REGION – Sound therapy is a form of energy work that is used to tap into the body’s vibrational pitch. This can be done using various methods, such as tuning forks, Tibetan bowls, bells, gongs, didgeridoos, rattles, drums, flutes, and various other instruments and techniques, even the human voice.
While many people are only just discovering it, sound healing is actually a return to ancient cultural practices that used chants and singing bowls to restore health and relieve pain. Most ancient cultures used the power of sound in ceremony and healing. For example, Aboriginal cultures used the didgeridoo as far back as 40,000 years ago.
There are different types of sound therapy, which uses special sounds that produce different tones and vibrations. This is largely the basis of sound healing – that we use certain tones or sounds aimed directly at certain parts of our bodies or brains, and we respond to it by adjusting our own frequencies to suit them. In other words, different tones such as those achieved by bells, chimes, bowls, gongs, and vibrations, can interact with the energy of the body, activate different chakras in the body, as well as organs and organ systems. As our bodies tune into and align with them, healing can take place.
There are a number of methods for achieving sound healing therapy, and a number of instruments and tools that can be used to help the patient through it. All produce different tones and sounds to assist in different therapies. Below are a few of the most common.
Entrainment is one method of sound therapy that synchronizes our brainwaves, which fluctuate, by producing a stable, solid frequency that our brains adjust to and then match. Also known as binaural beats, this method stimulates the brain into a specific state using pulsing sound to encourage your brain waves to align to the frequency of the beat. It helps to induce enhanced focus, entranced state, relaxation, or sleep.
Singing Bowl Therapy
Singing bowl therapy dates back to the 12th century and has been used for meditation and rituals in Tibetan culture. The sound produced by these metallic bowls is quite similar to a gong or a bell. Used in sound healing therapy, singing bowls are believed to calm and repair the mind as well as reduce stress and anxiety, lower blood pressure, improve breathing and circulation, alleviate aches and pains, strengthen the immune system, and improve the mood of the patient.
In recent years, crystal singing bowls seems to have found a growing following. Their higher tones penetrate our bodies in a different way. Paul Utz, found of Crystal Tones, one of the first to make crystal alchemy singing bowls, says, “We are water and our bones have a crystalline structure that creates an entrainment between sound and body.”
Tuning fork therapy
Just as with musical instruments, tuning fork sound healing therapy puts our body-soul dynamic back in sync using calibrated tuning forks that are applied to specific points on the body. Picture this as being similar to acupuncture without the pins. These forks will apply specific vibrations to certain areas of the body, which is said to release tension and open blocked energy. This type of healing with sound brings emotional balance and pain relief.
Vibration is believed to affect your body’s functions, such as blood pressure and breathing. Vibroacoustic therapy uses audible sound vibrations to improve health and reduce stress. The patient will lie down on a special bed or mat, where speakers are strategically placed, so that sounds and vibrations, when played, will penetrate the patient to a deep cellular level. This is typically used on patients recovering from injuries, cancer, and even strokes.
Probably the most well-known therapy, meditation has many health, neurological, and psychological benefits. Chanting as you meditate, or saying certain mantras or prayers, improves sleep, lowers blood pressure, improves our mood, breathing and circulation, calms the mind, and reduces stress.
Neurologic music therapy
Music therapy can reduce stress and promote relaxation. It’s been shown to be more effective than prescription drugs in reducing anxiety levels before surgery. A study published in 2017 found that a 30-minute music therapy session combined with traditional care after spinal surgery reduced pain. Music therapy is administered by a credentialed provider who assesses the individual’s needs. Treatment involves creating, listening, singing, or moving to music. It’s used for physical rehab, pain management, and brain injuries.
Named after Helen L. Bonny, Ph.D., the Bonny method of guided imagery and music uses classical music and imagery to help explore personal growth, consciousness, and transformation. A 2017 study showed promising evidence that a series of sessions could improve psychological and physiological health in adults with medical and mental health needs.
The Nordoff-Robbins technique is mostly aimed at children with developmental disabilities, such as autism, learning difficulties, mental and psychological disorders, or emotional traumas. This method functions under the assumption that every single one of us can find meaning (and therefore healing) in music, and teaches patients to create music as a form of therapy.
This is by no means a comprehensive list of all therapies that are available. Healing with sound can improve or cure many ailments including, but not limited to psychological and behavioral disorders including autism; depression; learning disabilities and developmental troubles; anxiety and stress; PTSD; pain; negative emotions, such as sadness, aggravation, anger, self-pity, and heartbreak.
It can also bring about clarity and balance; relaxation; improved memory and concentration; improved sleep; a stronger immune system; heightened awareness; and improved creativity.