The sound of the Australian outback reverberated around a care home while residents took a deep breath and relaxed.
Didgeridoo player Chris Thorn, who is also a mental health nurse, enchanted his audience with a special performance with the traditional Aboriginal instrument at the Pendine Park care organisation in Wrexham.
According to Anita Moran, an activities and enrichment coordinator at their Hillbury House care home, she has never seen residents so relaxed.
She said: “The effect on residents has been astounding – it really is amazing.
“One resident described it to me as like taking a deep breath and then just floating off in a bubble.”
Resident Olga Ord, 84, was transfixed by the experience of watching Chris play.
She said: “It’s been lovely watching and listening to him, it’s an amazing sound. I was listening to him play and the next thing I was sound asleep. It was quite peculiar to be honest.
“I woke up feeling I had almost been in a trance. But I did feel so relaxed. I hope he comes to play again.”
Fellow resident Brenda Simons, 85, of enjoyed the healing concert with her husband Jack who was visiting her.
Brenda said: “It’s so nice having something different than normal entertainers. This was so different and so relaxing. We really enjoyed it.”
Jack added: “I can understand why it is described as a healing concert. Almost everyone in the room was soon so relaxed they were all asleep!
“It was certainly something different. I never realised how difficult didgeridoos must be to play. I was amazed at how he breathes to get a continual uninterrupted note.”
Chris took up playing the didgeridoo 18 years ago after having one bought for him as a Christmas present.
He says there’s a proven sound healing effect that comes from listening to the wind instrument.
He said: “I have been a mental health nurse for more than 30 years. The didgeridoo has a positive effect on relaxation and pain management. Our bodies are made up of a high percentage of water and it’s almost like throwing a pebble into a lake.
“The effects ripple outwards and the sound massage that people experience has a calming and deeply relaxing effect. I’m really not surprised so many residents fell into a deep sleep.
“In fact I will guarantee they will sleep better than they have in years for the next few nights.”
He said: “A player needs to continually vibrate his or her lips while breathing in through the nose and simultaneously expelling air out of the mouth using the tongue and cheeks. Once you get the technique right it becomes second nature.
“I have no doubts whatsoever that the didgeridoo has a really positive effect on a person’s state-of-mind and how they relax. It’s clearly a big help with pain management too.”
Anita Moran added “It’s definitely something we will try again as residents appear to have gained a lot from it.
“I know Chris does a lot of work with neurological patients who benefit from the sessions but I didn’t realise just how profound the calming and relaxing effect the didgeridoo has on people. It really is remarkable.”