For as long as I can remember, the days before my period have felt like an emotional rollercoaster. I had what I called “PMS on steroids,” but turns out, I actually have PMDD, or premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

PMDD is a mental health condition that affects about 10 percent of all menstruating people, per the Cleveland Clinic. It’s a severe form of PMS characterized by shifts in mood, anxiety, energy, and pain levels in the 10 to 14 days leading up to your period. Doctors aren’t exactly sure why it happens, but it likely has to do with the steep drop in the hormone progesterone in the days before menstruation, affecting your “feel-good” neurotransmitter serotonin, which regulates sleep, mood, and pain, per the National Institutes of Health.

The typical treatments for PMDD include therapy, antidepressants, and lifestyle changes like reducing stress, getting better sleep, and eating a balanced diet with healthy protein and fats, all of which I’ve implemented. While these methods do work to keep my PMDD in check, I still sometimes need something more to take the edge off each month (especially if I’m under lots of stress).

This is where natural healing modalities come into play. Enter: SOAAK, a sound healing app that just launched its new frequency composition called “PMS Support,” to help people manage the symptoms of PMS and PMDD. I’d never tried a natural method for my PMDD, but when given the chance to try the app free for 30 days, I jumped at the chance.

Here’s my review of the SOAAK app’s “PMS Support” frequency, the app itself, and whether sound healing worked to relieve my most annoying (and sometimes debilitating) PMDD symptoms.

First, what is SOAAK?

SOAAK technologies is a health tech company in affiliation RenuYou—an in-person natural clinic in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The company started about nine years ago when co-founder Henry Penix and company president Laura Widney combined their knowledge of technology and naturopathic healing. When the duo’s in-person clients began asking how to reap the benefits of sound healing therapy in the comfort of their homes, the pair began working with scientists, doctors, and app engineers to create the SOAAK app.

While the concept of a sound healing app is fairly new, sound healing therapy itself has existed for generations as a staple of Traditional Eastern medicine. You’ll often find tuning forks, Tibetan singing bowls, or gongs used in sound bath treatments, to help people relax and reduce a multitude of physical and mental health symptoms, according to December 2020 review in Integrative Medicine (Encinitas). Even spa-like music during a massage, or the sounds of nature, can be considered sound therapy.

The SOAAK app has 30 different sound frequency compositions to choose from based on your needs. The most popular include:

  • “Sleep well” (for insomnia)
  • “Anti-anxiety”
  • “Mood boost”
  • “Focus” (for better concentration during the day)
  • “Headache and migraine support”
  • And now, “PMS support”

Each 20-minute frequency composition can be downloaded and played at any time, much like a meditation. Each composition has a variety of tones set at different Hertz (Hz)—a measurement of sound. The most commonly used frequency in spiritual healing is 432 Hz, which has also been associated with lowered heart rate and blood pressure, per an August 2019 review in Explore: The Journal of Science & Healing. But there are zero to (basically) a trillion different Hz frequencies that can be combined and customized to meet your need, according to Widney.

You can listen to frequency compositions in their original form, or layered under sounds of nature or music. Other app features include:

  • A series of 21-day programs on various mental health and motivational topics from scientists, physicians, life coaches, and more. One example is “Healing Your Inner Child” with psychotherapist Amy Van Slambrook.
  • A health biometrics section—where you can connect your wearable device (like an Apple Watch) to keep track of things like heart rate, heart rate variability, sleep cycle, and more.
  • A virtual health concierge—a chat where you can ask questions about the app’s frequencies, programs, and other self-care tips. This tool can also recommend frequencies based on your current health biometrics.
  • A gratitude journal—where you can reflect on your day or experience with a frequency.
  • A dual audio feature—which allows you to play the frequencies while watching a video, listening to a podcast or audiobook, or listening to your own music.
  • A leader board—where you can “gamify” your sound healing experience by seeing how you match up with other top app users.
The stress relief frequency found on the SOAAK app.

SOAAK App — $29.99

  • User-friendly
  • Comes with 30 different frequencies
  • Bluetooth pairing to your Apple Watch
  • Can play and pause the frequencies when you need
  • Does not list the hertz (Hz) frequency information in the app
  • Monthly rate can be pricey for some

My 30-day SOAAK app review

I decided to start using SOAAK’s “PMS support” frequency at the beginning of the month (my period usually hits at the end of the month) to get the full effect before and during that 10-day window.

When I opened the app on day one, I was greeted by my name at the top, a weekly calendar, and a daily affirmation with the positive message,”I can adapt to any situation that comes my way.” (You can opt to have daily affirmations sent to you via email or text, too.) Overall, I found the app very user-friendly and easy to navigate. Plus, it just looks high-tech and aesthetically pleasing.

I clicked on the “frequencies” icon at the bottom of the page, and scrolled until I found “PMS support.” The description of the frequency said it helps support “balanced emotions, hormones, pain relief, and decreased bloating.” As I began to play the original version of frequency, it sounded like I was floating through outer space, but with lower, more grumbling undertones than I’d imagined. (It didn’t sound as high-pitched and flighty as the stress-relief composition, for example.)

I found myself gravitating toward the music version of this frequency—a guitar strumming sound with the frequencies playing underneath—which I listened to during my lunch break on the first day (with an alarm set on my phone in case I dozed off, of course).

For the remaining days, I decided to either listen to it at night or in morning, in bed with my comfy sleep mask on. I started by listening to them out loud, but discovered that wearing headphones offers a more elevated experience. Some days, I couldn’t get around to listening to the entire 20 minutes, so it was nice that I was able to pause and play it whenever I wanted. I got into the routine of listening and then logging how I felt afterward in the gratitude journal.

The 21-day program feature on the SOAAK app.

Photo: SOAAK

During my “good time” of the month, I found that SOAAK’s “PMS support” frequency was a pleasant way to cap off or start my days. I entered a meditative-like state, where I was aware, but my brain felt calm and slow. It felt similar to when I listen to binaural beats—i.e., beats set at two different frequencies and recorded using two separate microphones, for a layered effect in each ear— which may have the potential to alter brainwave activity, per the Sleep Foundation. (However, more research is needed to confirm any health benefits.)

On some days, “PMS support” also gave me a relaxing, head-tingling sensation that I feel when I watch or listen to ASMR (a physical sensation in response to visual or auditory stimuli, also called autonomous sensory meridian response, per UCLA Health). I definitely added “PMS support” to my rotation of relaxing content that I listen to on a regular basis, and feel that it could help me relax even when I’m not in the throws of PMDD.

Then came the true test: the 10 days before my period.

Did SOAAK help my PMDD symptoms?

One of the main ways I know I’m headed into that pre-period time is when I start having repetitive, intrusive thoughts. They tend to get stuck on a loop, and are often negative self-talk in nature. When this happened this month, I turned on “PMS support,” no matter the time of day, in addition to my morning or night ritual. I even played it once while walking with my dog, and while cleaning my apartment.

Listening to the frequency helped my brain immediately focus on something else, and the racing thought loop just…stopped. Even if I tried to get the thoughts going again, it was harder to conjure them up. It felt great to get immediate relief from one of my most annoying PMDD symptoms—especially when I’m under more stress. I also feel like my anxiety in general was slightly reduced after listening to it spontaneously.

While I wouldn’t say “PMS Support” relieved my physical symptoms (like cramping, headaches, bloating, and fatigue), it did help take my mind off any pain for a little while until any medicines I took, like Advil or Midol, kicked in. (Though some people may notice pain relief while listening; everyone’s different!)

Overall, I do feel that SOAAK’s “PMS Support” frequency composition helped me have a calmer, less emotionally tumultuous time leading up to my period. It certainly wasn’t a cure-all (I still use my traditional treatment methods), but it did help, and I believe I can start using it in conjunction with therapy, medication, and other stress-relieving techniques.

This leads me to a larger question: Does sound healing in general actually work? (More on this below.)

Does sound healing therapy really work?

There’s no solid evidence to suggest that sound healing therapy can cure any disease. The studies on sound healing therapy for both physical and mental health conditions are limited, have mixed results, and often showcase a variety of outcomes. That said, it can still be a helpful supplemental therapy in conjunction with other clinically backed treatments, especially to help promote relaxation.

On a broader scale, we do know that our nervous systems respond to sound—for the better, and sometimes, for the worse.

“Our autonomic nervous system has the tendency to respond and co-regulate to the rhythms around us,” says Ellen Vora, MD, a board-certified psychiatrist specializing in women’s mental health, and author of The Anatomy of Anxiety. “This means, in times of stress, our bodies can pick up and sync with sounds around us—like noisy city life or people shouting, which have certain sound frequencies—causing us to feel even worse.” These sounds can increase our heart rate and even send our nervous systems into fight-or-flight mode, she adds.

But when we listen to more relaxing frequencies, like wind rustling through trees, birdsong, ocean waves, or certain music, our heart rate can also sync up (and slow down) with this rhythm, relaxing us, says Dr. Vora. This could also be why the sound of things like singing bowls elicit a calming response. Dr. Vora says it could help us move through pent-up emotions, or what she calls “emotional constipation.”

In fact, a small July 2017 observational study in the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine found that participants who listened to a low-frequency, Tibetan singing bowl meditation scored significantly lower on anxiety and depression scales than prior to listening, suggesting it does have some mental benefit.

Bottom line: Sound healing therapy, in the form of sound frequencies, cannot necessarily cure or heal you, and more scientific studies are needed in order to fully understand its effect on brain chemistry. But if it brings you a sense of calm, and helps you better deal with things like PMDD or PMS, it’s harmless and can be worth a try, especially in conjunction with care from your doctor.

And keep in mind: If you’re having depressive thoughts, thoughts of suicide, or thoughts of harming yourself or someone else, this is considered a mental health emergency that requires professional care. Call your doctor and go to the nearest emergency room as soon as possible. You can also call or text “988,” the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, for immediate support.

Is there a future for sound healing therapy?

Sound healing therapy could be the wave (pun intended) of the future of holistic health care. There’s no denying that apps like SOAAK are offering convenient and easy options to stop the effects of stress and anxiety in its tracks, and help you lead a calmer existence. Though we still have a long way to go in completely understanding the effect of frequencies on health and the human body, I have a feeling we’ll start to see more and more sound therapy apps (and other holistic apps) crop up in the coming years.

Both Penix and Widney say they want to help people “reclaim their health, and take their care into their own hands.” Using this app has certainly made me think more about the ways I can better take care of myself during my 10-day, pre-period phase, and reclaim this monthly routine.

If you want to try SOAAK

If you have PMDD, PMS, want to get better sleep, or are just plain curious about the effects of sound healing, download SOAAK today on IOS or Android and start a seven-day free trial. From there, you can opt for a monthly subscription of $29.99 per month, or a yearly subscription at $24.99 per month (or $300 per year).

Well+Good articles reference scientific, reliable, recent, robust studies to back up the information we share. You can trust us along your wellness journey.

  1. Goldsby, Tamara L, and Michael E Goldsby. “Eastern Integrative Medicine and Ancient Sound Healing Treatments for Stress: Recent Research Advances.” Integrative medicine (Encinitas, Calif.) vol. 19,6 (2020): 24-30.

  2. Calamassi, Diletta, and Gian Paolo Pomponi. “Music Tuned to 440 Hz Versus 432 Hz and the Health Effects: A Double-blind Cross-over Pilot Study.” Explore (New York, N.Y.) vol. 15,4 (2019): 283-290. doi:10.1016/j.explore.2019.04.001

  3. Goldsby, Tamara L et al. “Effects of Singing Bowl Sound Meditation on Mood, Tension, and Well-being: An Observational Study.” Journal of evidence-based complementary & alternative medicine vol. 22,3 (2017): 401-406. doi:10.1177/2156587216668109

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