The World Health Organisation has been sounding the alarm for some time: it has declared stress and its effects on our health as one of the most serious health risks of our time. Google reports over 4 million hits for the search term “Back pain”and physiotherapists all have stories about their ‘regular’ patients. But it’s not just poor posture and inadequate exercise that are to blame for their misery: stress, pressure of work and negative thoughts generate physical tension in the body, not to mention blockages and chronic disease.
Hydrotherapy is a treatment that gently combats these complaints. More and more doctors and therapists are starting to rely on a combination of sound therapy and hydrotherapy to relieve tension and blockages. Pools equipped with underwater speakers enable them to use this new type of treatment. Underwater music and sounds have been used for some time in water shiatsu, healing dance and hydrotherapy.
The body’s self-healing powers are mobilised when a person’s body and mind are relaxed by water and music. How does it work? When sounds pass through water, they are not just perceived by sound waves entering the ears. The effect that sound has on the body when sounds encounter muscles and tissue is very different to when it is heard. In this case, sound waves in the ear are converted into nerve impulses and initially transmitted to our brain. However, when the sound waves meet the body, they continue to ‘travel’ due to the body’s own high water content and cause the body’s tissues themselves to vibrate. They, in turn, have a direct impact on tense and blocked zones of the body and help to stimulate them. The patient thus becomes both receiver and resonance body.
Sound therapy in medicine
The sounds and notes used have different effects on the body. Sounds of nature, monochords, singing bowls or deep notes trigger vibrations that are transferred to the water. The patient’s body automatically vibrates with them. This is an especially interesting form of therapy for people who suffer from tension of the spine. The deep notes, even when heard, foster a person’s ability to relax. Even conventional medicine has acknowledged that blockages can be relieved through sound therapy.
It is then no wonder that sounds are capable of triggering significant reactions in adults when you consider that even babies between four and five months in their mother’s womb react differently to music. Experiments carried out with music demonstrated that Vivaldi was capable of calming even very restless babies – by contrast, Beethoven caused even the calmest babies to thrash about. Even Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata should therefore not be used for relaxation in physiotherapy...