We are offering two new types of sound therapy. More specifically, we are offering Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) and Focus Systems. These treatments use specially engineered music to teach the body to take better care of itself. Integrated Listening Systems (USA) developed the treatment based on more than 20 years of research. We are happy to announce that we are the first certified provider in Belgium. Since early 2020, SSP is also available through an app, so you can do it from the comfort of your home. If you want to skip right ahead to the treatments, click the buttons below. If you want to read more on how sound therapy works, read on.
Important note: this is not a stand-alone therapy and should be combined with other forms of therapy such as trauma therapy or psychotherapy, …
Train your Ear Through Sound Therapy
This therapy directly trains the smallest muscle of the body. In our middle ear, this tiny muscle is crucial to how we listen. Imagine a rabbit in the field. When it picks up a sound, it will turn its ears towards the source. This tiny muscle does something similar, but instead of moving our ear left or right, the muscle controls what frequency we focus on.
Listening Is Paying Attention
When we listen to music there’s a lot going on. We’ve got low base tones creating the rhythm of the music, middle and high frequencies creating a melody. They come together and form a pleasant song. We can passively listen, or try and focus on a particular frequency. In life, we hear a lot of different sounds around us. A car coming up behind us, hums at a low frequency. A baby crying next door screams at a high frequency. When we talk to each other, we mostly use frequencies in the middle range.
Some sounds tell us we need to pay attention. Traditionally, lower sounds or high-pitched noises are associated with threats or danger. Middle frequencies, however, are associated with fellow humans and safety. Yet, when our body is in a state of (high) alertness, our ears will pay more attention to those noises that are threatening. This in turn, might stop us from picking up on the sounds that tell us we are safe; the voices of our partners, kids, friends or colleagues.
Listening for Danger, Listening for Safety
Again, picture the rabbit in the field. Imagine its ears scanning for predators, going from left to right, paying attention to a car in the distance. The rabbit might have difficulties listening to its fellow rabbits when its listening for danger instead. When we have gone through stressful, anxious or traumatic situations, our body learns to pay attention to triggers of threat of danger. In the mean time, it becomes more difficult to pay attention to triggers of safety.
Through sound therapy, we can teach our ears to once again listen to those safety cues. By training the tiniest muscle in our ear to pick up frequencies associated with safety, it becomes easier for us to do this in our lives. Keep on reading to learn more.
Sound Therapy and the Polyvagal Theory
Stephen Porges, a scientist, pioneered Polyvagal Theory (PVT) in the 90s. Above all, his theory explained how our body’s nervous system has three different states. Most of us know the ‘fight or flight’ state. When we are in danger, our body makes sure that we can react fast, run away or fight what is threatening us. The second state is ‘freeze or faint’. This occurs when we are in danger and we cannot fight or run away. Our body freezes as we numb down and dissociate. Against predators, this could sometimes be enough to either go undetected or make them lose intrest. The third state, known as ‘Rest and Digest’ was of particular interest to Porges. That is to say, when we are in this state, we feel safe. More over, we are able to freely engage with those around us and with life more generally.
Porges showed that the vagus nerve (a nerve that runs from the brain to the belly) is crucial in regulating these different states. Often, when we stress, or if we don’t feel safe, our bodies shift from the resting stage to a more alert state. Most importantly, these different stages also influence how we feel and behave. Initially Porges worked with people with social engagement and learning difficulties. He saw that down regulating the body had a big impact on his clients. Just think about the difference between having to recite something from memory at home, compared to doing the same during a stressful exam.
A Return to Safety
Armed with this knowledge, Stephen Porges worked together with iLS to create a special treatment. How do our bodies know when we are safe? We use our senses. Porges found out that by targeting our senses with specific exercises, he could train people to feel safe.
People that suffer from anxiety or experienced trauma have often adopted coping mechanisms to survive difficult situations. After a difficult event, our body can struggle to return back to relax. You often hear people that go on holiday say they struggle to let go of the stress of everyday life. If you have had to be alert for a long time, or in the face of threatening circumstances, your body might think it wise to keep its guard up. If that happens, it can become difficult to know what it is like to be safe again.
So, what Porges proposed was a specially engineered type of music. This music targets specifically the smallest muscle in our body. This muscle is located in our ear and is crucial to decide what sounds we pay attention to. Moreover, this muscle is closely integrated with the vagus nerve. By training this muscle to pick up cues of safety, our body gets the message that we can return to a state of rest, relaxation and social engagement.
Sound Therapy as Fitness for Your Senses
The music is engineered to target those frequencies that are associated with safety and social engagement. This trains your inner ear muscles. In addition, it strengthens your neural pathways responsible for facial and vocal expression and balance. Through training and combination with other exercises, this treatment can be used to improve:
- Anxiety and Trauma
- Attention and Focus
- Learning and Memory
- Auditory Sensitivities
- Behaviour Regulation and Sensitiveness
- Coordination and Balance
The protocol teaches you to return to safety and is ideal in combination with other forms of therapy. Through being more often in a state of ‘rest and digest’ we can give our bodies the necessary space to safe energy and focus on what we really want in life.
Research and More Information
Available Sound Therapy
The Safe and Sound Protocol trains your body to return to safety. It reduces stress and sound sensitivity and enhances social engagement and emotional resillience.
The Focus System works on the brain and body integration by combining sound therapy with exercises to improve brain function.