An exploration of the holistic sound therapy.

14 08 07 soundbathing

When I first received the invitation to a sound therapy session, I’ll admit I had absolutely no idea what to expect. Envisioning something similar to a yoga class, I was curious to try it—I enjoy yoga, but I usually find it difficult to clear my mind and meditate without some serious guidance and prodding. Sound therapy is said to be effective for meditation because sound is the first sensation you experience developing as a person in the womb, and it therefore innately connects you to the world. The more I thought about it, the more I realized how emotionally connected we are to sounds: the inflections in voices, the way a certain song can make you feel, or the way a clap of thunder can make you jump. Manipulating this power just barely scratches the surface of how sound therapy works.

14 08 07 reception

My session began at the Helix Healthcare Group’s brand new facilities in Yorkville, Toronto. A small group of us spread out in a circle, laying comfortably on yoga mats, with pillows and a blanket at the ready. Jesse Hanson, the Clinical Director for Spectrum Recovery, along with his life partner Carmen Littlejohn, a Psychotherapist with Spectrum Recovery, explained to us that sound therapy affects everyone differently, but positioning ourselves as close to the ground as possible (fewer pillows and blanket layers) would enhance the experience. The closer you are physically to the vibrations, the more they resonate within your body.

14 08 07 yogaroom

As we closed our eyes, the singing of the gigantic crystal bowls was the first sound I registered. As per usual, my mind started flitting all over the place making grocery lists and trying to remember if I’d sent off that last email, but the targeted sound proved really effective in keeping me focused. The vibrations and sound itself were really deep, more or less drowning out my thoughts. Chimes, flutes, a digeridoo were a few of many more instruments that eventually joined the sound bath. I felt completely entranced and lost all track of time, as cliché as that sounds. The varying sounds and pitches guided my mind through different memories, some that I hadn’t thought about for years. When Jesse and Carmen began the session with a forewarning that sound bathing taps deep into your emotions, I was pretty skeptical. My experience, however, proved to do just that, and I could only imagine how powerful the experience would have been were it an individual treatment tailored to my own emotional needs and wants. I can fully appreciate how sound bathing can be used as a therapy for crisis and addiction.

Spectrum Recovery is a healthcare group that provides world-class treatment for substance abuse, addiction and mental health issues. This is no stereotypical 12-step lecture: the team creates custom tailored programs to suit every individual’s needs, with therapies ranging from psychotherapy, wellness treatments (such as meditation, sound therapy, massage), naturopathic medicine, hypnotherapy and detoxification. By engaging both the right (more emotional) and left (more logical) sides of the brain, the team is able to fully tackle all aspects of addiction, starting from where the problem stems from. Not only is the burden of the addiction lifted, healthy mental and physical practices are enforced to support a positive new lifestyle. For more information on Spectrum Recovery’s services, visit