Concordia Sensoria Research Team (CONSERT) Doctoral Students
Exploring the Experiences of Individuals Who Have Undergone Sound Healing.


Shelley Snow
Special Individualized Program (SIP) Ph.D.
Concordia University

This interdisciplinary research encompasses the fields of music therapy and sensorial anthropology. Music therapy is an established health care profession which utilizes music as a primary tool in addressing a wide range of clinical goals for both children and adults. Sound healing is not yet an established profession, but rather a group of wide-ranging approaches that utilize sound as a set of particular vibrations or frequencies that can directly impact the mind-body systems of humans in therapeutic ways. Ultra-sound is one example; vocal sound healing is another.

Sound and music can be seen to exist side by side on a continuum. Although music therapists have for the most part utilized music in their work, there is growing interest in exploring possible uses for sound by music therapists. This study seeks to contribute to the knowledge base available to music therapists concerning sound healing. My ultimate aim with this line of research is to encourage and facilitate the integration of methods of sound healing into mainstream music therapy practice.

The method under study is a form of vocal sound healing developed by an acupuncturist in England, Simon Heather. He has a well-developed and systematic method for his approach, with impressive anecdotal evidence attesting to its efficacy. As of yet, no research has been conducted on this method.

The study will focus on an exploration of the experiences that sound healing ‘clients’ of Heather’s method have in regard to the healing efficacy of their treatment. The study will include the life histories of individuals who choose to undergo sound healing treatment, and look at the many ways in which individuals make sense and meaning out of their experiences.

Vocal sound healing embraces an alternative sensorium that lies outside that of mainstream health care practice. It is an aural, kinesthetic, embodied approach that often deals with sensory experiences encompassing ‘interior perception’. The senses are an extremely important aspect of sound healing. For these reasons, a sensorial perspective is highly appropriate for this investigation.