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What is the Safe and Sound Protocol and How Can It Help You?

Based on Polyvagal Theory 

Polyvagal Theory or the “science of feeling safe,” is another one of the key research advancements that helps us better understand our challenges and gives us a foundational framework for non-invasive ways to support them.

Developed by Dr. Stephen Porges, Polyvagal Theory focuses on what is happening in the body and the nervous system, and explains how our sense of safety, or danger or threat, can impact our behavior. Understanding Polyvagal Theory gives us a scientific framework that can be applied through physiological, or “bottom-up” therapies, to help change and improve how we feel, think and connect with others.

The mind and body are connected through the vagus nerve, which is the longest nerve in the autonomic nervous system, stretching from the brainstem to the colon. It is our internal control center, allowing the brain to monitor and receive information about many of our bodily functions.

The vagus nerve helps to regulate many critical aspects of human physiology, including the heart rate, blood pressure, sweating, digestion, and even speaking. As the body takes in information automatically through neuroception, the vagus nerve processes the signals and cues from the world around us and, in turn, determines how we react through three physiological states:

  • Parasympathetic / Ventral Vagal state — our centered “true self” state, where all social interaction, connection and cognition occurs.
  • Sympathetic state — feeling of threat or danger and feeling the need to either “fight” or “flee” from a situation to seek safety.
  • Dorsal Vagal state — our “freeze” state, when we feel our lives are so immediately threatened that we become immobilized.

What is the Safe and Sound Protocol? 

The Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) is a non-invasive, evidence-based intervention that uses specially filtered music to help people regulate their nervous system and improve their social engagement. The SSP is based on the Polyvagal Theory, based on decades of research and developed by Dr. Stephen Porges. The SSP music is designed to stimulate the vagus nerve, which can help to calm the nervous system and promote a state of safety and well-being.

The SSP has been shown to be effective in a variety of populations, including children with autism spectrum disorder, adults with post-traumatic stress disorder, and people with anxiety disorders. The SSP is typically administered over a period of five hours, and it can be used as a stand-alone intervention or in conjunction with other therapies.

The SSP is a safe and effective intervention that can be helpful for people of all ages. If you are struggling with auditory sensitivity, social anxiety, or other challenges, the SSP may be a good option for you.

The SSP’s effectiveness has been proven in a wide range of studies. Trial participants demonstrated statistically significant improvements in:

  • enhances emotional regulation
  • reduces auditory sensitivity
  • improves social engagement
  • promotes resilience
  • reduces stress and anxiety
  • improves sleep

The SSP can be beneficial for clients experiencing the following struggles:

  • Anxiety
  • Inattention and Focus
  • Auditory sensitivities
  • Behavioral Regulation and Resilience 
  • Physical Coordination and Balance
  • Reading and Auditory Processing
  • Sleep
  • Speech and Language 
  • Social and emotional difficulties
  • Trauma and PTSD
  • Stressors that impact social engagement

The complete SSP program comprises 3 main pathways that are accessible through and facilitated by a qualified and certified professional.

Each of the SSP pathways is composed of different filtered, unfiltered, and calming 5-hour music playlists for either children or adults.

The SSP pathways are designed to help the nervous system to better receive, process and respond to the cues and signals from the world around us. This helps us learn how to more easily and consistently feel better regulated in the face of life’s challenges.

Information sourced from the Integrated Listening website: https://integratedlistening.com/ 

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