A guide to thunder therapy, this year's new wellness trend

Thunder Therapy is the latest trend on the wellness block [Photo: Getty]

Thunder storms can be the dividers of people. For some a mere clap of the loud stuff can send them diving under the duvet, but others find listening to the driving rain during a storm completely relaxing.

If you fall into the latter camp, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that Thunder Therapy actually forms part of a new wellness trend.

What’s more it is actually backed by science.

According to a recent study, by researchers at the Brighton and Sussex Medical School, natural sounds, like rainfall, rustling leaves, birds tweeting, physically alter neural pathways in our brains, helping to make us feel calmer.

The study found that participants who listened to artificial sounds had patterns of inward-focused attention, linked to conditions such as depression, anxiety and PTSD.

But those who listened to natural sounds encouraged more external-focused attention, which suggested they were feeling more relaxed.

So it follows that just like listening to other natural elements like the wind or rain, sounds of thunder storms can have a calming affect on our minds.

Plus there’s all the feelings of snuggly cosiness that we associate with staying in the warm while a storm rages outside.

“Thunder therapy is a mindfulness practice whereby you listen to the sound of thunder or other sounds of nature, which can have a calming effect on anxiety and help to alleviate stress,” explains Selma Studer, founder of meditation studio GONG.

Thankfully, there are several apps and YouTube videos, which replicate the soothing sound of a storm since sitting and waiting for the thunder to hit isn’t very practical.

And Selma has some other suggestions for those who like the idea of Thunder Therapy, but aren’t too keen on storms.

“Whenever you feel a bout of stress or anxiety is to go outside and really focus on listening to everything you hear around you – birds chirping, rain falling, even the sound of tyres driving on the road.”

Listening to natural sounds, like thunder, can help people feel more calm [Photo: Getty]

Selma says that the practice of tuning in and noticing what sounds are around you is a very effective mindfulness technique because it strengthens your ability to focus and observe, without being caught up in your own thoughts.

“Another effective way to use sound to reduce stress and anxiety is to try sound therapy such as sound baths,” she continues.

“When you are exposed to the audible and physical sound waves from instruments such as a gong, for example, you will experience a deep state of relaxation.

“That’s because of the direct effect this sound has on brainwave activity, as well as the effect the vibrations have on your nervous system. Sound is a powerful healing technique for the mind and the body because of this dual effect.

“Whether it’s the sound of nature or the sound of a gong, listening to soothing sounds can calm your mind and reduce any feelings of stress or anxiety,” she adds.

Selma Studer is running a Gong workshop in The Retreat  at Live Well London, the new health and wellbeing show, 1 -3 March 2019.

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