Sound therapy: What it is and how people use it to heal

Psychologists say sound therapy can help a person reach meditative state

Here's a look at what sound therapy is and how people are using it to find peace and heal.

Experts have known for a long time that music or movement really promotes psychological healing.

Now many are turning to sound therapy as a way to heal from some of the effects of the pandemic.

“Sound healing is a practice that allows us to use vibrations and frequencies to promote relaxation and actually emotional and physical healing in the body,” said Dr. Rose Moten, a psychologist.

A woman using a bowl to make sound during a sound therapy session. (WDIV)

Dr. Moten is using the practice a lot these days in addition to traditional therapy as a way to help patients heal from trauma, especially after what many have experienced this past year dealing with the effects of COVID.

“We have individuals who come in and report that they had chronic uncontrolled asthma and that their asthma improved,” she said. “What we do know is asthma has a very strong connection and correlation to psychosomatic and emotional distress. People say the issues are in the tissues, and so just anything that ails you emotionally or physically can be benefitted from this.”

A sound healing therapy session typically lasts 45 minutes, or up to an hour, during which patients are completely immersed and surrounded by sound.

“Healing instruments that really serve to help the person get into the deep meditative, mindful state which is where the healing and wellness starts to occur,” said Moten.

It is derived from meditation and often works for people who’ve tried meditating in the past and found it didn’t work for them. The sound instruments help you shut off your thoughts.

“We talk about the reentry anxiety a lot of folks have, going not just back into the workplace but back into the world, and that’s a real thing,” said Moten. “Individuals who are able to come here, you know, they are able to work through and process a lot of anxiety. Maybe it was anxiety they picked up during the pandemic.”

It’s even been found to help treat children suffering from stress and anxiety.

“Children, amazingly, are able to go to a meditative state a lot sooner, a lot quicker than adults are. The parents report better focus, more improved sleep,” said Moten. “Children who have experienced grief, we have parents who bring children in who’ve experienced grief, the loss of a loved one and they say it’s helping with the grieving process. Learning -- we get reports that it’s helping children just learn better and be more open and focused and attentive in the educational and academic environment.”

Experts also believe when sound therapy is combined with other forms of therapy, the benefits can be even greater.

More mental health articles: Mental Health Matters section