rate indicates proper and efficient lung functioning. For example, it signals your lungs are delivering adequate oxygen throughout your body.
Since sound therapy uses relaxing music, it may help you achieve better heart and lung health.
As you’ve learned in this guide, sound healing therapy may help reduce stress and boost moods. It may also serve as a form of pain reliever while also benefiting your heart, lungs, and BP.
All that should be a good enough reason to partake in a sound healing therapy session. You can join a group or schedule a one-on-one session with a trained practitioner.
If you like this article, we have more informative content to share with you. So, browse our latest guides for more physical and mental health tips!