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Clinical Models


The following information is in reference to Chapter 17, page 229 of The Power Of Sound.

Clinical Models Using Soundwork

I have compiled a list of clinics that are exemplary of how healthcare providers and educators integrat soundwork into—or built entire practices around therapeutic sound techniques. In each case, sound occupies a different setting within the standard protocol.

Online presentations give a fuller picture than space in this chapter permits.

• Bancroft Center of Chinese Medicine (Acutonics)

• Brain Music Therapy Center (Brian Music Therapy)

• Cleveland Clinic Arts & Medicine Institute (arts and healthcare)

• Cymatherapy

• Equine Cymatherpy

• Davis Center for Hearing, Speech, and Learning (AUDIOLOGY)

• Guided Imagery and Music (get Anne’s referral)

• Mitch Gaynor, M.D.(ONCOLOGY)

• National Academy for Child Development (Neurodevelopment)

• New Visions (Faber, VA) (Neurodevelopment /Feeding issues)

• NMT ? (JL find)

• Dr. Fred Schwartz, Piedmont Hospital (Anesthesia)

• Pediatric Therapeutics (Chatham NJ) (Pediatric Neurodevelopment)

• The Center for Communication and Learning Skills (Sound Stim)

• The Institute for Music and Neurologic Function (Music Therapy)

• The Louis Armstrong Center for Music and Medicine/ (Music Therapy)

• The Swain Center for Listening, Communicating and Learning (Sound Stim)

Institutional Venues and Soundwork

In addition to clinics and individual practices, soundwork has been incorporated into institutional venues as well. From birthing to hospice, dentistry to surgery, psychotherapy to treatment of Alzheimer’s, soundwork has been extremely effective. I have chosen a few research studies to demonstrate how it is being used.


A study from Australia titled “My Room—Not Theirs! A Case Study of Music during Childbirth” addresses the use of music to minimize confusion during labor. Due to the exacerbating circumstances, especially for first-time mothers, the experience of hospital labor wards can be stress producing and difficult. This study determined that listening to music—especially familiar music—during the birthing process enhanced feelings of security and comfort as well as increasing the sense of self-esteem and personal control in what is often a disconcerting experience.62


The work of Therese Schroeder-Sheker is becoming legendary. She is an academic musicologist, religious scholar, and founder of the field known as musical thanatology. Schroeder-Sheker’s descriptive, musical-sacramental midwifery speaks of the sacred quality of helping a dying person to “unbind” with the aid of music. Headquartered at St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula, Montana, the Chalice of Repose Project resides next door to the Oncology Department. Musicians trained in a two-year graduate-level program wear beepers and stethoscopes; their tools consist of a patient’s medical records, harp, and voice. The work of the Chalice of Repose is based on eleventh-century French monastic practices for the dying. As a scholar, Schroeder-Sheker has painstakingly reconstructed the theories of medieval infirmary music and applied this wisdom to modern-day life transitions.63

Also highly recommended: Music Thanatology International Association (MTAI)


Music has been used in dentistry and oral surgery for more than fifty years. According to an impressive 1960 study,64 sound stimulation was the only pain reliever required in 90 percent of five thousand dental operations. Forty-five hundred dental operations were accomplished without drugs! The suppression of pain by sound may be due to the release of endorphins, which are the body’s own natural painkillers. In the field of dentistry, soundwork is called audio analgesia. The use of sound in dentistry is widely documented.


A German study of ninety-thousand-plus patients in the peri- and postoperative phases of surgery found that 97 percent were significantly relaxed during recovery with the use of music. For some, the relaxing effects of music resulted in less anesthesia. Soft, tonal music was found to be most effective. Postoperative disorientation was also minimized when patients listened to classical or slow baroque music a few days prior to surgery and then had it piped into the operating room.65


As early as 1954, medical research was being done on the effect of music in the mental health arena. Researchers documented the use of music to moderate feelings of depression or anger. They also found that music could evoke a range of emotions from joy to sadness.66 Since that time, contemporary therapeutic pioneers—including Stanislav Grof, M.D., Helen Bonny, and Jean Houston—have shown that the combination of music, breathing, and guided imagery goes far beyond strong emotional releases to tap into the realms of the unconscious. Apparently, the use of all three elements allows entrance to subconscious regions that had previously been accessible only via powerful drugs.67 One of the foremost pioneers in the use of music and guided imagery is Dr. Helen Bonny. Her method, Guided Imagery and Music (GIM), is used in conjunction with psychotherapy.


Patients who are unable to initiate movement or cannot communicate verbally have increased needs for sensory stimulation. Such stimulation helps remote memory. Music therapy is widely used and quite effective with Alzheimer’s patients.68 Music therapy (as distinguished from the neurologically oriented soundwork) is psychologically based and used most often in hospital and group contexts. (See appendix F for a broad description of the definitions and applications of music therapy.)

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