WHAT IS SOUND HEALING?
What is Sound Healing Therapy?
Music or sound healing therapy is pretty much what it says on the tin: the practice of using different sounds to improve your physical health and emotional wellbeing.
Music therapy is often practiced with a healing practitioner and can take multiple forms, from guided meditations to dance to sound baths. Using the various aspects of sound to focus on your physical or mental health.
A sound healing therapy session is usually carried out with the participant sitting or lying down. Music might be played through speakers, or instruments could be used in the room.
You may also experience vibrations applied to the body using a tool such as a tuning fork.
In some music therapy sessions, you might be encouraged to actively participate.
This can involve singing, moving, or using an instrument yourself. In other sessions, you may be asked to remain quiet and relaxed to allow the sounds to take effect.
Benefits of Sound Healing
Sound and music healing therapy has been growing in popularity in recent years, and it's definitely a wellbeing trend to keep an eye out for!
It's been found that sound and music can be effective healers for a range of mental, emotional, and even physical ailments, and has been a valuable treatment for several conditions such as:
Autism spectrum disorders
People with learning difficulties
Those with behavioural and psychiatric disorders
Aches and pains
Some of the most highly reported benefits of music therapy and sound healing include:
Fewer mood swings
Lower blood pressure
Lower cholesterol levels
Better pain management
Reduced risk of strokes and coronary artery disease
The History of Sound Healing
Using sound healing to promote healing and wellbeing has been around for as long as humanity has records. Still, some of the earliest detailing of 'sound healing therapy' in a formal sense is probably the indigenous Australians (40,000 years ago), who used ancient didgeridoos in healing rituals.
The ancient Egyptians also utilized sound healing, with pyramids designed to create sound chambers.
But sound and music therapy is far more wide-ranging than this. From Tibetan singing bowls, shamanic drums, vocal chanting, and so much more, there's a form of sound healing to be found in every culture worldwide and throughout history.
The Science Behind Sound Healing Therapy
But while modern medicine might be more effective than these chanting circles or music therapy for many diseases and ailments, science has shown that these healing practices aren't the voodoo some may have us believe.
In fact, there's plenty of evidence supporting the healing powers sound vibrations offer. And these go well beyond an upbeat track giving you good vibes.
Mark Menolascino, MD explains that "everything in the universe has a vibrational frequency… Those vibrations interact with every cell in your body." In order words, the vibrations made by instruments or vocals can actually interact with your body's cells to create specific results: in this case, to encourage healing.
These vibrations can also affect your brainwave frequencies.
There are scientific studies to back up these claims, too:
Research into tuning forks showed they could be effective at relieving muscle and bone pain.
A 2006 study found singing bowl meditation can lower blood pressure, improve circulation and breaking, relieve aches and pains, and even strengthen the immune system.
A study into vibro-acoustic therapy (sounds and vibrations applied directly to the body) discovered the practice could be effective for treating chronic pain and speeding recovery from injury.
Relaxation for Healing
Even without the science of sound vibrations, there's also evidence that sound baths and music therapy can be effective for healing, as it encourages relaxation and brings your body into a parasympathetic state.
In this state, our bodies produce nitric oxide, which opens blood vessels, increases the efficiency of our cells, and regulates blood pressure… All things that will aid your healing response.
In other words, anything that helps you enter a more relaxed state will help reduce inflammation and boost your healing response, which will immediately benefit your physical and mental health.