This story took place many, many years ago. I’m not mentioning the location, setting, names, therapist, Protected Health Information, etc. I don’t even remember those details. And after you take it all in, you won’t care anyway. =)
The individual experienced severe abdominal pain. (Let’s call the individual “Susan.”) The music therapist received a referral to alleviate pain and promote relaxation.
Intense Pain, Intense Sounds
When the music therapist entered the room, she noticed that Susan was moaning loudly with quick breaths, over and over. As Susan winced and clenched her stomach with her hands, the music therapist slowly came closer.
As soon as the therapist met Susan eye-to-eye, she softly introduced herself as the music therapist and quickly mentioned that she was going to try something with Susan.
Susan didn’t seem to care much as her moans escalated and her pain seemed to worsen.
The music therapist came comfortably closer and breathed with Susan – with slight moans in between fast inhales. Both tempo and slight movements were in sync between the two.
The music therapist became louder to match the volume of Susan’s moans. Once the volume of moans matched, Susan glanced at the therapist, then looked away again in pain.
As the therapist mirrored the volume, tempo, movements, and pitch changes of Susan, the therapist made the breaths slightly longer.
Susan replicated the therapist’s slight change in tempo, and slightly slowed her breathing as well.
As the breath slowed, so did the moans. A few moments later, the moans became steady tones. Literally, the pitch of the moans turned from wavering, cracking ups and downs to a monotone sound.
Susan Takes Over
Then Susan took control of the sound. What had first been a reactionary pain response slowly turned into Susan’s one source of power.
Susan took the lead, making the tones louder, slower, steadier, and longer. The therapist simply followed Susan, mimicking her every move and sound.
Minutes seemed like ages passing by. The strength of Susan’s voice was in charge of the experience. As her vocal tones became even slower and lower still, the therapist continued to follow.
Susan’s body movements changed from tight squirming and restlessness. Now she was purposefully using the core of the body as an air cavity. The stomach and shoulders rose up and out, then completely deflated with each breath.
The breath and sound went on and on.
Exhaustion Kicks In
The repetition was tiresome for Susan, and the Oooo’s and Ohhh’s soon morphed into Ahhhh’s and Haaaa’s. The therapist continued the vocal mirroring.
The intensity inside the room seeped away as Susan continued to slow her breath and elongate the vowels.
Relaxation and Sleep
It wasn’t much longer that the open vowels became hummmmmms, Susan gave a yawn and closed her eyes as soft tears rolled down her cheeks. Susan’s breathing was still deep, but the sound disappeared. Only long sighs came from Susan’s voice.
When it looked like Susan was asleep, the music therapist left the room to go document.
Thank you voice.