Sound therapy to reduce anxiety mental health & depression

Deborah C. Escalante


Source: Pixabay

Studies show music can improve mood and reduce anxiety. More specifically, meaningful music shifts our neurobiology, tapping brain systems that involve emotion, sensation, attention, mood, and motivation. Music can also ease pain, lower heart rate, blood pressure, and other autonomic responses.

Music has long been used to reduce depression, generally in the mode of passive/receptive approaches, otherwise known as listening. In the last few decades, research on specific musical treatments that target frequency patterns in the brain has gained more mainstream notice. The field is known as Binaural Beats Music.

It’s All About Frequency

The Binaural Beats technology was discovered in 1839 by the German physicist Heinrich Wilhelm Dove. This approach involved using different sound frequencies and measuring brain changes. The binaural experience occurred when two sounds of different frequencies were released in a headset—each in one ear simultaneously—and how the brain adjusted to the sensory difference. What Dove discovered is that the brain perceived the experience by creating a single new frequency tone. And at different frequency levels, Dove noticed patients reported either alertness, restfulness, relaxation, and other such cognitive/emotional responses.

Binaural Beats was further studied in 1973 at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. Scientists there used the Binaural Beats technology and blended them into music—which resulted in patients experiencing a variety of physical and emotional benefits. From there, Binaural Beats has evolved into a form of music therapy that can offer significant benefits for improving mood, concentration, attention, and sleep.

Understanding Frequency Levels

Studies show that Binaural Beats at specific frequency levels offer different experiences.

  • Delta pattern: Binaural beats in the delta pattern operate at a frequency of 0.5–4 Hz. Studies show that using this pattern can encourage deeper stages of sleep.
  • Theta pattern: Binaural Beats in the theta pattern operate at a frequency of 4–-7 Hz. Theta patterns improved relaxation, mood, and creativity.
  • Alpha pattern: Binaural Beats in the alpha pattern are at a frequency of 7–13 Hz and have been shown to promote relaxation.
  • Beta pattern: Binaural Beats in the beta pattern are at a frequency of 13–30 Hz. This frequency improves concentration and alertness. However, it can also increase anxiety at the higher end of the range, so one needs to be mindful about using this kind of music.
  • Gamma pattern: This frequency pattern accounts for a range between 30–50 Hz. Studies show that these frequencies promote maintenance of arousal while a person is awake. So if you want to be alert and improve concentration, Gamma is where that’s at.

Binaural Beats for Depression

For easing the symptoms of depression, listening to Binaural Beats with alpha, delta, or theta music can offer the following benefits:

  1. Deep relaxed state
  2. Improved mood
  3. Improved motivation
  4. Improved sleep cycle
  5. Increased focus
  6. Reduced anxiety

How to Use Binaural Beats

There are several items you will need to buy to experience Binaural Beats Music. You must also spend time exploring this holistic approach. Lastly, Binaural Beats Music is cautioned for adults who may have heart issues or epilepsy. So checking in with your medical physician is a good idea before trying any holistic approach.

Having said the aforementioned, these are the things you need to do:

  • Do some reading about Binaural Beats Music so you can develop realistic expectations about how and what this music therapy can offer. Keep in mind that it is not a traditional treatment or clinical approach to treating depression. It is holistic.
  • If you’ve decided to try Binaural Beats Music, make sure you’re not going to do tasks that require attention, like driving or working during or shortly after listening.
  • To experience Binaural Beats Music, you will need a pair of stereo earbuds or headphones. While you can listen to this music without earphones, it will not offer the same benefits.
  • You will also need to download Binaural Beats Music on iTunes or another digital music library or purchase CDs from Binaural recording artists, music therapists like Steven Halpern, or music researchers like Joshua Leeds.
  • Many artists allow you to listen to their music before buying, which allows you to create specific playlists. And remember to choose a frequency of Binaural Beats that you’re interested in experiencing.
  • When you’re ready with your earphones and music, find a quiet or restful space to listen to your music.
  • Listen to a track of your liking and allow the music and the vibration frequency experience to move through you.
  • Your experience may be immediate, or you may find yourself slowly moving into the reported benefits after a few songs.
  • If you experience any negative effects, headache, restlessness, or boredom, this holistic approach may not be for you.

Depression and Sound Therapy

When depression gets a hold of you and colors all aspects of your life it’s sometimes hard to reach out for help—but now you’ve found Sound Therapy…

What is depression?

We all have days when we feel sad or in a bit of a low mood. This will usually shift after some physical activity, interaction or overcoming a problem.

However, when feelings of sadness and hopelessness occur for long periods of time — weeks or months or years — it is called depression. Depression may occur for no apparent reason, making it very hard to address. Depression is a serious condition which can affect both your physical and mental health.

Depression affects how you feel about yourself and can lead to self-doubt and poor self- esteem. It is a very common problem which may be triggered by stressful life-events, setbacks or relationship or employment issues. It may be related to health, hormones, drug use or chemical imbalances due to environmental effects.

“The nicest effect perhaps of the program for me however, is the way in which I find myself just feeling happy, quite frequently, for no particular reason. This is in contrast to feelings of sadness, a…”

Alison Hamilton, South Australia – Read More

Depression and the brain

It’s well known now that depression results from a chemical imbalance, but the exact interactions of brain chemistry is very complex and still not well understood. We do know that it has something to do with the way some of our neurochemicals, including dopamine and serotonin are produced and used within the brain. These neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) are related to our sense of upliftment and happiness.

Altering these chemicals with pharmaceutical drugs can be very effective but may also have difficult side effects or long-term impacts on health. The difficulty is that it is not simply a matter of one chemical being too high and another too low.

It is more complicated than that, as depression may have many possible causes, such as faulty mood regulation by the brain, genetic vulnerability, stressful life events, medications, and health problems in general. In so many cases, it is the combination of several of these forces interacting together which will result in depression. In fact, there are millions, even billions of chemicals interacting, both inside and outside our nerve cells as part of the dynamic system which affects our moods and perceptions.

Another way of looking at it is that depression is a lowered energy state where neurological responses become sluggish and the person’s life force is diminished.

“Sound Therapy has given me more than I could have asked for or expected, I have suffered serious Post Natal Depression for almost 18 months involving hospital and loads of medication but in the last c…”

Yasmin Hibbins, Victoria – Read More

A safe, drug-free solution

The good news is that the body has a natural drive and ability for self-healing if just given the right inputs. While chemicals are intricately involved in the process, there is growing evidence that stimulating our sensory systems can affect the way our brain produces and uses chemicals.

Sound Therapy has been found to help to support those suffering from depression by bombarding the ear and brain with mega doses of high-frequency sounds. These are in fact high energy vibrations, which can help to lift the listener’s state of vitality. It is also possible that Sound Therapy may stimulate the brain to begin naturally producing and utilizing some of the neurotransmitters that create positive emotional states. It is common for Sound Therapy listeners to report greater states of well-being, happiness, and an end to depressed feelings.

In addition, the specific stimulation of the left brain has been found to be an important part of the therapeutic impact on depression. Research on the effects of meditation has shown that prolonged practice of meditation stimulates certain centers in the left forebrain that stimulate feelings of happiness and peace. Sound Therapy’s direct stimulation of the left brain through the increased high-frequency sound input to the right ear has been observed to have a similar effect.

In research specifically on Tomatis Sound Therapy, a long-term study over 14 months (Du Plesis, 1982) with subjects carefully chosen from a survey of 424 people showed improved mental health and self-actualization for both 10 anxious and 10 non-anxious people as compared to a control group.


Make an informed choice—get the eBook

After 26 years in the Sound Therapy field, we really understand stress and depression and what it means to live with these conditions. Every week we hear from our listeners thanking us for the relief they have found. Listeners have reported quite dramatic changes in their mood, their overall sense of wellbeing and happiness and their sense of fulfillment in life.

If you would like to learn more in-depth about how Sound Therapy helps depression, order Rafaele Joudry’s FREE eBook here and benefit from her decades of experience helping thousands of listeners with Sound Therapy.

Or call and speak to one of our qualified Sound Therapy consultants right away.

Start listening to Sound Therapy and start feeling better today!

What is music therapy?

Sound healing therapy uses aspects of music to improve physical and emotional health and well-being. The person being treated partakes in the experience with a trained practitioner. Music therapy may involve:

  • listening to music
  • singing along to music
  • moving to the beat of the music
  • meditating
  • playing an instrument

Healing with sound is believed to date back to ancient Greece, when music was used in an attempt to cure mental disorders. Throughout history, music has been used to boost morale in military troops, help people work faster and more productively, and even ward off evil spirits by chanting.

More recently, research has linked music to a number of health benefits, from boosting immune function and lowering stress levels to improving the health of premature babies.

What music therapy treats

Music therapy is used to treat symptoms of a number of conditions, including:

  • anxiety disorders
  • depression
  • post-traumatic stress disorder
  • dementia
  • autism spectrum disorder and learning difficulties
  • behavioral and psychiatric disorders
  • cancer

Some of the supposed benefits of music therapy include:

  • lowers stress
  • decreases mood swings
  • lowers blood pressure
  • lowers cholesterol levels
  • teaches pain management
  • lowers risk for coronary artery disease and stroke
  • improves sleep

How it works

Music therapy uses different aspects of sound to improve your emotional and physical well-being. How it works depends on the method being used. Most music therapy sessions are experienced one-on-one with a specially trained practitioner.

A session may involve sitting or lying down while listening to music or sounds from a speaker or instruments, or having vibrations applied using a special tool, such as a tuning fork. Depending on the method, you may be encouraged to participate by singing, moving, or even using a musical instrument, or you may need to remain still and quiet to let the sounds take effect.

Healing instruments

Along with voice, the following are some of the different instruments used in music therapy:

  • singing bowls
  • tuning forks
  • pan flute
  • harp
  • drums

Some methods use a variety of instruments in one session, which can include a guitar, piano, or other instrument.

The takeaway

Though evidence may be limited on some methods, music therapy has been found to be effective for stress reduction and relaxation and has been shown to offer many health benefits.

There is little risk to listening to music. Find the sounds that work for you.

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