Q & A:
You coined the term Sound Medicine according to Swiss & Austrian Public Health professionals. You also gained experience in indigenous sound medicine in Asian LMICs and around the world. How do Music and Medicine complement each other?
The term sound medicine is currently used to describe mental and physical recovery through trance states. I call my work with sound and vibration "Sound As Medicine" or "Sonic Medicine". It is upclose work with sensory perception - motion, vibration, sounds. In addition to music therapy, my personal interest also led me to study Asian systems of medicine for many years. In doing so, I came across meditation practices that use instruments and have great benefits for our "stress system". It is not only about coming to rest, but also about the regeneration of the nervous system. In doing so, I deal with meditation, vibration, self-awareness, neurogenic phenomena and mental health. During my years in Asia, I have become more familiar with the specific tools and methods used there. For example, the gong has a centuries-old tradition in Southeast Asia related to meditation, but so do Tibetan singing bowls and other instruments. For this purpose, sounds are used over a long period of time. Due to the sound frequencies, which vibrate in a very wide spectrum, one quickly enters a meditative state - without meditation experience. It is believed that the vibrations of the instruments help the body to relax deeply. In the process, the nervous system and the "stress system" are relaxed. We leave the fight & flight mode. Space is created for new insights, thought processes and behavioral changes. Medicine and music complement each other in music therapy in many ways, for example in neonatology, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's therapy. But music also has a lasting effect on healthy people: for example, it has been proven that brain areas are more developed in long-term musicians - for example, the corpus callosum, the bar that connects the two halves of the brain, as well as certain brain areas that are relevant for sound and sensory processing. So there is still much to be explored.
Could you explain the difference between sound medicine / therapy / healing / meditation?
I often get asked whether there is a difference between sound as medicine, therapy, healing, and meditation aid. Here is a quick overview for you to understand what is meant by these terms:
Sound medicine, sound therapy, sound healing, and sound meditation are all terms that refer to the use of sound and music as a tool for improving health and well-being. However, these terms can have different meanings and connotations, and may refer to different practices or approaches.
Sound medicine is a broad term that can refer to any therapeutic practice that uses sound as a tool for healing or improving health and well-being. This can include a variety of practices, such as sound baths, vocal toning, and the use of musical instruments, and may be used in conjunction with other holistic or complementary therapies.
Sound therapy is similar to sound medicine, but may have a more specific focus on the use of sound as a therapeutic tool. This can include practices such as music therapy, which is a recognized healthcare profession that involves the use of music and musical interventions in a structured, evidence-based manner to address the physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals.
Sound healing is a term that is often used to refer to practices that use sound and music as a tool for promoting physical, emotional, and spiritual healing. This can include a variety of practices, such as sound baths, vocal toning, and the use of musical instruments, and may involve the use of specific frequencies or vibrations to promote healing.
Sound meditation is a practice that involves using sound and music as a focus for meditation and mindfulness. This can include listening to music or other sounds, participating in sound baths or other sound healing practices, or using specific sounds or musical instruments as a meditation aid.
Overall, while these terms may overlap in their use of sound and music as therapeutic tools, they can refer to different practices and approaches, and may have different goals and intended outcomes.
Sound medicine is an immersive sound experience, a trauma-informed practice, and a deep relaxation method. A practical session is called Sound Bath. It combines music & sound, sensory/somatic experiences, and meditative states.
Before any 1:1 Sound Bath with me, a health and psychological suitability assessment is done.
Sound Bath facilitators should ideally approach their work in a trauma-informed way.
Sound baths generally describe a sound experience that you can immerse yourself in. It is called a "sound bath" because the sound waves "bathe" you as you relax and receive the musical experience. Some examples of sound baths are sound baths combined with mindfulness, experiential sound baths, guided sound journeys, and guided sound meditations.
A sound bath combines mindfulness practice, breathwork, and deep listening, and puts your mind in a meditative state, with the possibility of specific brainwave entrainment.
It is believed that harmonics, low frequency sounds, as well as binaural dynamics assist the waking mind in entering a meditative state. It is also believed that the low-frequency vibrations emitted by the instruments penetrate the body and lead to relaxation.
Sound meditation is a sound bath using instruments such as gongs, singing bowls, drums and many other instruments. Sound meditation is a form of meditation that combines the benefits of gentle sounds and guided meditation.
Sound journeys can be an activating, balancing and/or relaxing experience. They combine guided inner journeys, sound bathing, and the use of various instruments to guide you to journey within.
How does a Sound Bath work?
No special experience, preparation or clothing is required for a sound bath. We lie down on yoga mats, fitness mats or a comfortable place with a warming blanket and an eye mask.
During the sound bath, you lie with your eyes closed (or an eye mask), and the sound expert creates gentle sounds that envelop you. You listen to the low frequency sounds of traditional and modern instruments. The soothing sounds and musical dynamics put you in a deep state of relaxation. The corresponding instruments vibrate in frequency ranges that are believed to move the brain into alpha, theta, and delta wave states and even into so-called gamma frequency ranges. It has been observed that sound can act like an "elevator" to meditative states. You experience mental insights, physical sensations or relaxation, translucent moments, synesthesia - the range is wide. At the end of a session you feel deeply relaxed, light, balanced, calm and serene.
What happens during a session?
The session begins with arriving, setting up for the sound bath, a brief introduction and a short guided meditation with breathing exercise to lead you towards the sound bath. The instruments are then played for 30-90 minutes. You sit or lie comfortably and relaxed, listening to the various sounds. The session ends with silence to allow the experience to integrate - followed by a guided closure that allows you to return to the present moment.
Imagine giving your eyes and mind a break, simply and gently. A virtual session is a good way to take a break from your daily routine, home office, laptop or cell phone. You should be in a room where you are not disturbed by other people or loud noises. You will need headphones, a comfortable place to lie down, and a safe place to close your eyes and listen. We want to create a relaxed space during the session to achieve a state of calm and serenity. It is important that you wear headphones to get the most out of the virtual session.
Use the following link for a virtual mini soundbath:
"I highly recommend the sound, vibration and healing experience with Dr. Miriam Burger. She combines her years of experience and knowledge as a physician with her phenomenal skills as a musician (violinist) and her in-depth knowledge and research in the field of sound healing.
I have taken sound baths before, but what Miriam offers is an exceptionally powerful practice. The way Miriam guided me into the sound bath journey caused a realignment of my entire body on a cellular and emotional level. Her warm and compassionate manner made me feel very safe and confident.
At the end of the sound bath, I felt a deep sense of connection with every single cell in my body, a deep sense of well-being, relaxation and inner harmony. The tension in my shoulder dissolved and I felt a lightness that ran through my whole body."
CEO & Founder of the Bartu NSR METHOD
"My session with Dr. Burger has furthered my interest in the field of sound medicine and research. As a current sound meditation practitioner and facilitator, I admire and respect Dr. Burger's encouragement to not only continue to learn more, but to also be an active participant in the area of research. She is highly knowledgeable, open minded and thought provoking. She was very generous with her time and feedback. I look forward to working with her again, and would recommend anyone interested in being coached in this space to do the same."
Founder of Noble Tones USA
"I have delved into gong playing through Miriam's compact course Gong Mastery Basics and gained deep insight into the world of sounds and vibrations. I was particularly impressed by Miriam's inexhaustible knowledge from scientific, medical, ethnocultural, psychological, energetic and spiritual backgrounds and the linking of all this content.
I enjoyed every single lesson and now know a variety of gong playing techniques and their possible applications. I also know how to create a deeply relaxing and healing gong session for my coaching clients. I wholeheartedly recommend Miriam from the bottom of my heart and am happy to now be able to offer individual Gong Baths in a wonderful villa in Berlin."
Coaching & Imaginary journeys
"Dear Miriam, such a great sound meditation with you today. Thank you! For me this was the 1. time having a digital Sound Bath, and I can well imagine that directly in the room with the instruments again more intense effect. As if one would be carried away by the vibrations!"
Dr. med. Beatrice Maxi Borchard, MD
Board-certified specialist in Psychiatry & Psychotherapy
Founder of Minerva Med, Switzerland
"I will recommend Dr. Burger's work to all my patients here in Zurich, because I feel that what she offers has an extremely positive effect on the nervous system and can really help people achieve deep states of neurological relaxation, triggering the body's natural autoregulatory processes and reducing pain and tension in the body. The human body is 80-85% fluid, and I felt that the vibrations of the gong and crystal bowls were extremely good at passing through fluids and improving the connection and communication between all the cells in my body.
If you are curious about discovering the healing power of sound baths, Miriam is the perfect person for you. She has an incredible selection of high-quality crystal bowls and gongs. She knows exactly what she is doing and the results I have felt confirm that."
CEO & Founder of the Bartu NSR METHOD
"I want to share with you what an incredibly mind-blowing experience I had with Dr. Miriam Burger: She spontaneously gave me a sound healing session. I can not even describe it - I am moved, touched, blissed out, deeply relaxed, recharged, inspired and motivated. It was so great... I highly recommend her - go check her out here on Instagram, and keep an eye on all that what's to come! I want to repeat, Miriam, that I am incredibly grateful and blissed-out."
Dr. med. Sabine Egger, MD
Board certified specialist in Anesthesiology
Founder of Mind your body, free your mind
"Dear Miriam, thank you so much for this great meditation. It is exactly what I needed this morning. It was incredibly beautiful and relaxing."
Dr. med. Sabine Schindler, M.D.
General Practitioner, Germany
"I had the great fortune to do some mini-coaching with Miriam. At that time I was in the process of reorienting myself and going deeper into the topic of sound and health. Miriam gave me valuable impulses and tips for my further professional development and deepened my knowledge about some medical research results. I am grateful for the coaching with her and the "female empowerment". It gave me a motivational boost to continue my path with Ayurveda, Pranayama and sound healing."