Sound Therapy Talk

A video of a talk on sound therapy that I did recently in Augusta, GA:

I'd like to talk to you about something I've gotten intensely interested in, in the last few years, and that's sound therapy. I came to sound therapy by actually needing it myself. I found myself experiencing deep anxiety. Physiologically I was experiencing rapid heart rate, my breathing was short, my muscles were extremely tense. And to me, it literally felt like I was dying. Mentally it was equally as painful and almost psychedelic as I felt like I was really losing control of my reality...and as bad as all of that sounds, it was actually a wonderful blessing because it taught me so much about my mind, from the inside out, my body, and my spirit. And I learned about several tools that could help. Sound therapy turned out to be one of those great tools and I discovered that sound and music are not only great ways to entertain us, but that sound itself can also have many deep, therapeutic benefits for us, mentally and physically. The first thing I did following this experience was to start to read as many books as I could on neuroscience, psychology, spirituality. Basically anything that I could get my hands on that had to do with the mind. I wanted to come to a more grounded, scientific understanding of this experience, which seemed very mystical to me, and also convince myself, hopefully, that I wasn't completely insane, which I'm still working on.

The first book I read was on stress. And what caught my attention was a section that talked about our brainwave states and how they relate to our stress states, and how those brainwaves themselves are measured in hertz. Well this peaked my attention because, as a musician I use hertz as a measurement of sound all the time in my music. I use it for recording, performing, when we did a sound check here. So it's something I'm very familiar with and I found that brainwaves and sound waves are measured the exact same way. So we're literally creating frequency waves with our thoughts. We have four main brainwave states and they're Beta, which is our waking state, then into Alpha and Theta, which are more relaxed or meditative states, and then into Delta which is a deep sleep state. Each of those states has their own frequency range or frequency band and it's very similar to how the EQ on your stereo works from bass to treble, so there are ranges for each of those states. Sound therapy works because our mind has a natural response called the frequency following response and so when we hear a certain oscillation or frequency or sound that's in this frequency range, our mind naturally tends to synchronize with that state. So I found that when I was really in my really stressed out state, I was having a lot of random thoughts and it seemed out of control, and what I needed to do was bring my mind down and relax. And I found that sound therapy was a great tool for helping me do that.

What I found, also, was that with sound therapy, I could not only alter my brainwaves and relax more, but that when I relaxed those brainwaves, and mentally, that my body relaxed, my breathing relaxed, my heart rate relaxed, and my muscles were less tense. Stress, of course, is caused by the fight or flight response and I found for myself, that I was reacting to things in life with these stressful responses that I really didn't need to. So my body was producing chemicals like adrenalin and cortisol, and over time this was, of course, damaging health wise. Well, I discovered that our body has an opposite response which is called the relaxation response. And so by relaxing consciously, using sound therapy as one of those tools, I found that I not only started to not feel anxious, but that I started to feel better and better and better. Eventually I felt so good that when I was relaxing at night that I actually felt high or euphoric. So then I was a little concerned about this and I thought, 'I've gone too far.' So I went to the doctor to get it checked out and it turned out that everything was just fine. And then I realized that feeling good is a how I'm supposed to feel, and how we're supposed to feel!!

So I had a little epiphany from this whole experience that, physiologically speaking, that I am both the producer and the experiencer of stress. But physiologically speaking, that I'm also the producer and experiencer of good feelings like joy, euphoria, bliss, and that I have a choice by choosing the thoughts that I want to engage with and then how I'm going to react to those thoughts. And that I have that choice to basically feel good and to choose either fear and stress, or love for myself and others, and all of those good feelings that go with it. So that's really what I want to share. I think at the heart of it all, it's just the ability to relax deeply and sort of let go and just be. And I found that sound therapy was a wonderful tool for me in getting there. 

So just to recap:

Sound waves can alter our brainwaves.

By altering our brainwaves we can find deep states of relaxation.

By relaxing, (consciously, deliberately and regularly) we can create real and tangible benefits, physiologically and mentally. 

(Relaxing the mind and brainwaves can also relax the entire Parasympathetic Nervous System.) 

PNS = Brainwaves - Heart rate - Breathing

For sound downloads click here.
Just a personal note: There is nothing new under the sun. I am just attempting to present info. here that has helped me. I hope to present it in a clear way based on my experience with anxiety which was a spiritual, psychological and emotional awakening for me. In retrospect of this experience I have been reading as much as I could to come to a deeper and more grounded understanding of this seemingly mystical thing that happened to me (so that I could share it with you). I'm not a doctor or a scientist. Please know this is only my experience. Yours will obviously be different, but since my experience was so similar to others I've talked to, I am hoping this may be helpful or useful to you in some way. It's also a way that I hope to share the love with you. That is my purpose here.

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