Most of my life I have been attracted into helping other people. For some reason I went more into engineering first. From there I moved to sciences, which is more biochemistry and biotechnology. Here at NeuraSonic I have a little bit of an opportunity to work a bit on the engineering part, buy working with different sounds, songs or music. But also, on the psychological part, I can see the effect that music can have on people and how [thanks to it] they can move forward with their lives.
WHERE THE PASSION FOR SOUND THERAPY STARTED
The reason why I choose this kind of work is my cousin. She had a stroke, so she was full paralyzed on the right side and couldn’t talk. I tried to find solutions to help her. I found an article about the use of sound therapy on stroke patients. They couldn’t see a recovery in the movement or the speech, but they did see a big change on motivation: they were willing to recover for the first time [since the stroke]. I decided to find the writer of the article, who had written a book. He told me the biggest center for sound therapy was in Belgium. That’s when I decided to take [Dr. Tomatis'] training.
The group approach, which is a very new idea, is allowing a safe container approach that allows those feelings that have been bottling down in the person to start coming out. This is very special.
I don’t know anybody else doing that.
FOLLOWING, BUT NOT REPLICATING, DR. TOMATIS' STEPS
I follow the classical approach of Dr. Tomatis, as far as the technique goes, but I have tweaked it in a way that allows feelings to come up to the surface faster. And the group approach, which is a very new idea, is allowing a safe container approach that allows those feelings that have been bottling down in the person to start coming out. This is very special. I don’t know anybody else doing that.
FINDING THE MEMORY
THAT KEEPS US FROM MOVING FORWARD
Usually there’s always “a moment” and for some people that moment can be very strange. There was a lady, 65 years old when we work together, and I remember that after six days of therapy together she called me and said: “You know, I really had a very vivid dream. And I remembered having been raped at 15. After that I run away and fell into a hole, hurting me in my vagina.” That moment cut off all the memories of that rape. She had been living in that hole all her life without knowing. As soon as she remembered it all, her life changed dramatically, because that memory found its place and she started working with that in mind. There are always some memories that are being backed up. When that memory starts bubbling, and they can start working on it, suddenly, all the flow of emotions starts pouring.
There are always some memories that are
being backed up.
When that memory starts bubbling, and patients can start working on it,
suddenly, all the flow of emotions starts pouring.
WHY SOUND THERAPY IS NOT MORE POPULAR
There are many reasons. First, it’s the music. It’s for a person to understand that music would have such effect on a person. Because there’s no drugs or touch. Then, like a lot of therapies, there’s a lot of disfunction around it. There has been a lot of jealousy and greed. Also, in the late 80s, Tomatis asked a business man to help him to grow the network. And they made big mistakes. They decided to double the royalties that the therapists that used the machines had to pay, overnight, which means half of the centers in the world had to close. Those therapists that kept doing the therapy decided to shorten the therapy length, so it wasn’t working anymore. People complained, and bad publicity started to pour on. So, it wasn’t the therapy that wasn’t working, but the way how it was applied and the way how people tried to make money out of it.
NEURASONIC: THE TECHNIQUE VS. THE PROCESS
I do explain the process: what’s going to happen, that we use a special vibrator on the top of the skull that allows the music to go directly to the inner ear, that we use very specific headsets that keep the sound as concentrated as possible. But I don’t describe the technique. I did at the beginning, but then I realized most people were bothered by it. They didn’t really care
IS AN APP THE FUTURE OF NEURASONIC?
We are considering having an app. For trauma integration, the presence of a group and a therapist is key. In an application it’s easy to think that just listening to the music alone we will have the same effect that listening to it in a group. Which is not true. So, we need to find a way to make people to understand that the effect of the therapy will be different if they are doing it alone through an app or in a group [setting]. For elderly people, with less energy and concentration, it can be very useful to listen to that music. For them, an application would help them a lot to listen to that music in a regular basis and get those physical changes that are very key for them. There’s a big difference between a physical change and a deep, profound change, a change deep into your psyche that will help you to change your approach to life. This requires a human connection to happen.
WHO BENEFITS FROM SOUND THERAPY
The more somebody is impacted psychologically, the more it could be helpful for them. If one is autistic, non-communicative, the effect can be very intense. If they have learning disabilities the effect will be dramatic as well. For adults it is more about quality of life. In our society we live with so much pressure, so much noise, we feel anxious and stressed all the time. I realized that adults are usually that could benefit the most from this therapy. We are not made to live in such noisy and aggressive environment. This helps a person to modulate the effect of the outside on themselves is key. To be able to push away the sounds and noises that you don’t need and only keep the ones that are useful, like a conversation or some music, for example, is something lots of adults are not able to accomplish.
By retraining the brain on how to use those muscles
in a kind of automatic way,
we allow the brain to filter what comes from the outside.
It will allow a vision of the world, but without being bothered by it.
HOW THE MUSIC AFFECTS THE BRAIN
The music, Mozart and Gregorian Chants, is designed in a way that retrains two little muscles that are in your ear. Those muscles are the smallest muscles in our body, but probably they are one of the most important. One is the muscle that allows stretch and de-stretching the eardrum. If you stretch the eardrum, it will make it more sensitive to the higher frequencies. If you de-stretch the eardrum it will be more sensitive to the lower frequencies, like the sound of the fridge, or a plane… High frequencies is what you get from voices, communication or birds. The second muscle controls the closing and opening of the inner ear. If you close the inner ear you will be less sensitive to sounds, so you will be able to protect yourself against any loud sound. If you open the inner ear you will be able to hear very thin sounds, like a needle dropping on the floor. By retraining the brain on how to use those muscles in a kind of automatic way, we allow the brain to filter what comes from the outside. It will allow a vision of the world, but without being bothered by it.
DOES IT HELP TO FIGHT AGAINST DEPRESSION?
Depression comes from diminished sensitivity to the higher frequencies. If you push away those overtones, your brain cannot be activated, it cannot get the energy to function. That’s depression: The non-willingness to do anything, to isolate ourselves. This allows the brain to be sensitive again to those very high frequencies. Suddenly the brain is re-energized, recharged: everything has another color that allows people to move, go out, do things they couldn’t do before
PATIENTS WITH CHRONIC PAIN
The approach for chronic pain is different. When people suffer from it, they cannot get their mind away from it. They only concentrate on that. When the pain goes slightly higher or slightly lower they become more anxious. With sound therapy we allow people to slowly open themselves to other sensations, and then the pain becomes a secondary thought. Sound therapy allows more sensation to come back to the brain. We don’t diminish the pain, we diminish the focus on the pain.