Sound therapy, sound baths, ASMR… Sounds come in an array of forms, much to our benefit in terms of wellness. And knowing your music theory is not a requirement – just go with the flow of the positive vibes!
It all starts with a water-related observation. The human body is more than 70% water. Water means waves, vibrations and vibration dissemination. All of the cells in our bodies live in water and communicate with one another using the waves disseminated by this life-giving liquid. And because the body and mind are impacted positively by sound, sound therapy is very popular right now. Sound baths using Tibetan or crystal singing bowls are offered to remedy insomnia, depression, stress, pain, headaches and even tinnitus. Speech therapists trained in the Tomatis method use sound (the music of Mozart, to be exact) for various types of rehabilitation related to communication (verbal or even on paper).
Getting back to your roots through sound
There’s no lower or upper age limit to enjoy the benefits of sound, because those used are always harmless: not too loud, or too sharp, or too repetitive – but instead enveloping and harmonious, to the point of acting like a sound massage. The icing on the cake is that watsu treatments, as they are called, are carried out in water by a therapist with gentle movements, with the body supported by floats, to music. The therapist leads you and you’re able to totally let go, with your ears under water to hear the music played through it. The effect is powerful and rapid. Because plunged into this atmosphere that’s deliciously immersive or even regressive, you let your body take the lead over your mind. You get back to that ecstatic feeling of being in utero, letting go of yourself in a sensation of total safety. Even infants can enjoy the benefits of sound treatment. The link with their in-utero state is even easier to forge.
The human body and organs make sounds
The human body is a real concert hall. If you were to listen to all the internal noises made by your body 24 hours a day, you would think you were hearing the orchestra tune up at the Royal Albert Hall ! And while making these sounds non-stop, the body gives out vibrations, which are different for each organ. In perfect physical and/or mental health, a body can be likened to an orchestra playing in perfect harmony. But if an organ or cell tissues are not working correctly, they give out different vibrations. This is where sound therapy comes in, like a conductor aiming to restore this harmony. Trauma, impediments, knots and other types of disharmony are mitigated by sound vibrations, whether from singing bowls, gongs or other sources.
Sound… OK, but how?
Simply lying down on a mattress or yoga mat, or sitting in a comfy armchair, with your eyes closed, let yourself be led by the voice of the sound therapist who takes you on a kind of guided sound tour, like a meditation or sophrology session. Another option: if it’s a treatment using a Tibetan singing bowl (one of those little metal bowls that make various tones), the practitioner places the bowls on energy points like in acupuncture. They will activate the bowls, either simultaneously or one after the other, depending on the desired effect. Don’t be scared – there’s no risk attached. The worst that can happen is that an unpleasant sensation is triggered if the practitioner is not skilled at using their bowls. In that case, don’t hesitate to cut the session short. Take your time in getting up, since inappropriate or overly-abrasive sounds can cause dizziness, nausea or headaches in some cases.
When whispers come into play
No, this one is not a gimmick but a new practice, not yet referred to as therapy, which involves whispering and making all kinds of sounds ranging from scratching to stroking a microphone (most often with a brush) to tapping fingernails on a hard surface. With more than 10 million videos posted on social media, what’s known as ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) is a trend that has only been practised for a few years outside of professional meditation, sophrology and sound therapy circles. These fairly long sessions (15-40 minutes) claim to allow you to relax, unwind and let go. And since the brain loves these sounds, multisensorial reactions soon manifest themselves: sleepiness, shivers, yawning, etc.
So, are you sold on the idea? Then put together a playlist with the kinds of music that you find the most relaxing, and start your home sound therapy session. Lying down on your sofa, picture each part of your body being relieved of all of its weight on the surface of the sofa, starting with your heels and moving up to your head, while following the rhythm of the music. It’s highly likely that you’ll fall asleep…