It may be considered new age wellness but sound healing is hardly a new form of therapy. The ancient Greeks used music to cure mental disorders and throughout history, sound has been used to help people work faster, influence, and boost morale. Many also believe that sound can heal the body. That’s because humans have a natural instinct for sound therapy. Just think about how a favorite song can lift your mood.
Of course, these days, sound healing can take on many different forms. Because of how intuitive they are, music and voice are still very popular. However, many practitioners prefer to use instruments like tuning forks and gongs. That’s because these can work faster to achieve a healing effect. Here is a basic guide to sound healing.
Sound healing synchronizes brain waves to achieve profound states of relaxation, helping to restore the normal vibratory frequencies of the cells in our bodies
WHAT IS SOUND HEALING?
Simply, this involves using sound vibrations to relax your mind and body. “To heal is to make sound,” says Gong Master Martha Collard of Red Doors Studio. “Sound can shift frequencies from low energy of guilt and fear to higher vibrations of love and joy. Sound healing is the use of sacred instruments or voice to release energetic blockages inducing a state of ease and harmony in the body.” While there are many types of sound therapy, all of them produce vibrations that alter your brain waves.
Malbert Lee, a Hong Kong-based Crystal Bowl and Gong Master, says vibrations are especially useful for healing the body. “The adult body is 75% water, and water is a great conductor for sound vibration,” he notes. “When vibrations travel through the body, they promote circulation, energy flow, and rejuvenation. The frequency of the sound synchronizes with the brainwaves and activates destress responses in the body.”
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WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF SOUND HEALING?
Sound healing can help you clear energetic blockages and thus facilitate healing on a physical and mental level. Some of the benefits of sound therapy include:
- lower stress levels
- fewer mood swings
- lower blood pressure
- lower cholesterol
- improved sleep
Over the years, sound healing has also been used to treat a number of conditions including anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, autism, and dementia.
Tuning forks are typically used to tune other instruments. However, they have healing powers of their own. Calibrated tuning forks can be held to specific parts of the body to send vibrations that release tension and open blocked energy channels. This form of sound healing is good for emotional balance and pain relief.
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Gongs have been used as a form of sound healing since around 4,000 B.C. Now, they’re used in gong baths. This is a style of meditation where the practitioner creates different tones and patterns with the gongs to produce vibrations that work on the mind-body connection. Plus, it works fast.
“The gong has stronger vibrations and much richer sounds because of its size and structure,” says Lee. “The sound can put you in a deeply relaxed and meditative Theta state in as quickly as 60 to 90 seconds.”
Gong baths are great for clearing fears or emotional blocks and improving mental clarity, leaving you transformed on a physical as well as mental level.
“The sound wave passing through the body stimulates red blood cells, and opens up the blood supply to all organs and throughout the body,” adds Collard. “Gongs also stimulate the limbic system, forcing your muscles to relax. The sound of a gong is heard through the ears, passing through the auditory nerve, then the vagus nerve, stimulating every organ in the body. All your organs operate more effectively especially your liver and kidneys. You wake feeling refreshed and invigorated.”
Singing bowls have been used in Tibetan culture since the 12th century. These metal bowls come in different sizes and each one produces a deep sound that relaxes and heals the mind. Because each bowl produces a unique vibration that works on separate parts of the brain, different sized bowls are often used together. Of course, they can also work on different parts of the body. Bowls elicit a light dream state, and can be placed on the body to promote healing.
“Vibrations move through water in the body,” says Dr. Buathon Thienarrom, a Thai wellness practitioner who offers sound healing with Tibetan singing bowls. “When this happens, it helps stimulate circulation to allow muscle relaxation and improve lymphatic flow.” This particular type of sound healing has been found to reduce stress, anger, depression, and fatigue.
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This is a form of music that uses specific sound patterns to stimulate the brain. These special tracks help your brain waves achieve a frequency that has many benefits. Solfeggio Frequencies are typically used for transformational purposes and can help improve relationships, deal with fear and change, awaken one’s intuition, and so on. These Solfeggio Frequencies include a set of sacred numbers with a repeating sequence of 3, 6 and 9, and each Solfeggio Frequency has a specific purpose. These tones contain the frequency required to balance your energy and heal you. For example, the 528 hertz (Hz) frequency can be used to repair DNA and is a frequency of Universal miracles. Solfeggio Frequencies are used in the meditative Soundscapes at Hong Kong’s Fivelements Habitat.
The 7 commonly used Solfeggio Frequencies and their characteristics are:
396 Hz – Liberating Guilt and Fear
417 Hz – Undoing Situations and Facilitating Change
528 Hz – Transformation and Miracles
639 Hz – Connecting Relationships
741 Hz – Awakening Intuition
852 Hz – Returning to Spiritual Order
963 Hz – Divine Consciousness or Enlightenment
Experienced via earphones, binaural beats can be used for a variety of purposes such as meditation, lowering stress levels and anxiety, increasing focus, relieving pain and aches, improving sleep, and overcoming depression. How does it work? If you listen to a tone of 200 Hz in your left ear and a tone of 205 Hz in your right ear, your brain will automatically perceive an illusory tone and produce a new frequency of 5 Hz (205 – 200 = 5 Hz). This third tone is called a binaural beat. It is a frequency follow response where the brain automatically aligns the brainwaves to this frequency. The binaural beat is an auditory tone perceived by the brain when the frequency difference is less than 40Hz and both tones are within the frequency of 1500 Hz.
WHAT IS VOCAL TONING?
This type of sound healing involves using one steady tone to balance your cells and open your energetic pathways. Vocal toning is very intuitive – it’s something we do naturally, like releasing an audible sigh of relief. That’s why many cultures throughout history – from the ancient Egyptians and Greeks to indigenous tribes – have a form of vocal toning.
Of course, there’s a good reason for this. Collard, who also uses sound healing on cancer patients, says, “The voice is the only tool more powerful than the gong, especially your own voice, because you are self-generating the healing vibrations to shift energetic blocks. That’s why many mantras are so powerful – they are specific tones and words that harness the energetic capacities the ancients knew.”
Vocal toning uses seven tones based on vowels. Each one is connected to a particular chakra, or area of the body. Using a specific tone allows you to access a particular point of the body and begin to heal it. For example, an “ah” tone reaches the heart chakra while an “ee” sound goes to the crown chakra.
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WELLBEING BY SOUND
While there are many types of sound healing, each one offers a host of benefits that can improve your wellbeing, energy levels, and performance at work. Think about what you want to get out of your sound healing experiences. This will help you pick some to try and, once you’ve experimented with a few, you’ll be able to decide exactly what form of sound therapy works best for you.
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