A new tool for stress relief: Acoustic Therapy

“Stress can be defined as the brain’s response to any demand. Many things can trigger this response, including change. Changes can be positive or negative, as well as real or perceived. They may be recurring, short-term, or long-term and may include things like commuting to and from school or work every day, traveling for a yearly vacation, or moving to another home. Changes can be mild and relatively harmless, such as winning a race, watching a scary movie, or riding a rollercoaster. Some changes are major, such as marriage or divorce, serious illness, or a car accident. Other changes are extreme, such as exposure to violence, and can lead to traumatic stress reactions.”
The National Institute for Mental Health

According to Jay Winner, MD, author of Take the Stress Out of Your Life and director of the Stress Management Program for Sansum Clinic in Santa Barbara, the 10 most common stress-related illnesses are heart disease, asthma, obesity, diabetes, headaches, depression/anxiety, gastrointestinal problems, Alzheimer’s disease, accelerated aging, and premature death.

Common warning signs and symptoms of stress include:

  • Dizziness, general aches and pains, grinding teeth, clenched jaws, headaches, indigestion, muscle tension, difficulty sleeping, racing heart, ringing in the ears, stooped posture, sweaty palms, tiredness, exhaustion, trembling, weight gain or loss, upset stomach
  • Constant worry, difficulty making decisions, forgetfulness, inability to concentrate, lack of creativity, loss of sense of humor, poor memory
  • Anger, anxiety, crying, depression, feeling powerless, frequent mood swings, irritability, loneliness, negative thinking, nervousness, sadness
  • Bossiness, compulsive eating, critical attitude of others, explosive actions, frequent job changes, impulsive actions, increased use of alcohol or drugs, withdrawal from relationships or social situations

Acoustic Therapy is a way to deal with stress and its symptoms that combines the benefits of meditation with external cues that alter the brainwaves. Also known as Sound Therapy and Tonal Healing, it can take many forms – Auric Brain Balancing, a la HemiSync; Binaural Beats; listening to rhythmic music of the appropriate speed; AVE, or Audio-visual entrainment; the chanting of monks (Tibetan, Gregorian, or Benedictine are those most often cited), or even your own chanting; singing bowls, whether the five-metal bowls or the newer, crystal variant; some classical music, most especially Mozart; and more…

Acoustic Therapy works by shifting the brainwaves, putting the listener into a meditative state, and allowing new neuron patterns to form. You can find practitioners, download MP3s, purchase CDs, listen to videos on YouTube, or go to public/group meditation events. I even offer such a group event, using the crystal singing bowls, on the fourth Wednesday of the month in Canyon Country, CA., at the northern end of LA County.

More resources:

This is part of a weekly series on Stress that publishes every Wednesday.

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