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How a Soundbath can Support your mental health and well-being

Fascinating research is being shared, Sound not only entrains brainwaves but increases cellular healing, reduces inflammation and speeds up the recovery process. The more you practice with sound the deeper the healing can be. Using rhythm, vibrations, chords, harmony, and sound patterns we can ease the client into a meditative state, free from thoughts, judgment, and fear.

The subject of mental health is vastly complex, as a practitioner, it is something I am very passionate about. As a teacher and healer, I believe that our overall well-being is multi-faceted and there are no quick fixes. However, I do believe everything is connected, from your stress response to your adrenal system to your brainwave activity. I will not tell you that one practice will cure you, but I will talk of the powerful healing benefits of this ancient modality, that can be traced back through time. The mind is a complex thing, and on this page, I will talk about how sound healing affects our brain, mental health and wellbeing. 

what you'll learn:

+ Neuroscience, mental health and sound.

+ Brainwave states, Entrainment and mental health

+ Sleep and sound

+ Vagus nerve and sound

+ Nervous system and sound

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BRAINWAVE ENTRAINMENT

Our behaviour, emotions, and thoughts are communicated as electrical pulses between neurons within our brains. If you think about how the brain fires in different settings: eg resting in bed vs sky diving, the electrical pulses will be very different. 

At a fundamental level, these pulses — known as brainwaves — can be thought of as conversations between neurons; the electrical gossip amongst our brain cells. And, as science has unveiled, it turns out we can influence and deliberately change our brainwave patterns through something called brainwave entrainment (also referred to as brainwave synchronization or neural entrainment) which refers to the phenomenon that brainwaves will naturally synchronize to the rhythm of external stimuli, such as flickering lights, speech, music, or vibrations.

more on this here. 

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Just like other waves of energy, brainwaves have a range of distinct wavelengths. Lower frequencies put you in a relaxed, meditative, or drowsy state; higher frequencies keep you engaged, focused, and alert.

We have five sets of brainwaves: Delta, Theta, Alpha, Beta, and Gamma.

 

Delta waves are the very low-frequency waves that occur when we are sleeping (0.1 Hz to 4 Hz).

Theta waves happen when we are drowsy or very close to asleep (4 Hz to about 7 Hz).

Alpha waves are the chill, calm, waves that happen when you’re relaxed, or meditating (8Hz and 13 Hz).

Beta waves (14 Hz to 30 Hz) are where we live most of the time — engaged, conversing, emailing, and reading.

Gamma waves (31 Hz to 100 Hz) occur when you’re hyper-focused and very attentive; also known as a flow state.

During a Soundbath, we are aiming to get the client into a very calm state, this is done through a series of very specific taught techniques, executed by playing bowls, gongs, drums, chimes etc to encourage the brainwave state of Alpha, Theta, Delta. 

When we reach these states, we are also allowing other nervous system to reset, Your stress hormones, cortisol, decreases as other hormones such as serotonin, catecholamines, DHEA, melatonin, endorphins and HGH increase.

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STRESS

Stress triggers a combination of signals within the body from both hormones and nerves. These signals cause your adrenal glands to release hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol.

The result is an increased heart rate and energy as part of the fight-or-flight response. It’s your body’s way of preparing itself for potentially dangerous or harmful situations.

Cortisol also helps to limit any functions that aren’t essential in a fight-or-flight situation. Once the threat passes, your hormones return to their usual levels, and bodily functions return to typical levels.

But when you’re under constant stress, this response doesn’t always turn off.

Long-term exposure to cortisol and other stress hormones can negatively affect almost all of your body’s processes. This can increase your risk of health issues such as heart disease, lung issues, obesity, anxiety, depression, and more.

Melatonin

Often referred to as the “sleep hormone,” melatonin is directly responsible for promoting healthy rest and regulating your body’s circadian rhythm. Most of your body’s hormones are produced in your brain’s pituitary gland— melatonin is produced in the pineal gland, which is associated with your sleep-wake cycle.

Sleep disruption or poor quality sleep can negatively impact your body’s melatonin production. And because a good night’s sleep is so important to your overall health and wellbeing, it’s vital to manage melatonin with proper sleep.

Many Americans don’t get enough quality rest each night, and many take a melatonin supplement to help them sleep. As a result, melatonin is one of the most commonly taken health supplements today.

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Cortisol

Sleep regulates cortisol, often known as the “stress hormone.” However, this isn’t cortisol’s main purpose. Along with melatonin, cortisol is key to maintaining your sleep pattern.

When you wake up, your cortisol level temporarily spikes, helping to wake you up and feel refreshed as melatonin production reduces. As you approach your bedtime, cortisol production reduces as melatonin production ramps up, helping your body prepare for sleep

Most of the cells in your body have cortisol receptors. They use it for a variety of functions, such as:

  • blood sugar regulation

  • inflammation reduction

  • metabolism regulation

  • memory formulation

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What Happens When we Produce Too Much Cortisol?

 

High cortisol can causeTrusted Source several symptoms throughout your body. Symptoms can vary depending on what’s causing the increase in your cortisol levels.

General signs and symptoms of too much cortisol include:

  • weight gain, mostly around the midsection and upper back

  • weight gain and rounding of the face

  • acne

  • thinning skin

  • easy bruising

  • flushed face

  • slowed healing

  • muscle weakness

  • severe fatigue

  • irritability

  • difficulty concentrating

  • high blood pressure

  • headache

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"

Such a lovely experience being immersed in such beautiful sounds, I slept so well that evening. Thank you

 

 

Gina

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SO WHY IS THIS LINKED TO SOUND?

 

If we can entrain brainwaves, encourage cellular healing, quieten the chatter of the mind and build neural pathways, we are taking agency over our mental health*.

The whole system is linked, by entraining our brainwaves, we are encouraging a delta, alpha, and theta state, which in turn lowers our stress levels, the para-sympathetic system comes back online, allowing a rest and digest state of the nervous system. 

Our endocrine system responds, by increasing serotonin and melatonin, the happy hormone and sleep hormone, encouraging a good night's sleep which in turn helps further healing and a healing body and mind.

 

 

 

*Being mindful to mention that severe Mental Health problems include psychosis, bipolar disorder, 'personality disorder' and eating disorders. These difficulties often occur alongside mood difficulties including depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and often should be supported by a doctor, and or therapist. I believe that sound healing can be a fantastic modality to run alongside Western medicine. 

THE VEGUS NERVE LOVES SOUND

THE VEGUS NERVE LOVES SOUND

 

The vagus nerve is your body's longest cranial nerve. It originates at the base of your brain and extends through the neck and chest to the abdomen.

This nerve plays a vital role in many of the body's functions, including:

  • Heart rate

  • Blood pressure

  • Digestion

  • Immune response

  • Inflammation

The vagus nerve is also responsible for controlling the "rest and digest" response, which is essential for relaxation and stress relief. When the vagus nerve is functioning correctly, it helps to keep the body in a state of balance. Unfortunately, when it is not functioning optimally, it can lead to several health problems, including:

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Digestive issues

  • Heart disease

  • Inflammatory disorders

  • Migraines

Luckily, there are many ways to stimulate and strengthen this nerve, which in turn, can improve a number of these conditions for some people. So with that in mind, let's move on to vagus nerve sound stimulation and what it might be able to do for you.

 

A fascinating fact about hearing is the association of the ear to the pneumogastric, or tenth, cranial nerve, a.k.a. the vagus nerve because it wanders through the thoracic and abdominal cavities. It regulates the functions of many major organs, among them lungs, heart, stomach, kidneys and the liver.

 

Originating in the brain, it attaches to the inner and outer eardrum, the conveyors of vibrations generated by sound in the ear, and ends all the way down by the anus. As a result, sound is not just vibrating the eardrum but with the help of the vagus nerve it resonates and vibrates, or “massages”, the entire being on a cellular level.

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