Sound healing is the therapeutic application of sound frequencies to the body/mind of a person with the intention of bringing them into a state of harmony and health.
Sound Healing can be transmitted to a person in a number of ways:
See also : Music Therapy
- 1 How Does Sound Healing Work?
- 2 Resonance
- 3 Entrainment
- 4 Voices and Singing
- 5 Harmonics
- 6 Chants and Mantra
- 7 Singing Harmonics
- 8 Intervals
- 9 Sound Therapy and Chakra Healing
- 10 Sound Therapy and Cancer Cells
- 11 Rhythm
- 12 Drumming
- 13 Binaural Beats
- 14 Sound of Nature
- 15 Náda Yoga
- 16 References
- 17 Examples
How Does Sound Healing Work?
Each organism has its own vibratory rate. Every object in the universe has its own unique resonant frequency. Tap a wineglass and it will emit a ringing sound determined by its size, shape and the thickness. When an opera singer vibrates a glass with her voice the singer has matched her voice to the resonant frequency of the glass and set it into vibration. As the singer increases the volume of her sound the resonance becomes too great for the forces that hold the glass together and it shatters. Luckily, our bodies are more flexible than a glass! The cells of our body enjoy the vibration of sound. If one 'C' tuning fork is struck and placed next to another 'C' tuning fork, the second tuning fork will begin to resonate together with the first tuning fork. The sound wave from the first tuning fork has imparted some of its energy to the second one. If the stem of the tuning fork is placed on a metal, glass or wooden object, this object will begin to vibrate. A simple experiment can be conducted by placing a tuning fork on the top of one's head. You will find that bone is an excellent conductor of sound. In air sound travels at 340 metres per second ( 760mph). In water sound travels at 1,500 metres per second ( 3,350mph). In glass sound travels at 5,600 metres per second (12,500mph). The human body is made up of 70% water; this makes it a very good conductor of sound. Modern medicine now uses sound waves to break up kidney and gallstones in the body. The machine used is called a Lithotripter. This machine bombards the stones with a specific sound frequency for one to two hours. The patient is admitted in the morning and discharged in the evening. Generally no anaesthetic is needed. With most patients only one treatment is necessary to break the stones down. The pulverised stone is passed out of the body through the urine. High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) is now used in some NHS hospitals and private clinics to treat prostate cancer. The therapy closely targets tumours, causing much less damage to healthy tissue than conventional surgery or radiotherapy. Every organ, every bone, every cell in the body has its own resonant frequency. Together they make up a composite frequency like the instruments of an orchestra. When one organ in the body is out of tune it will affect the whole body. Through the principle of resonance it is possible to use sound to bring the body back into harmony hence avoiding the need for drugs or surgery.
- Aum (or OM) is a mantra, or vibration, that is traditionally chanted at the beginning and end of yoga sessions. It is made up of three Sanskrit letters, aa, au and ma which, when combined together, make the sound Aum or Om. It is believed to be the basic sound of the world and to contain all other sounds. It is said to be the sound of the universe. What does that mean? Somehow the ancient yogis knew what scientists today are telling us–that the entire universe is moving. Nothing is ever solid or still. Everything that exists pulsates, creating a rhythmic vibration that the ancient yogis acknowledged with the sound of Aum. We may not always be aware of this sound in our daily lives, but we can hear it in the rustling of the autumn leaves, the waves on the shore, the inside of a seashell. Chanting Aum allows us to recognize our experience as a reflection of how the whole universe moves–the setting sun, the rising moon, the ebb and flow of the tides, the beating of our hearts. As we chant Aum, it takes us for a ride on this universal movement, through our breath, our awareness, and our physical energy, and we begin to sense a bigger connection that is both uplifting and soothing.
- The gong produces the greatest resonance of any instrument. There are many types of gong and many different ways to play the gong. The sound each gong makes has a different effect on the body and mind. During a 'Gong Bath' the recipient is literally bathed in the sounds of the gong. It is like a very deep and long lasting massage with sound. A gong bath is usually experienced lying down on the floor. The sound of the gong recharges the mind, body and spirit.The sounds of the gong create a meditative state in which the mind becomes quiet and receptive for healing. The body takes in the sounds that it needs for healing and filters out those sounds that it does not need. After a gongbath the recipient usually feels very calm and relaxed.Physical aches and pains often disappear after a gongbath. The sounds of the gong continue to do their work long after the gongbath has finished. Sound healing with the gong works on all levels - physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
- Tuning fork therapy is a gentle form of healing that works on the body and the energy field. The tuning forks that are used are specially designed to create a rich spectrum of harmonics. There are two types of tuning forks: plain and weighted. The plain forks produce vibrations that work on the energy field around the body. These tuning forks allow the healer to create all the musical intervals. Listening to musical intervals has a balancing and healing effect on the body, mind and emotions. The most commonly used musical interval is the fifth. The C and G tuning forks are used to create this interval. This interval balances the Yin and Yang energy in the body. It also balances the two sides of the brain. The C and G tuning forks are part of a set of eight tuning forks that create a wide range of musical intervals that can be used to move energy and balance the chakras. Crystal Tuners are good for space clearing. Angel Tuners are used to connect with the angelic energies. The weighted tuning forks produce physical vibrations that work on many levels. The primary focus is working on muscles, bones and soft tissue. These tuning forks help to release pain and tension held in the joints and muscles. The weighted tuning forks can also be used on acupressure, reflexology and EFT points to great effect. The Om Tuner is wonderful for inducing a sate of deep relaxation and meditation.
- Solfeggio : Did you know that simply listening to a single musical note that vibrates at 528 Hz has been shown to repair your DNA? All music that we’re familiar with consists of notes from the 12-Tone Equal Temperament Scale. Each individual note has vibrational limits. However, there is an ancient 6-tone scale of electro-magnetic frequencies called the original Solfeggio Scale. This scale, which was lost for centuries and was just recently rediscovered accidentally by Dr. Joseph Puleo, is said to hold unlimited potential in healing and personal transformation. One of the notes on the Solfeggio Scale, particularly the one that vibrates at 528 Hz has been used by biochemists to repair human DNA. The frequency of 528 Hz appears to influence the water molecules that surround the DNA helix, thereby bringing about healing effects on DNA. Perhaps the leading proponent of the miraculous healing power of the 528 Hz Solfeggio note is Dr. Leonard Horowitz, world famous author of 15 health science books, and Harvard graduated public health expert. According to Dr. Horowitz, all healing occurs from sonic waves or vibrations, specific frequencies of sound, resonating throughout the universe. He claims that human cells use DNA, like radios use antennae, to receive the note vibrations and attune the body’s rhythm to that of the cosmos. He refers to the 528 Hz Solfeggio note as “the frequency of love” which, in addition to providing health benefits, opens the portals to spiritual transformation. This is echoed by Dr. Candice Pert, PhD, who states that energy and vibration go all the way to the molecular level. She further states that we have 70 different receptors on the molecules — and when vibration and frequency reaches that far, they begin to vibrate. This vibration, which happens at the cellular level, opens the chromosomes and exposes the DNA to the frequencies. Experiments involving in vitro DNA exposed to different recordings of musical styles have been performed by Glen Rein of the Quantum Biology Research Lab in New York.Four styles of music for health, including Gregorian chants that use the Solfeggio scale, were converted to scalar audio waves and played via a CD player to test tubes containing in vitro DNA.The effects of the music were determined by measuring the DNA test tube samples’ absorption of UV light after an hour of exposure to the music. The absorption of UV light is regarded as a significant effect on DNA because when the DNA helix unwinds, it allows such absorption.The results of Glen Rein’s experiments showed that the Gregorian chants caused a significant increase in the absorption of UV light versus rock music, which had little or no effect.It was concluded that the audible sound waves of the Solfeggio scale can cause resonance in DNA and can, indeed, have profound healing effects. The Energy Tuners are tuned to the six Solfeggio frequencies:
- UT – 396 Hz – Liberating Guilt and Fear – RED
- RE – 417 Hz – Undoing Situations and Facilitating Change – ORANGE
- MI – 528 Hz – Transitions and Miracles (DNA Repair) – YELLOW
- FA – 639 Hz – Connecting/Relationships – GREEN
- SOL – 741 Hz – Expressions/Solutions – BLUE
- LA – 852 Hz – Awakening Intuition – PURPLE
- Crystal bowls are made of 99% quartz crystal. There are three main types of crystal bowl; opaque bowls, optically clear bowls and practitioner bowls that are held and used directly over a person during a sound healing session. The human body is crystalline in its make up. The bones contain crystals as do the blood and tissue salts. There is therefore a resonance between the crystals in the body and the crystal bowls. During a crystal bowl healing session a variety of bowls are used. The large bowls are deeper in resonance while the clear bowls produce higher frequency sounds. The sounds of the crystal bowls promote a gentle healing on many levels: mind, body and spirit.
- Digeridoo : The Aboriginal people of Australia are the first known culture to heal with sound. Their 'yidaki' (modern name, didgeridoo) has been used as a healing tool for at least 40,000 years. The Aborigines healed broken bones, muscle tears and illnesses of every kind using the didgeridoo. Recent scientific research has shown how low frequency sound can help to heal bone fractures and repair torn muscles and ligaments. The deep vibrations created by the didgeridoo have a healing effect on the body. The sounds increase the blood supply to areas of the body that need healing. The didgeridoo also slows brainwaves to 'alpha' and 'theta'; this creates a feeling of relaxation and trance like states. The deep relaxation created by the sound of the didgeridoo helps to relieve pain and heal painful emotions. Studies carried out with people with chronic back problems found that they could actually move their limbs after previously being totally paralysed following a series of healing session's with the didgeridoo. People find that the when they hear the sound of the didgeridoo they feel like they are back in the womb and describe their experience as being warm, safe and secure.
- healing Power of Cat purrs : Cats create purr vibrations within a range 20-140 Hz known to be medically therapeutic for many ilnesses
Entrainment is an aspect of sound that is closely related to rhythms and the way these rhythms affect us. It is a phenomenon of sound in which the powerful rhythmic vibrations of one object will cause the less powerful vibrations of another object to lock in step and oscillate at the first object’s rate. This phenomenon of nature has to do with the conservation of energy. It seems that nature finds it more economical in terms of energy to have periodic events that are close enough in frequency to occur in phase or in step with each other. In 1665 a Dutch scientist Christian Huygens, 'discovered' the principle of 'entrainment'. This principle states that whenever two or more oscillators in the same field are pulsing at nearly the same rate, they tend to lock in and begin pulsing at exactly the same rate. The powerful rhythmic vibrations from one source will cause less powerful vibrations of another source to lock into the vibration of the first source.
Voices and Singing
- Research in the USA has shown that certain sounds are under stress in our voices. These sounds correspond to imbalances in our bodies. Changing our voice pattern changes our brain wave frequencies and reduces illness. Removing the stress frequencies in the voice has helped to reduce high blood pressure; it has helped diabetes, emphysema, and eye problems, reduced pain and speeded up the bodys healing. Our voice is the ultimate healing instrument. All of us have the ability to create pure tone and vocal harmonics. There is a Sufi saying that "The voice is the only instrument made by God. All other instruments were made by man." Toning is an easily learnt skill that begins to free the voice again. Regular toning helps to re-energise the body and restore health to the mind, body and spirit. There is a saying in Germany that ' bad men don't sing'! When groups of people tone together, it produces a tremendous feeling of connectedness. Laurel Elizabeth Keys in her book 'Toning the Creative Power of the Voice' says: - "A whiny weak voice will suck in negativity, attracting lingering illness like cancer, asthma, allergies, tumors, rheumatism and arthritis. No healing will be possible until the person reverses their tonal pattern". Laurel discovered toning by accident. One day her body became filled with a sound so great that she had to express it: - "Each time I toned, my body felt exhilarated, alive as it had never felt before, a feeling of wholeness and extreme well-being".
- Singing is medicine for the soul. Every voice is unique, and song can provide a vehicle to express our individual sound, our feelings, our whole self. At the same time it can furnish us with a wonderful focus to still the mind and to allow the vibrations of our combined sounds and harmonies to nourish and enrich the spirit. Song Meditation combines the essential tools of singing and vocal production with gentle mindfulness. It is designed to encourage a joyful stillness and an appreciation of the warm companionship and healing experience of group singing.
- Pythagoras lived on the Greek island of Samos from 560-480 BC. He is credited with the invention of the monochord and the discovery of the harmonic ratios in sound. Pythagoras said "study the monochord and you will know the secrets of the universe". The monochord is a long wooden box with one long string attached to two raised pieces of wood to permit it to vibrate. When the string is plucked it produces a sound that is called the fundamental tone of the string. Using a wooden bridge we can divide the string in two. When either half of the now divided string is plucked it will produce the same note as the fundamental except it will be an octave (eight notes) higher, since it is vibrating twice as fast as the vibration of the fundamental. If the string were divided equally into three, the note produced would be different from the fundamental note. If the fundamental note was 'C' the note produced would be 'G', an octave above the fundamental note. If the string were divided equally into four the note produced would be a 'C', the same note as the fundamental note but two octaves higher. Pythagoras found that whenever the whole string was plucked, higher sounds would be created at the same time as the fundamental note. These higher sounds or 'harmonics' were mathematically related in frequency to the fundamental note through whole number ratios of 2:1, 3:1, 4:1. These harmonics were related to each other in ratios of 2:3, 4:3, 5:8. Pythagoras discovered that these ratios were found in the proportions used in art and architecture.Pythagoras saw the universe as a giant monochord, an instrument that stretched between heaven and earth. The higher sounds were those of pure spirit and the lower ones were those of the earth. Pythagoras found the harmonic intervals in all phenomena in nature, the elements, the planets and constellations. In the 1920's a German scientist called Hans Kayser developed a theory of harmonics based on Pythagoras's work. Kayser states that the whole number ratios of musical harmonics are found in the basic laws of chemistry, physics, crystallography, astronomy, architecture, spectroanalysis, botany and other natural sciences.
- Jonathan Goldman in his book 'Healing Sounds - The Power of Harmonics' says: - "When we have learned techniques for harmonic toning, the human voice is able to create nearly every frequency, at least within the bandwidth of audible frequency". Jonathan offers the simple formula: - "Frequency plus Intention equals Healing". If we can find the right sound frequency coupled with the right intention then healing will occur. Intention is another important principle underlying the way sound healing works. If we sing a pure sound to another person with a pure intention then healing will occur. Every action we perform has a conscious or unconscious intention behind it. We can see the principle of intention at work when a mother sings her baby to sleep. In a Sound Healing treatment, the sound carries our intention to the person receiving treatment.
Chants and Mantra
Singing very simple chants has another effect. After a period of chanting the mind becomes relaxed and clearer. This effect is used in most spiritual traditions. In India this practice is called 'kirtan'. Chants and mantras are usually sung in Sanskrit. Sanskrit is said to be the language of the Gods and is the oldest language known to man. Sanskrit mantras have a particularly powerful healing effect on the body and mind. When used repetitively they help us to enter a meditative state. Sanskrit mantras stimulate the body's subtle energy field, raising the kundalini energy that lies at the base of the spine. Over time music became more complex in Western society. The singer and musician have to stay more concentrated in their left brain function. Consequently we have lost much of the healing power of sound in our modern music. When the mind repeats the same phrase over and over again, we relax and find ecstatic states of joy and inner peace. This is particularly the case when we sing or chant with great devotion.
Singing any note produces harmonics. Within one note are many notes all related to the fundamental note through exact mathematical ratios. Most of the time we are unaware of the existence of harmonics. When we are in a room with good acoustics like a church or a bathroom, we are suddenly aware of a richer sound. The richer sound is produced by the harmonics that are accentuated by certain acoustic spaces. The ancient people used this knowledge when they constructed sacred sites like Stonehenge, Newgrange or the Kings Chamber in the Great Pyramid. All these buildings were sound chambers where sound healing took place.
- When we hear music rich in harmonics, like Gregorian Chant, Indian classical music or a cappella singing it induces an altered state of consciousness. It changes our brain patterns so that we feel more relaxed, more connected with the music.
- Ancient cultures understood the power of harmonics. Stringed instruments are particularly rich in harmonics. In the bible, David is said to have played the harp to heal King Sauls depression. Orpheus played the lyre, another stringed instrument in Ancient Greek mythology. In India, Saraswati, the Goddess of wisdom and music, is seen playing the Veena, a stringed instrument.
- Khöömii is an amazing style of overtone/harmonic singing where one person sings two or more distinct pitches at the same time. It originates among the nomads of the central Asian plateau, particularly the Altai and Sayan mountain regions of Mongolia and Tuva. The nomads of these parts have discovered how to sing melodies that arise from the universal overtone or harmonic series. Listen to your own overtones as you discover the unknown depths and heights of your own voice through these enchanting sounds.
- The harmonium is an Indian instrument that is used as an accompaniment to chanting Sanskrit mantras. It is a keyboard instrument like a miniature organ which works with the use of bellows. These keep the air circulating through the banks of reeds inside. The harmonium can be played to create a tune or a continuous drone sound. The drone is particularly suited to accompany chanting or raga singing. In traditional Indian chanting the harmonium is accompanied by the tablas (Indian drums), which create a rhythm. The combined sound of voices chanting accompanied by harmonium and tabla creates a tremendous feeling of spiritual upliftment.
- Raag is the ancient system of classical Indian Music, which can trace its roots back five thousand years. It combines the healing vowel sounds of ancient Sanskrit with particular groups of notes, sung in particular ways, which reflect the changes in the universe around us. This includes changes throughout the day and the changing seasons. By singing Raag we attune ourselves to the natural laws of sound, which are dynamic and life promoting. Raag means 'colour' and it is as if we are painting a picture of the natural world when we sing Raag. It is beautiful, sacred and one of the most truthful forms of music that I have come across. "The nearest thing to God" however we define that! The study of Raag brings a profound sense of connection and an appreciation of the mystery of life.
Music is filled with musical intervals. If we sing or play two different notes, one after the other or at the same time, we create a musical interval. Each musical interval will have a different effect on our body, our emotions, and our mind. This explains why we choose different types of music at different times. Generally, simple intervals like the third (eg C/E) and the fifth (eg C/G) are uplifting and sound pleasing to the ear. Minor intervals can induce tension or feelings of sadness. Some intervals are discordant and can help us to get in touch with darker emotions. In an experiment, two people sang the notes of the octave into an oscilloscope (an instrument which measures sound waves). On the screen of the oscilloscope appeared the symbol of infinity, the figure eight. Is it a coincidence that the Latin word for eight is octave? When we study musical intervals further, we discover that each interval produces a mathematical ratio. For example, the octave produced the 2:1 ratio, the fifth produces the 3:2 ratio. When we study nature, we find these simple mathematical ratios cropping up everywhere. They are found in the structure of the atom, in crystals, leaves, petals, shells, in the proportions of the human body, and in the orbits of the planets around the sun. Architects used these ratios when building the great cathedrals and ancient sacred buildings. Goethe described architecture as frozen music.
Sound Therapy and Chakra Healing
Sound Therapy and Cancer Cells
Fabien Maman's research has shown how sound can destroy cancer cells. Cancer cells were found to become unstable and disintegrate when they were played all the notes of the musical scale. "In contrast healthy cells absorbed and integrated the sound without resistance." (Fabien Maman - The Role of Music in the 21st Century - Book 1)
Listening to Pacabel's Cannon which has a rhythm of 64 beats per minute, (the rate of a resting heart beat), will change our brain wave pattern from Beta to Alpha. Slower tempo music slows our breathing rate. The human heartbeat will tend to match the rhythm of music. Researchers at Louisiana State University found that listening to hard driving rock music increased the heart rates of young adults working out. Easy listening music allowed them to do longer training sessions and experience lower heart rates. Music influences the limbic system of the brain through pitch and rhythm affecting our emotions, feelings and sensations. Listening to certain music calms the nervous system and improves metabolism.
Repetitive drumming slows down our brain rhythm helping us to experience trance like states. These techniques, prominent in shamanic practices, allow the healer or client to leave normal conscious awareness in order to journey to other realms of consciousness. Here, healing can take place. Barbara J.Crowe says that from a physiological perspective, drumming creates this affect in the listener because of the action of the reticular activating system (RAS) located in the brainstem. This structure alerts the brain to incoming sensory stimulation. Loud, repetitive sound such as drumming floods the brain with input and overrides the other sensory channels. Normal brain activity is suppressed, and the consciousness is freed to explore other forms of perception. EVERYTHING IN NATURE IS VIBRATING. Our body has a whole number of rhythms: -
- Heartbeat - normally between 60 and 75 beats per minute (Resting 60 / Average activity 72)
- Breath - normally 14 to 16 breaths per minute
- Cranio-sacral pulse - 8 to12 times per minute
- Gastrointestinal tract - contracts once a minute
- Stomach - contracts every three minutes
- Brain waves - waking state 18 to 22 cycles per second (see earlier in the book)
- Body temperature - changes from day to night
All these rhythms will be affected by the drumbeat. When we are in a state of stress our heart beat can increase to 87 beats per minute. When we are deeply relaxed this rate will fall to around 57 beats per minute. The regular rhythm of the drumbeat will entrain our heartbeat to its rhythm. In a healing session we may take a person's pulse to determine their heart rate then begin playing at that rate. Over a period of ten minutes we can gradually reduce the drum beat rate to help the person to relax. We can watch their breathing rhythm to gauge how quickly their heart rate and breathing rate has entrained to our beat.
The binaural beat effect is the result of two slightly different audio waves being heard separately by the left and right ear (such as in a pair of headphones) in a manner that encourages the neurophysiology to generate a specific unified brain wave pattern. There are many uses for binaural beats, one of them being healing. It has been shown that the body is highly capable of healing itself. More and more research shows that there is a link between stress and an unhealthy body. One of the many applications of binaural beats is to deeply relax the body and mind, through this process the mind and body have a chance to heal itself. Binaural beats have also been shown affective with many psychosomatic illness like depression. Hemisphere synchronization (from binaural beats) has been evidenced to positively impact a whole variety of emotional, spiritual and mental states. Each brain wave has a specific area of impact:
Frequency range Name: Usually associated with
> 40 Hz Gamma waves: Higher mental activity, including perception, problem solving, breakthroughs and consciousness
13–40 Hz Beta waves: Active, busy or focused thinking and concentration, arousal, cognition, memory
7–13 Hz Alpha waves: Deep relaxation (while awake), pre-sleep and pre-awake drowsiness
4–7 Hz Theta waves: Dreams, deep meditation, REM sleep, astral projection
< 4 Hz Delta waves: Deep dreamless sleep, loss of body awareness
By choosing specific binaural beat patterns you can modify your experience and feelings as you see fit, and even replicate natural cycles in the human brain (like sleep or concentration). Binaural beats are perfect for augmenting any day to-day experience with either enhances alertness and concentration on one end, or increased relaxation and sleep on the other.
Sound of Nature
The sound of fire, water, earth and air provides an ideal setting for releasing trauma, sickness and pain. Also the voice can be used to heal in a natural setting. Reconnecting deeply with nature can create a 'sense of belonging' and 'coming home' and sound can readily enhance and enrich this process.
means "union through sound." It is the ancient spiritual art and science of inner transformation through sound and tone. Meditation on sound is one universal path to Self Realization, accessible to anyone, and appropriate for people of any religion or spiritual aspiration.
- Website of Simon Heather : http://www.simonheather.co.uk/
- Website of Jonathan Goldman : http://www.healingsounds.com/