Sound Therapy: Music As Medicine To Improve Mental Health And Well-Being

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Jun. 6 2024, Published 8:00 a.m. ET

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There’s something about music that speaks to us at a subconscious level. If you’ve ever found yourself swaying to a melody or seen a child soothed with a lullaby, you’ve experienced this connection to sound. The rhythms and melodies of music inspire feelings of happiness, love, nostalgia, and sadness, among many others. 

More than just tugging at our emotions, sound can also improve our health. Research reveals that listening to different sounds has a positive effect on our minds and bodies. If you’re looking for a simple way to reduce your stress and improve your well-being, it’s worth exploring sound therapy.

How Sound Therapy Works

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Source: Sara Auster

The theory behind sound therapy states that cells have frequencies and bodies have rhythms that respond to sound vibrations. In an interview with Her Agenda, Sara Auster, a world-renowned sound therapist, meditation teacher, and author of SOUND BATH: Meditate, Heal, and Connect Through Listening, explained the connection between sound and our bodies. 

Auster said that sound constantly affects our bodies by “literally changing the rhythms of the organ systems in our bodies in response to the external rhythms of sound.” She went on to say that this happens so quickly we don’t usually notice. 

Since this is a natural reaction, Auster added that sound can be used as a tool: sound waves guide meditation to calm the body. This provides “soothing stimulation to the body, and that helps the body feel safe enough to drop into a meditative state quickly and deeply.”

Sound therapies, such as sound baths, don’t require much from you aside from listening. Auster believes they are a good alternative to meditation because you can experience benefits within one session. She compared meditation and sound baths to taking the stairs versus taking an elevator; they both get you to the same destination but one is faster.

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The Benefits Of Sound Therapy

Sound therapies offer several health benefits that improve mental and physical well-being. These include:

Increased Feelings Of Relaxation: Listening to specific sound frequencies can slow down your breathing and decrease your heart rate, leading to feelings of calm and relaxation. 

Improved Mental Health: Along with feeling calmer and more relaxed, sound therapies are effective at combating stress and anxiety. When speaking about benefits, Auster referred to a study by Tamara Goldsby. This study found using Tibetan singing bowls and other instruments significantly reduced tension, anger, fatigue, anxiety, and depression.

Pain Relief: Several studies report that sound therapies have been shown to help with various types of pain including fibromyalgia, arthritis, muscle pain, menstrual pain, and postoperative pain. 

Improved Heart Health: A 2020 study found that sound therapies involving vibrational instruments reduced blood pressure and stress indicators. Since cardiovascular disease is linked to chronic stress and high blood pressure, you decrease your risk when you lower your levels.

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What To Consider Before Getting Started

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Source: Pexels

As with most types of therapy, everyone’s experience with sound therapy will probably look and feel a little different. Auster mentions that your emotional state, previous traumas, and memories will all affect your session. She offered the following advice when looking for the right therapy:

Educate Yourself: Research different methods and techniques to find one you think will be a good fit. The more you know about what is available, the better informed you’ll be, and the more likely to choose a therapy that will serve you well. 

Look For A Safe Environment: According to Auster, the sound facilitator’s priority should be ensuring your safety during sessions. She said, “Sound can deeply affect your nervous system, and there are both harmful and beneficial ways in which this can happen. Find out about the environment: Will mats and/or eye masks be provided? How many people will be there? If you tend not to enjoy big crowds, you might want to look for a one-on-one session or a small group.”

If you prefer to try sound therapy at home, you can look for virtual classes or try an app like the Pause app, developed by Auster.

Find A Trained Practitioner: You want a facilitator who has proper training and understands your needs and any limitations you may have. Auster suggests asking about their training and experience. She recommends looking for practitioners who have worked with many different types of groups and have experience with others like you. 

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Marta Kargol
By: Marta Kargol

Marta Kargol is a former educator turned freelance copywriter who brings a unique blend of storytelling and clarity to her writing. She believes effective communication shapes ideas and focuses her efforts on finding creative ways to simplify complex topics. Marta uses her writing skills to help small businesses and solopreneurs share their purpose with authenticity. She is passionate about education, self-improvement, work-life balance, and wellness, all aspects of a holistic approach to success in life. When she isn’t writing, Marta enjoys traveling the world to experience new cultures. Learn more at or reach out directly at

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