What is Sound Therapy?


What is Sound Therapy?


BAST sound therapy sessionThe BAST Method

The BAST method of sound therapy combines carefully considered therapeutic sound techniques which have been shown to affect physiology, neurology and psychology with a form of reflective enquiry (a kind of questioning). This approach has been shown to be very effective at improving health and wellbeing.

The therapeutic sound and sound therapy techniques are delivered using tonal and rhythmic instruments and voice. The tonal instruments used are Himalayan and crystal singing bowls, gongs and tuning forks. The vocal techniques are toning (the singing of one tone – usually using a vowel sound), overtoning (a technique where more than one tone is sung simultaneously) or mantra (the chanting of Sanskrit words). A practitioner of Holistic Voice Therapy or Group Voice Therapy may also use ‘Vocal Processing Techniques’ which combine movement, breath and visualisation as well as voice. A therapeutic rhythm treatment/session is given using frame drum and therapeutic percussion comprises rainsticks, shakers, chimes and other percussion tools delivered in a specific order to maximise the therapeutic process.

Information gathered over the last 20 years has informed us that certain instruments seem to effect a person in different ways.  This information is used by a BAST trained therapist to create a treatment specific to their client’s symptomatic state and their intention for the treatment – a relaxing treatment would be very different from an energising treatment for example. If a client had muscle tension Himalayan bowls may be placed on the body and played in a specific way – whereas if a client was in chronic pain a gong or crystal bowl may be used. At BAST we specialise in combining instruments in a specific way to influence brainwave frequencies, enabling a person to enter an altered state of consciousness (ASC) similar to very deep relaxation or meditation. In this state many different therapeutic process occur which will be explained further in our articles section.

The BAST method of sound therapy also uses reflective techniques to enable a client to gain insight into their personal ‘wholing’ process. Our method of reflective process is based around the ‘Cooper Sax Model of Experiential Processing: The 5Rs’.  This model is also affectionately known as ‘The 5Rs’ (which is less of a mouthful!).  Reflective techniques combined with the therapeutic sound really enables us to gain a deep insight into a person’s process and empower them to make life-changing improvements to their health and wellbeing.

It is now widely accepted that most illness is stress related. Therefore treatment methodologies that promote relaxation and help reduce stress can be a very effective way to prevent and treat illness. The BAST method of sound therapy is very effective at reducing stress (2). It also enables an individual to relax deeply, achieving an altered state of consciousness similar to deep meditation (4).

Research undertaken at BAST (and also independently) has shown that our methodology is 16% more relaxing than conventional relaxation music (1),  6% more relaxing than other treatments such as massage (1) and, on average, 64% more relaxing than other general relaxation methods (2).

Sound therapy is also extremely effective with regard to group and community work – our research has consistently shown positive benefits with regard to community sound work. (3)

  1. Research undertaken at Mindlab, Sussex University
  2. Research by Cook, R (2003), The Effects of a BAST Sound Therapy Session on the Autonomic Nervous System
  3. Research by Cooper, L (2009), Introducing the Therapeutic Sound in Schools Programme (TheSiS)
  4. Research by Cooper, L (2013), Sound Affects – the effect of therapeutic sound on consciousness.