Many people use music to help regulate their mood - a certain type to energize for a workout, another type for focusing at work, and yet another for winding down after a long day. We know from experience that sound has a powerful impact on how we feel.
Sound is simply pressure waves traveling through the air. We call it "sound" when the frequency of the waves is in the range that can be picked up by our ears. Lower frequency vibrations that cannot be heard can sometimes be "felt" in the body: think of the feeling of standing next to speakers at a rock concert - the music sounds loud to your ears, and you can also feel the vibration from the speakers as it travels through the floor and into your feet and legs. Elephants communicate with each other from miles away by sending low frequency sounds into the earth.
At Welwynn, we incorporate sound and vibration into our program for addiction recovery through the Biosound Therapy system. A typical Biosound session starts with a short biofeedback session. The machine tracks the client breath and heart rate variability as they are coached to time their breath with an even sine wave and to develop a positive emotional state. After the Biofeedback portion, clients can choose from a variety of 15 to 60 minute long relaxation sessions. Some only use sound and vibration, and others also provide guided meditation and affirmations. Imagine the best vibrating massage chair working in perfect harmony with soothing music to bring you into a state of deep relaxation…. Mmmmmm…. For people in early recovery, it can be a revelation to experience relaxation without drugs or alcohol.
Clients fill out a quick assessment of their physical and mental state before and after the treatment. At Welwynn I've seen the Biosound help headaches, muscle main, anxiety, stress, and anger. Clients who are to upset to engage in therapy or are at risk for unsafe behavior tend to feel much more at peace after the treatment.
... and the clinicians like it too... Our Clinical Director has been known to take a break on the Biosound every once in awhile, and I'll sometimes come in early or stay late to get a session for myself.
While you might not have access to Biosound right now, I hope that this article inspires you to use music as a way to bring balance to your life. In addition to listening to music that you enjoy I can recommend a few affordable ways to explore sound therapy at home:
- Explore music with binaural beats. When you listen to binaural beats, you are actually listening to two slightly different pitched frequencies. Each frequency goes to each of your ears independently. When this happens your brain responds by creating a third tone, making up the difference between the two frequencies. This shift in frequency then shifts your brain’s state and changes how you feel. You can search for “binaural beats” on YouTube or Spotify to explore and find something that you like.
- Try a singing bowl. Allow your mind to focus on the sound and notice the effects. You also may be able to feel the vibration in certain areas of your body. Typically smaller bowls are higher frequency and affect the higher areas of the body, and larger bowls make a lower tone and can be felt lower in the body. Singing bowls can be purchased online or at Tibetan/Himalayan import stores.