Lyz Cooper : What is Sound Healing?
Series: What Is (Book 2)
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: Watkins Publishing (June 14, 2016)
Product Dimensions: 4.9 x 0.6 x 6.7 inches
Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
About the Author
Lyz Cooper, sound therapist and founder of the British Academy of Sound Therapy (BAST), has been involved in holistic health since 1982, with sound therapy since 1994 and was the first person in the UK to formulate a therapeutic sound method which was officially recognised by the Institute for Complementary and Natural Medicine (ICNM) in 1997. She has an MA in Education and an MSc in Applied Music Psychology, and in 2010 the ICNM recognised her work with a fellowship for her outstanding contribution to therapeutic sound worldwide. Lyz is co-founder of the Therapeutic Sound Association, whose aim it is to raise awareness of the benefits of working with sound. She is among those at the forefront of therapeutic sound research and training in the world, and her work is regularly featured in the worldwide press.
I have been working in the Holistic Health field for over 30 years and with therapeutic sound for over 20. My journey of discovery with sound began with a life-limiting and life-changing illness and the transformative power of therapeutic sound nursed me back to health. After this wake-up call I travelled the world researching and developing techniques based on ancient knowledge and cutting edge science.
In 2000 I formed The British Academy of Sound Therapy, the first organisation to train people in therapeutic sound. Now the International Academy of Sound Therapy, we run courses all over the world as well as community health and arts projects.
I am passionate about communicating the effectiveness of sound therapy and do this through my teaching, my writing and my research. I have an MA in Education and an MSc in Applied Music Psychology and have been made a fellow of the Institute of Complementary and Natural Medicine for my contribution to the sound therapy field worldwide.
Cast your mind back to the last time a sound affected you. Perhaps birdsong set a positive tone for your day or a favourite song lifted your mood. Sound certainly has the power to send our spirits soaring but how exactly does it do this and can it go beyond this to enhance our wellbeing and even help us heal ourselves? Recentresearch has proven that it absolutely can and that sound healing can therefore help us achieve all kinds of personal transformation,enabling us to lead more authentic, connected and contented lives.
The combination of the Q&A approach, insightful case studies and practical exercises means this little book really takes you on abehind-the-scenes tour of this powerful practice, giving everything you need to begin a life-changing journey full of healing potential.
The story goes that when walking past a blacksmith shop one day, Pythagoras ... the foundation of the Pythagorean system of healing with sound and music. ... common facilitators of sound for Pythagorean healing, each being played or sung in ... that responding to a wellbeing problem with its opposite can promote healing.
Meet Lyz Cooper – Founder and Principal
Lyz began her journey with sound in 1994 when she had to leave a busy career in advertising due to a life-limiting illness. During this time she found that sound and music not only helped her relax, but certain sounds actually improved her health and well-being. This life-changing personal journey motivated her to find out more about how why sound and music can affect mind, body and emotions – she went to university, got an MA in Education and an MSc in Applied Music Psychology and conducted research to find out more.
Today Lyz Cooper is one of the world’s thought leaders in the sound therapy field.
Lyz continues to conduct research, the results of which enrich the courses and projects at The British Academy of Sound Therapy and Lyz’s other companies under the Healthy Sound Group. Lyz is a published author of two successful books – ‘Sounding the Mind of God’ (O Books) and ‘What is Sound Healing?’ (Watkins). She is also a member of many different organisations that help her to bring therapeutic sound and music into the mainstream including The Royal Society for Public Health, the National Alliance for Arts, Health and Wellbeing, the New NHS Alliance, and the International Institute for Complementary Therapists to name a few. She is co-founder and director of the Therapeutic Sound Association – the first representing body of therapeutic sound in the world. She is also one of the original board members of the Global Listening Centre, an international organisation dedicated to promoting the importance of listening.
Lyz’s compositions and music projects have received excellent feedback – listeners have reported becoming pain free, deeply relaxed and uplifted. The launch of the Radox Spa campaign in 2011 was a turning point – confirming that the mainstream was ready for consciously designed therapeutic music. The piece created by Marconi Union in consultation with Lyz was voted the ‘Most Relaxing Music Ever’ and came 11th out of 50 in Time Magazine’s Top 50 Best Inventions Awards and is still getting media attention today.
Lyz’s music contains certain ‘sonic vitamins’ – formulae which are known to affect psychological states due to the way that sound and music is processed in the brain. The success of Weightless, and the independent research carried out by Mindlab has shown that Lyz’s techniques work. There is limitless potential for therapeutic sound and music – stay in touch to find out more about our latest projects and courses.
How can sound and music help mental health?
May 8, 2019
These days it is widely accepted that ‘wellbeing’ is just as important as ‘health’, but what does it mean to be mentally ‘well’, how do we know when something isn’t right and what can we do about it? Lyz Cooper, founder of The British Academy of Sound Therapy (BAST) talks about her experience and shares her research on how to use sound and music to not only improve health and wellbeing, but to help prevent illness in the first place.
‘I speak from experience’, said Lyz over a latte and a room full of Himalayan singing bowls and gongs when I caught up with her at a recent course. ‘In the early 90’s I was diagnosed with chronic anxiety disorder and clinical depression. I literally couldn’t go out of the house and really struggled to hold life together – in fact there were times when I felt completely overwhelmed and terrified without really knowing why.’
‘One day I was in the bath and started toning (a technique where you sing a prolonged tone – a bit like an ‘OM’, but it can be any vowel sound). After a few minutes I felt so much better. I tried this again any time I felt anxious and it definitely made a big difference. It was such a profound affect that I had to find out more’. Fast-forward to today and Lyz is one of the thought-leaders in the therapeutic sound field and is at the forefront of research and development into finding out how and why sound and music can be so effective.
Tips on how to use sound to improve mental health
First of all breathe
Make sure your exhale is longer than your inhale, this will help to switch off your sympathetic ‘fight or flight’ nervous system and switch on the parasympathetic ‘rest/digest’ nervous system. Bring your breath to your belly. Often we breathe from the upper chest when we are stressed. Be aware of when your breathing changes as this can be a sign before you’ve even realised you are stressed.
Use A Relaxation Playlist
Having a playlist ready for those stressful times, or even just to maintain your calm can be a huge help. Lyz writes Consciously Designed Music which is available for free on Spotify or to buy on iTunes for a small fee. She has even put together a playlist for deep relaxation.
Getting plenty of sleep is good not just for physical health, but mental health too. The recommended amount is at least 8 hours. Some of Lyz’s tracks are written to help you get off to the land of nod quicker and she has put together a sleep playlist.
Attend a Soundbath
Sound therapy sessions induce Altered States of Consciousness which improve health and wellbeing. Research undertaken by Lyz Cooper shows the health benefits of altering consciousness with therapeutic sound and you can read more about this on our research pages. If you don’t have time to attend a physical session, try listening into a Soundbath track at home.
What Is The BAST Method of Sound Therapy?
May 8, 2019
The therapeutic sound field is vast – there are so many different approaches from different backgrounds. At BAST, we use the BAST Method of Sound Therapy, but what is it and how is it used?
What is the BAST method of Sound Therapy?
We have two main ways of working at BAST, passively and actively. In all of our approaches the therapist needs to have a good understanding of the ‘Cooper Sax 5Rs method of experiential processing’ (5Rs for short). This model enables you to improve your health and wellbeing by helping you to make sense of your experience at a deeper level. When we are interacting with situations, our environment and relationships we are often deeply and adversely affected by what happens – these outside influences have a very real impact on our health and wellbeing not to mention our lives and those around us.
The 5Rs is a very simple way of understanding how our outside world affects us and enables us to turn negative thoughts, feelings and emotions into positive ones. It also helps us to understand ourselves at a deeper level, enabling experiences from our past to be gently released so we can move on in a more positive way.
For example, if someone doesn’t like the sound of the gong the therapist would ask why that may be. The client may say ‘it is too powerful, I can’t escape’. The therapist may then ask, ‘is there something in your life either now or in the past where you felt something was too powerful and you couldn’t escape?’ The therapist will then help the client to move through this memory or experience using sound and self-reflective techniques similar to mindfulness.
The BAST Method of Sound therapy works in a targeted as well as a general way.
In a 1-2-1 session the therapist listens to the client’s needs and then selects specific instruments and techniques to help with certain conditions, such as drum massage to help with muscle tension or uplifting sounds played on crystal bowls for mild depression for example. The instruments we choose is based on over 25 years of research and development.
In a group we usually work in a general way with relaxation, energising or motor co-ordination. Again, the therapist selects the instruments and techniques to work towards the therapeutic outcome. For example drumming can help with motor co-ordination or learning and behaviour depending on how you drum.
There is usually some kind of ‘homework’!
Following a BAST Method session the therapist or group leader will usually give some kid of technique you can take home with you to help your health and wellbeing improve even more. This is because taking personal responsibility for our health and wellbeing is something that goes by the wayside for so many of us. A simple breathing or humming exercise may be all that’s needed to help turn your health around.
We have arts-based approaches as well as passive sound therapy approaches
The field is growing all the time. Since 2009 we have been working within The Arts for Health and Wellbeing field and have looked at sound and voice-arts programmes. These programmes can include drumming and movement for learning and behaviour, sound or voicescape performances and community music making projects.
We love research
We have been conducting research and developing our method since 1994. In 2019 we will have 10 research programmes running – 8 being conducted by our students in their communities. From performance and arts- based approaches to looking at the therapeutic benefits of Altered States of Consciousness and the effect of drum and gong on Parkinson’s disease, there so much going on!
The world needs more sound therapists
At The British Academy of Sound Therapy we train around 70 new therapists each year helping grow the field of properly qualified sound therapists in local communities across the world. The recent rise in interest for sound therapy treatments has led to an increased demand for our course places and it is thrilling to share our knowledge with new groups of students every year.
Lyz in 1995
A journey through Sound Therapy – 1994 to now
Jun 13, 2019
As we approach our 20th anniversary at BAST I’ve been reflecting on how far we’ve come since I started working with sound therapy.
I first started looking into sound therapy in 1994 when I was diagnosed with ME and found that therapeutic sound made me feel so much better. Here is a picture of me back then! After it made such a big difference in my life, I wanted to become a sound therapist however, there was nowhere to train at that time. Although people were working with sound, there were no formally recognised training schools and I wanted to be properly qualified so I could practice professionally.
I spent a few years travelling to different parts of the world to find out how people traditionally used sound for healing. I visited many countries including Lapland, Australia, North America, India, Vietnam, North Africa, Sri Lanka, China…the list goes on, it was a real adventure. Whilst travelling I began to develop research techniques based on my findings. In the early days, I spent many years asking people “how does it feel when I play this?” and taking copious notes!
In 1997 I approached the Institute for Complementary and Natural Medicine (ICNM) with my techniques, presented them for assessment and demonstrated a treatment (which was somewhat different from the method we teach today). Following a successful assessment, I became the first sound therapist to be registered. By 1999 I had enough research and case studies under my belt to approach the ICNM to get consent to open a recognised training school and in 2000, The British Academy was born.
Fast forward to 2019 – there are now many methods and approaches taught by all different people in the sound therapy field. There are hundreds of soundbaths and gongbaths going on all over the world every week and sound therapy is fast becoming a trendy thing to help maintain health and wellbeing. The therapeutic sound field also has its own association to support and represent the field.
It has been a huge journey for me and my proud life’s work. 20 years on, I have trained hundreds of practitioners and group facilitators worldwide, have two ‘hubs’– one in the UK and one in Australia, a thriving research department and an amazing tutor team. BAST graduates are doing so much transformative and restorative work out there. From working with people with Alzheimer’s to ‘Zen-ing’ people out in therapeutic gong-baths, BAST Method practitioners and facilitators are to be found the world over.
I am so grateful that I found sound therapy and never cease to be amazed by the power that it has to transform people’s lives, health and wellbeing. I am humbled by the power of sound every day and sincerely hope that I will be around in another 20 years to report how things have changed!
6 ways to beat January blues with therapeutic sound & music
Jan 16, 2020
It’s half-way through January, the tinsel has been packed away and the bubble and sparkle of the New Year is ebbing away. As the long grey days of winter set in, what do we do to help banish those winter blues? It’s actually a lot easier than you think.
Due to the way we have evolved to respond to sound, music and sound therapy are really quick and effective at boosting your mood state. Research undertaken by us at The British Academy of Sound Therapy for Deezer asked 7591 people if they felt music played an important part in their health and wellbeing. 89% said ‘yes’ and a massive 82% of those said they used music to improve their mood. On average it took 9 minutes for people to feel the benefit of the happy music.
1) Create a happy playlist
It’s not surprising that many people choose music with great ‘happy lyrics’ – ‘Happy’ by Pharell came no.1 as the most well used happy track in our latest research.
2) Choose tracks with great ‘Happy’ lyrics
Choose tracks that have an upbeat tempo, high pitches, soaring and rising sounds. Some great feel-good tracks include:
Locked out of Heaven by Bruno Mars
Can you Feel It – The Jacksons
Can’t Stop the Feeling – Justin Timberlake
Sky Full of Stars – Coldplay
3) Consciously Designed Music
If you want a piece of Consciously Designed Music (that is, music specifically created to boost moodstate) then try ‘Solis’ by Lyz Cooper. This track is both relaxing and uplifting so if you don’t want a toe tapping tune then this is perfect.
4) The Tracks of your Life
Choose tracks and create a playlist of songs that remind you of happy times in your life.
5) The Tracks of Your Tears
When feeling down sometimes a happy tune just won’t cut it. It may be better for you to process and release the sadness. Referring again to the Deezer research, 47% of people used music to help process and release sadness by playing songs with meaningful lyrics or a sad and melancholic feeling. Allow yourself a few tracks worth of release and then get back into the happy stuff!
6) Sounds Good
Music is basically sound organised into pretty patterns which we love but sound therapy, being the roots of music, can be just as effective as boosting moodstate. Our research has shown that a soundbath or gongbath can improve moodstate significantly.
So beat those blues, plug in and put a spring in your step today!
Coronavirus Advice for Sound Therapists
Mar 12, 2020
This advice is for social distancing measures and is not appropriate during lockdown.
Everyone is talking about Coronavirus and it’s important to take caution if you are running group sound bath events. Here is our advice to our students, alumni and other sound therapists who might be running these sessions.
It is recommended that people do not lay down or sit closer than 2 metres apart
Handshakes, hugging and close conversation is not recommended
Always check contraindications beforehand – anyone with a respiratory infection, travelling from a high risk country or in a vulnerable group (underlying condition heart/lungs or elderly) are not to attend
Use antibacterial wipes to wipe down any shared mats, surfaces (including door handles), instruments before and after the session
Wear a mask – although this offers minimal protection
Wash hands in hot soapy water for 20 seconds minimum immediately after the session and/or handling the consent forms
Avoid touching face, mouth and eyes
Avoid close conversation with clients
We recommend that people do not stay for refreshments or gather in close proximity before or after the session.
Air the room before and after (you may need to get there earlier to make sure the room is not too cold for when people arrive)
Do not hold the soundbath in a place where there are vulnerable groups present such as the elderly or sick
Bring plenty of tissues with you to give to people that are coughing or sneezing in the session. If they leave them behind pick the tissue up in another tissue and bin in. Then wash your hands or use hand sanitiser
Ideally ask people to bring their own mats and blankets with them