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Aging Well: Science supports sound wellness

Research shows that incorporating sound in wellness — such as sound bathing — may help with stress, fatigue, and depression symptoms.

This biweekly column is sponsored by The Mather in Tysons, Virginia, a forward-thinking Life Plan Community for those 62 and better.

How do you Age Well? There are so many avenues for pursuing personal wellness, it can be overwhelming. Yet it’s so fulfilling to try something — whether an exercise class or a new habit — that instantly “rings true” with you.

One option you might not have considered is the growing trend of sound wellness. Sound wellness refers to using audio — including music, acoustic resonance, and/or vibration — to boost our well-being. You might play a specific song to change your mood, take in a crystal singing bowls experience, or use a smartphone app like Endel on the Apple Watch to create a personalized, neuroscience-based playlist of sounds customized to your biofeedback and more, designed to optimize your day. All of these are examples of sound wellness.

Grounded in Science

Science has shown that sound has a profound effect on our physical health, mood, mental health and overall well-being. Much of this has to do with how our brains respond to sound, vibration and rhythm.

Developers and manufacturers are using this science to develop apps, products and programs to harness sound therapies for a variety of uses, including:

  • to relieve stress
  • to promote creativity or boost productivity
  • to trigger rest, recovery or sleep
  • to manage pain

Researchers are even studying the effects of sound on cancer cells!

Sounding It Out     

Mather is a not-for-profit organization with three senior living communities and plans to open The Mather, a Life Plan Community for those 62 and better, in Tysons in 2024. Over the past year, they’ve incorporated sound wellness into some resident offerings such as workshops on rhythm and percussion. “For Active Aging Week this year, we invited residents and staff in our Life Plan Community in Tucson to try experiences that incorporated sound wellness,” says William Wesley Myers, director of Wellness Strategies for Mather. “We facilitated a nature- and sound-bathing hike in a nearby canyon (see image at top of this article) that incorporated exercise and nature immersion, followed by a guided meditation with a crystal bowl sound-bathing component.” Sound bathing uses tone and vibration to resonate with the body, and may help with stress, fatigue and depression symptoms.

From sound-bathing sessions to smartphone apps, sound wellness and its proven health benefits seem to have a lot to offer.

The Mather, projected to open in Tysons, VA, in 2024 for those 62 and better, is a forward-thinking Life Plan Community that defies expectations of what senior living is supposed to be.

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