Science -- and personal experience -- all but confirm the power that music and vibration can have over people's moods. For that reason, sound has often been integrated into relaxation practices, such as yoga and massage.
Sound therapy on its own, though, has re-emerged from its ancient roots and is being used to help treat a number of ailments, including pain and depression.
Sacred sound therapist Wendy Morrison said she's always been drawn to the sound of chanting and to the gong used at the end of her kundalini yoga classes. She knew there was something to these sounds and to the way they made her feel.
It wasn't until she was assisting a friend in teaching people how to use sound forks at a wellness center in Indiana, where she was a massage therapist, that Morrison decided to expand her use of sound as therapy.
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"It was an a-ha moment," she said.
Morrison, now a Bluffton resident, began using tuning forks as part of her massage sessions before fully focusing on sound therapy.
"My practice has moved to energy therapy, because people feel a shift more than (they do in a) massage," she said.
In July, Morrison joined the Energi Center on Hilton Head Island where she uses tuning forks, sound forks played in the ear, and body tuners, sounds with weights on them to create what she says is positive energy. She also uses gongs, crystals and crystal bowls, as well as chanting to release any stuck energy she feels in a client.
"The theory behind tuning forks is that, like an instrument, your body can be rebalanced through vibrations," Morrison said.
She explains to her clients that everything in the universe is simply energy vibrating at certain frequencies, that pain and depression reside at lower frequencies, and love and gratitude are at higher frequencies.
Her tuners range in frequency and are used to help clients reach deepening levels of meditation. Everyone has different needs.
"The angel tuner is the highest frequency I have," Morrison said. "Some people love it and some can't stand it because it's too high of a frequency for them at that time."
Paula Biondo, owner and therapist at Hilton Head Island Spa, says sounds are incorporated into massage therapies at the spa.
"Sound is really very powerful," she said. "It's more of an intuitive thing of what is needed when."
A variety of music is used at spas. Drums provide a more meditative state, flutes are more relaxing. Biondo said she usually hits the gong at the end of a session to help clear the energy out of the room.
"It sets the tone of their mood," she said.
Follow reporter Laura Oberle at twitter.com/IPBG_Laura.