“Music can change the world because it can change people.” Bono

I love music, and the right song can have me dancing around my kitchen or collapsed in tears over a sad memory.  Many people listen to music to fall asleep, or to enthuse them during a workout. Music can elicit many different reactions in your body and mind.  Sound therapy uses the evocative, inspiring power of music to help clients use those reactions to improve their physical and mental health.

Many illnesses are stress related.  Sound therapy, also called sound healing or music therapy, is a form of sensory therapy that uses aspects of music to reduce stress and improve physical and emotional health and general well-being.  Healing with sound is thought to date back to ancient Greece when music was used to treat specific mental disorders.  Music has been used to boost morale in military troops, help people work more efficiently, and to ward off evil spirits – especially accompanied with chanting.

Recently, research has linked the use of music to boosting people’s immune systems, lowering stress levels, and many other health benefits.

Types of sound therapy:

Guided meditation is a form of sound healing where you meditate to vocal instruction, chanting, repeated mantras, or prayers.  Meditation has been found to reduce stress, decrease anxiety and depression, improve memory, reduce blood pressure, reduce pain, lower cholesterol, and decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Neurologic music therapy can reduce stress and increase relaxation.  Studies have shown that music therapy can be more effective than prescription drugs in reducing anxiety levels before surgery.  Another study showed that a 30-minute music therapy session coupled with traditional care after spinal surgery reduced pain.  Music therapy, administered by a credentialed provider involves creating, listening, singing, or moving to music.  It is used for physical rehab, brain injuries and pain management.

Bonny method is named after Helen L. Bonny, PhD. and uses classical music and imagery for personal growth, the exploration of consciousness and transformation.  A study showed that a series of sessions could improve psychological and physiological health in adults who had medical and mental health issues.

Nordoff-Robbins is a sound healing method taught by musicians who have completed the Nordoff-Robbins two-year master’s program.  It is often used to treat children with developmental delays, learning difficulties, autism, and other conditions.


Tuning fork therapy uses calibrated metal tuning forks to apply specific vibrations to different parts of the body.  This can help release tension and energy.  It is similar to acupuncture, using sound vibrations to stimulate instead of needles.


Brainwave entrainment – this method stimulates the brain using pulsing sound to encourage your brain waves to align to the beat’s frequency.  It can enhance focus, relaxation, and sleep.


Sound Baths are one of the most common forms of sound therapy.  They use instruments like Tibetan sound bowls to promote relaxation with deep and slow melodies and frequencies


For more information, The British Academy of Sound Therapy (BAST) has been conducting research and teaching courses on sound therapy since 1994.  BAST teaches the courses at the University of Chichester in the U.K.  Many courses are virtual, but there are one or two intensive courses that are recommended be taken on campus. BAST.

The American Music Therapy Association, a national organization, is a good place to find certified music and sound therapists wherever you are. https://www.musictherapy.org/