Healing with Sound
By Jinny Throup
Some of the oldest surviving traditions of antiquity tell us that sound has been used as a tool for healing in many cultures throughout thousands of years. From the shamanic songs of the Amazonian Icaro, to the mantras of the original Hindis, to the vowel sound chants of the ancient Egyptians, sound as therapy has a long and rich history. Sound healing is rapidly gaining popularity in today’s world, and even modern science is getting on board with numerous studies about the power of sound waves. Geneticists have decoded the musical expression of DNA, and NASA has captured the sounds of all the planets... even the sound of black holes. The European Space Agency’s Rosetta probe was able to record the sound of a comet. From macrocosm to microcosm, we literally live in a sea of sound, so it is no wonder that our bodies respond to it in a therapeutic way. But how exactly does sound healing work and what does it involve?
The first thing to bear in mind is that sound travels about four times faster through water than it does through air. The human body, being made up of about 70% water, is therefore an excellent conductor of sound which gives it a powerful effect. The sounds and vibrations that we are exposed to have a direct impact on our muscles, bones, nervous system, digestive system, respiratory system, circulatory system, and even our mental processes. Every organ, bone and cell in the body has its own resonant frequency. Together, they make up your composite frequency - a bit like the instruments of an orchestra. When one part of the body is out of tune, it will affect the whole body - just like one instrument out of tune can ruin an entire symphony. Sound healing works to harmonise the frequencies of your body/mind ‘orchestra’ in order to bring it back into a state of harmony and health.
In short, it helps re-align the body with its own innate blueprint of dynamic balance.
A primary way that sound heals is through the connection between physical and emotional resonance. Many physical diseases are caused by emotional imbalances, so when the emotional body is healed, the physical symptoms often disappear. Another aspect of healing with sound is that it actually slows down your brainwaves. Our brains are constantly emitting a variety of different vibrations depending on your state of consciousness and attention. Most of the time we are in a state of Beta waves which reflect conscious thought and logical thinking. Having the right amount of Beta waves allows us to focus on tasks, but having too much leads to stress and anxiety. This is a major challenge in modern society, so music can help the brain to reach a more peaceful and calmer state whereby it emits Alpha waves. At this frequency the brain and the body become more receptive to healing. A sound healing experience is both passive and participatory.
It is passive as you lay down while hearing the sound... feeling more relaxed... your breath slow and natural. It is participatory as you become more open and aware of each sound that you are receiving. These sounds are transmitted in a number of ways with the therapist using their voice, gongs, crystal bowls, tuning forks and other percussion instruments to bathe the receiver in a sea of healing vibrations. One of the most powerful benefits of sound healing is reducing stress. Stress is the underlying cause of so many physical conditions, and sound healing has been shown to be hugely effective in stress management. Other issues it can help with include anxiety, sleep disorders, depression, PTSD and pain management.
Completely safe and unobtrusive when practised by a qualified therapist, sound therapy can be enjoyed by anyone at any age. It is also beneficial for deaf or hearing impaired people as, even if they cannot hear the sound, they can still feel the vibrations. Research has also shown that sound therapy can help with improving aggressive and anti-social behaviour in children. Our body, mind and spirit naturally urge us to move toward balance and harmony, but with so many distractions and dissonant noise in our lives this is often difficult to achieve. Sound therapy is a way of helping us to reach the sense of inner peace that we all truly desire. •