New Sound Therapy Treatment Uses AI Technology to Boost Relaxation, Optimize Mental Health

Sound therapy has been used in various forms, from guided meditation to yoga and sound baths, but Ray Kelly takes the practice a step further with the introduction of Sava, a human-sized sound pod that mixes body vibrations with immersive music.

“Sound has a profound ability to help the body heal and recover in ways that you can’t do without it,” said the founder and chief executive officer.

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Kelly has a background in injury rehab, specializing in working with touring musicians and entertainers in performance and pain management.

“In that time, I started to see things that just didn’t make sense in terms of how people were able to perform well under certain levels of pain,” he explained. “For example, I would see musicians go out on stage and perform and do things a typical athlete wouldn’t be able to do, to move in a certain way. And that started to make me, as a science-based person, want to understand.”

He started down the research rabbit hole and discovered “sound, vibration and frequency and energy has the powerful ability to talk directly to your nervous system and influence your state,” he said.

The experience was the catalyst to integrating sound therapy into his practice, using it to put his clients’ nervous systems into a state of calm, so that they would respond more positively to the treatments. With Sava — the first release coming from his New York-based wellness company Tersa — he aims to take sound therapy to another level.

“You lay on top of the pod,” he explained of the cocoon-like shape with spatial surround sound. “It wraps around your body, with wings. So, there’s an intentional ergonomic design that’s been built into it.”

Sava uses AI technology to select music frequencies that promise to calm the nervous system and relax the body while helping the brain perform better, enhancing creativity, focus and optimizing mental and emotional health, according to the company.


There’s a big name behind the satisfying sounds; Kelly’s business partner is musician and producer Nick Littlemore of Pnau and Empire of the Sun.

“It more feels like a cinematic score than it does meditation,” said Kelly. “We’ve created a platform that your body is being kind of hypnotized by — these heartbeat-style rhythms of bass moving through your body…We’re pushing the boundaries of what musical experience could be. The way you’ve always experienced music in your life is auditory, through hearing, right…but this is something where you’re going to feel the music at a cellular level.”

His associates include Dr. Jonathan Leary of Los Angeles social wellness club Remedy Place and Dr. Ronald Kvitne, a longtime team physician for the L.A. Lakers, L.A. Galaxy, L.A. Kings and Ultimate Fighting Championship. Priced at $10,000 a pod, with a $500 refundable deposit, partners include companies in luxury wellness and professional sports. Kelly has begun shipments. “We’ve sold out for 2024 for our first window of delivery. We’re now taking pre-orders for delivery in 2025.”

Next, he’ll host Tersa’s first in-person event in an art gallery in L.A. in July and August, where visitors will be able to test the pods. And there’s a consumer version of Sava coming: “For those that can’t afford the premium version, it’s going to be available at a much lower price point.”

For Laura Widney, offering accessibility — though with a price — was the intention behind creating Soaak, a sound therapy app. At $29.99 a month or $299.99 a year, the Soaak app offers more than 30 frequency compositions, along with daily mindful intention messages, a virtual health concierge and 21-day programs guided by various wellness and spiritual experts including minister and author Michael Beckwith to help form new habits.

“It’s for people who aren’t in our cities or can’t come to the clinic for an appointment,” said Widney, founder and president of Soaak Clinics — holistic health and wellness centers in Oklahoma offering sound therapy since they first opened in 2016.

Soaak, a sound therapy app that features mindful intention messages and programs.
Soaak, a sound therapy app that features mindful intention messages and programs.

Widney began in beauty as a hairstylist and salon spa owner before opening the first clinic in Tulsa.

“I was kind of in-between health and beauty,” she said. “Being your stylist, I was like an honorary therapist. I just listened all day to people telling me their issues and problems and so much of it was health related. That really fueled my passion. I sold my salon and took that and reinvested it into my health clinic.”

She was introduced to sound therapy by a friend working in naturopathic medicine, and began offering sessions for 20 to 30 minutes a pop, with clients visiting several times a week. “One of my biggest desires [was] to get the frequency therapy digitized. We have to make this available to people at all times,” she remembered.

The app, seven years in the making, aims to help with sleep — which was the most popular frequency therapy in her practice — depression, focus, memory, mood, as well as PMS symptoms.

“We listed the top 12 things that were ailments, I guess you could call them, that most people had issues with and most people came in with,” said Widney. “And PMS was a big one…It’s not just cramps, you know, it’s moodiness, it’s the lack of concentration when you’re on your period and you’re experiencing all these symptoms.”

A team of holistic practitioners have helped develop the frequencies, she said. “They’re multiple frequencies layered, and it’s not just one frequency. That’s what makes those frequencies so unique. You cannot find them anywhere else.”

At the root of the therapy, sound frequency is defined as the number of times per second that a sound pressure wave repeats itself, and the standard measure of frequency is a hertz (with one hertz equaling one vibration per second). A well-known frequency in wellness circles — and one that’s transformative according to those working in sound therapy — is 528 hertz.

Recent scientific research has recognized the therapeutic benefits of music on humans, connecting the effects different frequencies have on the endocrine system, particularly in lowering cortisol, which regulates a body’s stress response. One paper studying the effect of 528 hertz on rats, released by the National Institutes of Health in January 2023, concluded that prolonged exposure to the frequency reduced anxiety-related behaviors. “This study may lead to ascertain a possible therapy in which sounds may be utilized to reduce anxiety in individuals,” noted the research.

“It decreases stress naturally and improves mood,” James Beshara said of the benefits of 528 hertz.

Beshara is a musician and entrepreneur who’s behind Magic Mind — a drink with natural caffeine that sells at Erewhon and other health food stores, and is a blend of organic ingredients, including matcha, ashwagandha and lion’s mane, with nootropics, adaptogens and vitamins to support productivity and mental clarity.

As part of a wellness partnership, he has teamed with SoulCycle in L.A. to host a class utilizing 528 hertz sound frequency.

“We plan on working on an entire 528 hertz class for all of their customers,” he said. “That’s an hour dedicated to what this research has found out the last two or three years. Yes, exercise is amazing, and the other thing that you can do while you’re exercising or while you’re going through all of your emails is listen to 528 hertz music — it’s slightly different than conventional music which is at 440 hertz — to decrease stress and improve focus,” Beshara said, offering the perfect sound bite: “It’s like vitamins for your ears.”