sound’s remarkable power to heal and transform
Sound and vibration
The world is alive with sound and sound has powerful effects on body, mind and spirit. Sound healing helps calm the mind, while facilitating a deep state of relaxation and inner peace. It also assists in reducing tension and stress and restoring harmony, energy and balance.
Everything in the universe is vibrating at it’s own natural frequency. We are vibrational beings and when we’re healthy, all of our cells, tissues and organs are vibrating in harmony or resonance. Illness results when a part of the body begins to vibrate at a different frequency, out of tune with the rest. Through the intentional use of sound and vibration, a more harmonious and optimal state of resonance can be achieved.
Himalayan singing bowls were made in the Himalayan regions of Bhutan, Nepal and India. Singing bowls produce multiple harmonic overtones that are recognized for their ability to induce a deep sense of peace, tranquility and well-being. While their exact age is unknown, many date back several hundred years. Craftsmen combined a range of metals to produce individual bowls that had their own unique sound and as the bowls age, the tones become richer and warmer.
We not only hear sound, we feel it and when Himalayan singing bowls are sounded, powerful rhythmic vibrations resonate deep within. Sound waves travel from the outer ear throughout the body via the 10th cranial nerve or vagus nerve. Our wandering vagus nerve connects the brain to all major organs and affects heart rate, breathing, digestion and more.
As we entrain with the sound and vibrations, we shift into an alpha-theta brain wave pattern associated with deep meditative and peaceful states that are highly conducive to healing. Our heartbeat slows and breathing deepens and relaxes, creating a therapeutic effect upon mind and body. When brain waves and body are synchronized, balance can be restored and stress released.
Stress and health
Many people lead busy and stressful lives. When we’re stressed, our bodies release hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline which make our hearts race and our breathing rate faster and shallower. These hormones can leave us feeling anxious and unsettled. Long-term stress causes a range of ailments including high blood pressure, insomnia, heart disease and digestive problems. Not only does stress damage the quality of our lives, it reduces the body’s ability to heal and ward off disease.
The soothing effect of being bathed in a symphony of sound creates a profound relaxation and is effective in reducing the stress that is so harmful to healthy living.
Studies have also shown sound to be an invaluable part of the healing journey for cancer patients as it helps ease anxiety and assists with pain relief management.
Healing power of the gong
Known as an instrument of transformational power, the gong dates back 5500 years to the bronze age (3500 BC) and has been used for thousands of years in meditation, ceremony and rituals. Today they can be found in yoga and meditation classes, sound therapy, gong bath meditations, and in cancer treatment centers to promote greater harmony and health. They are also a wonderful addition at weddings and celebrations.
The gong experience is a total immersion in an ocean of sound. Recipients are bathed in layer upon layer of deep, rich, swelling sound waves. As the feeling tones build upon each other, they go right through the body and it becomes like one big ear. The vibrations have a healing effect at a cellular level – cleansing blocked energy and nourishing and renewing the body.
“Human beings in the fullness of health are like the gong … fully resonant. The more resonant we are, the more alive we are, and the result is a happy and abundant life.” Gongmaster Don Conreaux
Sound as medicine
Mitchell Gaynor, M.D. founder of Gaynor Integrative Oncology and author of “The Healing Power of Sound: Recovery from Life-Threatening Illness using Sound, Voice, and Music” has been using sound healing practices since the early 1990s.
Dr. Gaynor states: “If we accept that sound is vibration and we know that vibration touches every part of our physical being, then we understand that sound is ‘heard’ not only through our ears but through every cell in our bodies.”
“Sound enters the healing equation from several directions: it may alter cellular functions through energetic effects; it may entrain biological systems to function more homeostatically; it may calm the mind and therefore the body; or it may have emotional effects, which influence neurotransmitters and neuropeptides, which in turn help to regulate the immune system – the healer within.”
Transformative power of the voice
The human voice is one of the most powerful vehicles for healing and transformation. Singing, toning and chanting mantras profoundly affect our physiology due to their beneficial and calming influence.
Mantras are energy based sounds that vibrate throughout the body. Chanting these sacred sounds of power helps soothe the nervous system, deepen the breath and can also bring us to a higher level of consciousness.
Since sound travels five times more efficiently through water than through air, the human body – which is over 70% water – is an excellent conductor for sound and vibration. The vibrational energy of chanting affects the body at a cellular level and when mantras are combined with intention, the positive effect is increased.
Drumming for health
Rhythmic drumming is acknowledged as a valuable tool in maintaining health and inner balance. The therapeutic effects of drumming are many – it promotes relaxation, reduces stress, strengthens the immune system and improves mood.
Community and corporate drum circles are drawing people together from all walks of life, creating a sense of camaraderie and giving rise to musical self expression, team building and fun.
Molecular structure and sound
Sound healing pioneer Jonathan Goldman asserts: “We are talking about an energy that not only enters our ears and our brains and is able to affect our nervous system, but which also goes into our cellular structure and has the ability to rearrange our molecules.”
Jonathan is the Director of the Sound Healers Association and author of “Healing Sounds” and “The 7 Secrets of Sound Healing.”