Sound therapy covers a range of treatments, from music therapy to sound baths, according to Nada Milosavljevic, M.D., founder of the Integrative Health Program at Massachusetts General Hospital. Like massage therapy, which delivers healing through touch, it’s a form of sensory therapy, and it has been used by various cultural groups for centuries. The most prominent form practiced in the U.S. is music therapy, but the use of individual sounds and frequencies has been growing. Essentially, sound and music are noninvasive, simple, and cost-effective therapeutic tools.
Various flavors of sound healing differ much like other forms of therapy. Sound baths are one of the most common; according to Sara Auster, sound therapist and author of Sound Bath: Meditate, Heal and Connect Through Listening, sound baths use instruments like bowls to initiate “a deeply immersive, full-body listening experience.” There’s music therapy, which uses therapist-guided sounds to enhance memory and alleviate stress. Binaural beats, yet another form, involves playing two separate tones in each ear, which are perceived as a single, almost euphoric tone by the brain. Other forms of sound therapy work much in the same way—sound eases, energizes, and empowers us.