Music/ sound therapy has a long history in Germany, dating as far back to the 1940’s which is around the same time in America where music therapy developed in a rigorous and methodical approach. There are many varied approaches and music therapeutic models within Germany. In the book “Schwingung und Gesundheit” or translated into English as “Vibration and Health” (Bossinger & Verres, 2010), the latest music therapy approaches in Germany were presented. The following are key concepts extracted from this book.
Health means being in harmony, resonance with one’s own being and with the surroundings. Life is a swinging system and music which is also swinging in nature can be a tool to support life. The body is constantly in a swinging motion and rhythms from the outside is causing an echo in the body. Seen in this context, the therapist’s work is primarily rhythmical in nature.
There is the usage of a therapy tool called sound cradle which is a huge wooden bed for the individual to lie in. There are lyre-like metal strings stretched under the wooden bed which the therapist will play. The sound and vibrations will move upwards to the individual’s body and through it. There are also people surrounding the cradle who are singing to the individual in the cradle. Sound and music surrounds the individual and one can feel the vibrations all over the body like a sound bath and hear the music from all around. This is believed to have a strong impact on the body and soul. Sound cradle brings one in connection with the body and soul. Currently, people are too much in the thinking stream in today’s media saturated information age and the sound cradle can bring one to the present moment back into the body. Individuals in the sound cradle have their brain waves measured and it has been found that their brains are in theta wave stage just like during sleep.
Dance and music therapy is also practiced where individuals come in a group to sing and dance to have an uplifting social experience. Many have shared on the positive emotional experiences after such group sessions.
Singing is believed to affect the soul. Singing the consonants and vowels enhance one’s own voice. In group singing, one can experience a sense of community. It is also a form of getting away from the head and more in touch with the emotions. Singing therapy helps the breathing, heart, blood circulation as well as the soul. Singing is believed to also help with inner balance and self esteem.
Active participation by the individuals during therapy is the way of the future and is considered better than just passive listening, Listening can soften pain but the greater effect is believed to lie in active participation through music.
Music therapy for healthy people is believed to support self development. Therapy helps one to gain motion in the soul and gets in touch with inner feelings and express what is inside the soul.
Colours and light are also influencing the soul. There is a calming effect when color and sound meet at the same moment. People who are sick need to encounter forces which are alive, for example in nature and to be aware that one is part of the real world.