The Safe and Sound Protocol

The Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) developed by Stephen Porges PhD is best described as an auditory vagus nerve stimulator. It is evidence-based, clinically proven and backed by decades of research.

By activating and toning the vagus nerve, SSP sends a strong signal of safety to the entire nervous system.

The vagus nerve is primarily responsible for the rest/digest function of the nervous system. Low vagal tone results in persistent anxiety, difficulty in relationships, sleep and gut disorders, auditory hypersensitivity, and poor heart rate variability (HRV), known in medicine to be a reliable predictor of disease states.

With improved vagal tone, your nervous system is more resilient. SSP accesses the vagus directly through the muscles and cranial nerves in your ears.

In an SSP session, the recipient listens to music that has been dynamically filtered to enhance certain frequencies.

How does this work? Think about the difference in how you feel listening to a mother’s lullaby versus a person shouting. One has an inherent calming effect, the other is likely to drive you into at least some sympathetic activation (fight or flight). We know intuitively that sound alone can affect our bodies.

SSP doesn’t stop working when the listening ends, either. Just as your muscles are busy rebuilding for hours and days after you lift weights, your nervous system continues working after being gently challenged by the SSP to make positive changes.

Multiple clinical studies found that five 1-hour-long SSP Core listening sessions resulted in lasting improvements in vagal tone, resulting in:

  • better digestion
  • improved sleep
  • greater capacity to relate to others
  • reduced auditory sensitivity (hyperacusis)
  • greater tolerance for experiences that previously triggered anxiety

Get Regulated with SSP

State regulation happens unconsciously, meaning we don’t always have a choice over our neurological state — and even less so when we’re affected by a history of trauma or certain disorders, such as autism.

With SSP, less is more – we want to stretch the system, not stress the system! After listening, a person may feel tired, and this is a good sign: it means the neural exercise is working! Best results are usually seen a few weeks after completion of the protocol.

SSP is not a quick fix or a standalone therapy, but when well-supported, clients can see results equivalent to six months or more of regular somatic therapy.

Delivery Options

I offer Safe and Sound Core as an affordable add-on to somatic integration sessions (both in-person and remote). The Core program is five 1-hour tracks which must be completed in order. Listening usually takes place across many short sessions.

I also offer SSP Core home rental for qualified clients who want to complete the program independently at home. Home rental includes one-on-one coaching to ensure best results. Contact me for more information about home rental.

You can enroll in a monthly subscription to SSP Balance. SSP Balance tracks are designed to produce a calming and settling effect without the intense neural exercise of SSP Core. Find out more and try it for FREE here.

If you need help deciding which option for SSP delivery would be best, please contact me.

Clinical Results

These are the tabulated results from two clinical studies that compared the SSP intervention to unfiltered music, and to headphones only (as a control). As you can see, the results were significant for the SSP intervention (filtered music).

SSP Balance Subscription

The Safe and Sound Balance program is much less intense than the core program. It is the same playlist as the Core, but with less filtering. It is calming without the full vagal re-set.

Balance can be played ambient on speakers or from your smartphone, no headphones required.

Try SSP Balance for one week FREE after which you will automatically be charged just $11.99 per month.

PayPal will redirect you to a page with instructions to set up your subscription. You may cancel your subscription at any time by contacting me or using the button below. Start your free trial today!