The role of sound in the Mental Magic Technique
Whilst Mental Magic is not classed as a music therapy, the technique has an important recorded sound component at its heart. Adding another enjoyable dimension to the sensorial element to the treatment.
Music has always played a large therapeutic part in our psyche, without us even knowing it
Think sound effects and tracks on movies, that tell us how to think or feel. Or loud upbeat band music, boosting morale in military troops. Lullabies to calm and sooth babies. Choirs or even chants, uplifting souls in religious settings. And one of the most beautiful recent discoveries, to aid people living with dementia, to bring back memories and a sense of peace. Without realising it, humans (and sometimes even animals) are affected in a variety of ways by different sounds. There is plenty of scientific evidence to back this up. There have been many studies, for example on the combination of the gentle martial arts exercise of Tai chi, or tai chi Chuan with the use of singing bowls, bells or gongs. I sometimes use tracks featuring these in the background of my therapy.
Sound and music can contribute holistically for a range of emotional, mental
and even some physical ailments
It's been credited with excellent results in the treatment of several conditions, and can sometimes present an extraordinary range of healing specific benefits including; helping dementia patients reduce confusion and distress, assisting those with learning disabilities including Autism spectrum disorders by reducing aggression and sensory overload - and as we discussed previously on the home page, anxiety, depression, PTSD, pain management, sleep issues, pain management and the list goes on.
Sound therapy cannot cure, treat or prevent any type of disease, including cancer. But some research shows that the use of music therapy can help people with cancer reduce their anxiety. It can also help to improve quality of life and reduce symptoms and side effects). In other words, anything that helps you enter a more relaxed state will help reduce inflammation and boost your healing response, which will immediately benefit your physical and mental health.
Even without giving you the science of sound vibration, there's plenty of evidence to show that sound and musical therapy encourages relaxation and brings your body into a parasympathetic state. This is where our bodies produce nitric oxide, which opens blood vessels, increases the efficiency of our cells, and regulates blood pressure. All of which will aid your healing response.
Sound therapy has also proven to be beneficial in other physical ways such as
Fewer mood swings
Lower blood pressure
Lower cholesterol levels
Reduced risk of strokes and coronary artery disease
As part of the technique I will use (mainly recorded) sound effects and music...
As well as sound effects during the meditational and (optional) hypnosis part of the treatment, I use anxiety-reducing solfeggio frequencies (and occasionally binaural beats).
Solfeggio frequencies were thought to have been created by a monk in the 11th century and used in Gregorian chants. There are at least six original solfeggio and they all have different purposes.
Research on the benefits of solfeggio frequencies is slim, but optimistic:
One thesis study found on Research Gate conducted on solfeggio frequencies found that “music and sound is useful in enhancing therapies to transform the brain and relieve mental, emotional, and physical suffering.”
One study published in Health in 2018 found that people who listened to a 528 Hz frequency saw a decrease in cortisol levels, tension-anxiety, stress, and total mood disturbance and an increase in oxytocin levels.
One study published in ACTA Paulista de Enfermagem in 2012, albeit small, found that “the use of Gregorian chant decreased the state of anxiety of the mothers of hospitalized children in a quaternary care paediatric hospital.”
Similarly, to Solfeggio frequencies, binaural beats use certain frequencies of sound to create health benefits. Binaural beats are known to change your brain waves to place you in certain kinds of mental states. These usually involve the use of headphones or separate speakers at either side of the head.
In both Solfreggio and binaural studies, I am willing to admit there is a need for more scientific study, however on a personal note I use these sound frequencies for around eight hours a night on a low volume to assist with the terrible night terrors I (use to) suffer. And remember, the science of the overall positive effects of sound and music is indisputable in terms of mood, relaxation and its benefits.
Sound therapy isn’t a new thing!
In Ancient Greece music was commonly part of treating mental disorders. Pythagoras used “music as medicine” in ancient Greece (circa 500 BC). He discovered the effect of musical intervals and taught that healing could occur using sound and harmonic frequencies, performed to what he called “soul-adjustments”. In Ancient Egypt, music therapy was a staple in temples. The Egyptians were also devotees of vowel sounds in their rituals, to lift the spirit and enhance the healing process. Modern indigenous cultures have also used sound to heal and to access expanded states of consciousness as well as the indigenous Australians (40,000 years ago), who used didgeridoos in healing rituals. In fact, many indigenous cultures have used both music and dance to "raise their vibration".
Still not sure not sure you believe in the magical curative powers of music?
Sceptical about sound healing therapy, just think about your favourite song and how it instantly works as a mood-booster. Or alternatively, when you watch a film with an aggressive or angry track how you feel your mind or pulse race. Science has shown the effect on the mind and body is due to several energetic reactions such as resonance. This is one of the most important aspects of Sound Healing. The law of resonance is the ability for a stronger vibration to penetrate and overcome a weaker vibration. In other words, certain sounds can actually raise our vibration and therefore lift our spirit. Entrainment is the natural process of a rhythmic pattern, which induces other organisms to fall into the same rhythm. In sound therapy, it can induce a deep state of relaxation via specific brain states in the brainwaves. Different tempos of songs for example love songs, or even a consistent rhythm (think heart beat sound affect) can create different states that our bodies might mimic.
On a more personal level, I don’t mind sharing two music related things with you…
As an adult I was diagnosed as autistic. The term back then was something like “High Functioning Aspergers” It also became apparent later I had ADD - Attention Deficit Disorder. I have spent years learning strategies to deal with these challenges so that I could have a fulfilling and productive life.
My auditory range is extremely sensitive, I pick up on super high-pitched frequencies, many that others don’t hear including modems and electrical items. In many ways sound can be quite overwhelming. But on a positive note (see what I did there!) this sensitivity and connection has been an extremely powerful mechanism and coping strategy with the use of the right “noise”. And so, without even realising it, music has always played a massive role in my life. I can get a proper nights sleep with relaxing classical or healing music playing in the background. Typical to Aspergers, I also was a collector of music, in an obsessional nature. At school, our music teacher once played a beautiful piece of music once, and I could hum it note for note, second time around, this apparently is called "melodic memory". In fact you’d be lucky to beat me on a “name that tune” style quiz!
The second thing I want to tell you is I literally sang and vibrated my way through cancer. Yes, you read that right. Cancer isn't just about dealing with your body, you also have to keep a tight reign on your mental health to win that battle! Firstly, I wore headphones and sang on the numerous MRI scans (those noises and vibrations in tight white coffins, are unbearable for me otherwise). Also, on the rather intimidating space ship of a radiotherapy machine, I sang all my favourite Eagles, Billy Joel, Neil Diamond and ELO songs – all the way through, note perfect (according to the staff in the viewing gallery!) and sometimes with no backing track. Apparently, the guitar solo in Hotel California was hilarious!
Humour to one side, without going into too much detail - skip this paragraph if you are sensitive - my cancer (and this was during lock-down!) meant that for months my bowel movements felt like passing broken glass, and were so excruciating I had to fight back the tears. The only way I could get through them was to use chants and bellowing low notes, that vibrated throughout my body to assist and navigate the movement. It got me (and my poo) through with a lot less trauma.
As for the healing and uplifting part of sound, I’m never going to forget the day I celebrated ringing “that bell” to mark my final day of treatment!
And yes, I came out winning, in fact due to music, positivity a wonderful support network and my own Mental Magic Technique, I didn’t have one meltdown during the entire time, regardless of my “neural diversity!” that’s one of many reasons I have spent years developing and personally practicing this technique as well as sharing it with my coaching clients.
So yes, lots of science behind sound therapy but I can also verify my beliefs because they have literally been a massive support system to my own mental health and wellbeing. I hope that by sharing this with you, that you will choose to join me on this journey of healing, discovery and development soon!
Musical therapy and sound healing, is just one part of the Mental Magic Technique.