It's no surprise that the world of sound healing is growing.
It's not uncommon to find an article or Instagram post about the application of sound either to mend the physical body or transform the psyche.
Sound is routinely used in different areas of medicine and holistic healing and counselling.
Are you experiencing fatigue, feeling anxious, or having trouble sleeping? Your health practitioner may recommend music to help induce deep relaxation or use some sort of sound to balance the hemispheres of your brain and lower your brainwave activity.
Are you going to a physical therapist for a physical difficulty? You might find that your treatment includes a device that projects frequencies into your body to heal muscles or tendons.
Medical visionaries tell us that our bodies are orchestras and can be tuned and made healthy with music, mantras, and many other sonic modalities.
Sound is a powerful and effective tool that our bodies and minds react to.
Andrew Weil, M.D from Self-Healing with Sound & Music, informs us that sound therapy has been found effective in treating a surprising range of health challenges, including heart disease, arthritis, stress, emphysema and more.
Sound has been used for centuries dating back to ancient Greece when it was thought to cure mental disorders. Australian aboriginal tribes used the didgeridoo as a sound healing treatment for over 40,000 years. Similarly, Tibetan or Himalayan singing bowls have long been used by Tibetan monks for spiritual ceremonies.
There are many forms of sound healing therapy. In my personal practice, I integrate guided meditation and the use of sound bowls.
Meditation, including guided mindfulness meditation, is a form of sound therapy that has been shown to promote a relaxation response in members of a clinical study while helping to alleviate anxiety and improve wellbeing. The body’s physiological response in relaxation included lowering blood pressure to counter the fight or flight response and jump-start the parasympathetic nervous system.
You can practice this form of sound healing through guided voice instruction via an app or class. This could involve chanting or repeating mantras. Chanting “Om” repeatedly can help stabilize the heart rate, improve circulation, and produce endorphins.
The human voice and objects such as tuning forks and singing bowls are used to stimulate healing through vibrational energy waves.
“Whether or not we hear it, everything has a sound, a vibration all its own,” writes Joshua Leeds in The Power of Sound.
The natural vibration is called resonance. Every part of our bodies has its own resonance, and the idea behind sound healing is that disease is a direct result of our natural resonances being out of tune. This could be due to stress, anxiety, illness, or external environmental factors.
How does sound therapy work?
Using tuning forks and bowls to create a sound that vibrates and creates a physiological effect on the body, vibrations relax the brain wave patterns and reduce our respiratory rates (slows our breathing), while reducing our blood pressure.
Our stress hormones lower which help everyone but especially those with an illness as it redresses imbalances in the body, affecting the whole person, not just the part that’s broken, as Mitchell Gaynor writes in his book The Healing Power of Sound: Recovery from Life-Threatening Illness Using Sound, Voice, and Music.
Singing bowls that can be metal or crystal, activate when a felt-tipped mallet is placed around the edge of the bowl and by gently striking the bowl. This creates rhythms and vibrations that slow the breath, brain waves, and heart rates while promoting a deep sense of calm and wellbeing.
Some people report that during a sound therapy session they experience an altered state of consciousness, reducing muscle tension, anxiety, and stress. This can enable our systems to balance our chemical imbalances and promote a “mental refreshment” writes Lyz Cooper, founder of the British Academy of Sound Therapy.
My first experience of a sound therapy session - by Meg Williams-Lucy
I chose my place in the studio, laid my mat out, and arranged cushions around me for the ultimate comfort experience. I was going to experience my first sound therapy class and I had no idea what to expect. I lay down, closed my eyes and the session began. I let the waves of sound wash over me as the therapist created different and powerful vibrations, sometimes coming very close to each person, allowing the vibrational energy to target them more powerfully. The experience is unique to everyone but in general, the sessions follow similar patterns, the therapist uses singing bowls, often a gong or chimes, and sometimes a voice to create rhythmic sounds.
The whole experience was magical, I was not expecting how powerful the vibrations would be, at one point I felt that every cell in my body was activated and I could feel my stress levels dropping and my mind quieted. After the class, I had a profound feeling of calmness and relaxation. I felt like I had woken up from a very soothing dream.
For someone who has an overactive mind, is constantly on the go, and feels overwhelmed and stressed on a daily basis, I cannot recommend sound therapy more. Even if you can’t make it to a class in person, I'd recommend joining an online session!
Whether you would like to try sound therapy to help reduce stress, anxiety, pain, or you are just curious as to what it’s all about, you can contact me for a session or sign up for one of my sessions.
Make sure you're signed up to my newsletter to stay connected for upcoming offerings!