As we approach our 20th anniversary at BAST I’ve been reflecting on how far we’ve come since I started working with sound therapy.
first started looking into sound therapy in 1994 when I was diagnosed with ME and found that therapeutic sound made me feel so much better. Here is a picture of me back then! After it made such a big difference in my life, I wanted to become a sound therapist however, there was nowhere to train at that time. Although people were working with sound, there were no formally recognised training schools and I wanted to be properly qualified so I could practice professionally.
I spent a few years travelling to different parts of the world to find out how people traditionally used sound for healing. I visited many countries including Lapland, Australia, North America, India, Vietnam, North Africa, Sri Lanka, China…the list goes on, it was a real adventure. Whilst travelling I began to develop research techniques based on my findings. In the early days, I spent many years asking people “how does it feel when I play this?” and taking copious notes!
In 1997 I approached the Institute for Complementary and Natural Medicine (ICNM) with my techniques, presented them for assessment and demonstrated a treatment (which was somewhat different from the method we teach today). Following a successful assessment, I became the first sound therapist to be registered. By 1999 I had enough research and case studies under my belt to approach the ICNM to get consent to open a recognised training school and in 2000, The British Academy was born.
Fast forward to 2019 – there are now many methods and approaches taught by all different people in the sound therapy field. There are hundreds of soundbaths and gongbaths going on all over the world every week and sound therapy is fast becoming a trendy thing to help maintain health and wellbeing. The therapeutic sound field also has its own association to support and represent the field.
It has been a huge journey for me and my proud life’s work. 20 years on, I have trained hundreds of practitioners and group facilitators worldwide, have two ‘hubs’– one in the UK and one in Australia, a thriving research department and an amazing tutor team. BAST graduates are doing so much transformative and restorative work out there. From working with people with Alzheimer’s to ‘Zen-ing’ people out in therapeutic gong-baths, BAST Method practitioners and facilitators are to be found the world over.
I am so grateful that I found sound therapy and never cease to be amazed by the power that it has to transform people’s lives, health and wellbeing. I am humbled by the power of sound every day and sincerely hope that I will be around in another 20 years to report how things have changed!