“Whether or not we hear it, everything has a sound, a vibration all its own,” writes Joshua Leeds in The Power of Sound (Healing Arts Press, 2001).
Recent research suggests that the influences of certain rhythms, sounds and vibrations can help us resist and recover from a wide variety of ailments.
Sound is an amazingly powerful tool. It is not something that occurs when we hear music or listen to something. It is an energy that has the ability of affecting our brain, our nervous system, our heart rate and much more, including actually shifting and changing our cellular structure and DNA.
And this is only on a physiological level. When you consider the use of sound on the emotional body and particularly, the mental and spiritual bodies – the possibilities are endless.
Sound can set a mood
The soundtrack in aerobics class gets us moving, for example, while the one in yoga promotes quiet concentration. Sound also has a powerful effect on how we feel throughout the day. Whether our conscious minds are paying attention or not, our bodies take their cues from these sounds and rhythms, knowing when to get energized and when to slow down.
Now, a growing body of research suggests that when used in a directed way, sound can also help us reduce stress, create a deep sense of well-being and even promote healing. Good for both the mind and the body, it has been shown to help lift depression, clear sinuses and help cancer patients recover more quickly from chemotherapy.
We are all sound healers
Our modern scientists are now in agreement with our ancient mystics that everything is in a state of vibration. The idea of sound healing is quite simple – it is that when our body begins to vibrate out of its correct frequency, we become ill. By using sound particularly our own self-created sound such as humming or toning an elongated vowel sound, we can restore our body back to its correct vibrations.
In addition, our chakras, the etheric centre’s of our body are understood as being composed of vibration and as such, they are extremely and easily affected by vibration, especially by our own sounds. Thus, one of the first exercises we teach at the “Frequencies of Healing” workshop is called “Vowels As Mantras” in which participants learn to resonate, balance and heal their chakras with their own self-created sounds. This is something that everyone can learn to do. And it is life changing.
That sound is called resonance, the frequency at which an object naturally vibrates. Each part of our bodies has its own natural resonance, and vibrational medicine is based on the idea that disease is a result of those natural resonances getting out of tune – whether due to stress, illness or environmental factors.
But does it work? Yes, say sound therapists, who have successfully treated everything from stress to Parkinson’s disease to hormonal problems. Jonathan Goldman, director of the Sound Healers Association in Boulder, Colo., has seen tuning forks alleviate many maladies, including headaches and misaligned vertebrae. Diáne Mandle, a certified sound healer in Encinitas, Calif., uses Tibetan singing bowls to bring her clients’ bodies back in tune.
“Using forks and bowls for anything other than dinner may seem to some people like New Age nonsense,” writes Stephanie Rosenbloom in a November 2005 article in The New York Times. “But healers, sometimes called sounders, argue that sound can have physiological effects because its vibrations are not merely heart but also felt. And vibrations, they say, can lower heart-rate variability, relax brain-wave patterns and reduce respiratory rates.”
“I believe that sound can play a role in virtually any medical disorder, since it redresses imbalances on every level of physiologic functioning,” he writes in his book The Healing Power of Sound: Recovery from Life-Threatening Illness Using Sound, Voice and Music (Shambhala, 1999).
Since 1994 James D’Angelo, author of The Healing Power of the Human Voice and Seed Sounds for Tuning the Chakras, has been leading his Soundspirit workshops and courses in the UK and the USA, empowering people to use their voices therapeutically for self-transformation.
Sound therapy, many experts say, is at the cutting edge of healing. And soon, they insist, like yoga and meditation, it will enter the mainstream.
The truth is, you’re probably already using sound therapy in your life. Several years ago, three out of four people who responded to a Prevention magazine health survey said that they listen to music to ease tension and stress. Of those, 82 percent reported that it brought them significant relief.