Sound is one of the few defining factors that shape our experiences as humans, sounds tells us how to perceive and feel, and defines the stories we tell ourselves. We use music to entertain, to express how we are feeling, to communicate, to relax, to celebrate and as part of cultural rituals across the globe. More importantly, we use music to heal.
The purpose of playing relaxing music in a spa goes much deeper than drowning out the other sounds of a busy work place, and for mere relaxation. This blog post is going to tell you sound healing can help to strengthen your state of wellbeing, how you can use it in the treatment room if you are an industry professional, and how to incorporate it into your daily routine at home to help reduce stress and anxiety, boost your mood and promote a stronger immune system.
What is sound healing?
This ancient practice uses sound vibrations to induce a state of harmony and relaxation. There is a long history of humans using music to heal – the Ancient Greeks used music to cure mental disorders, Native American culture uses song to heal sickness and even used to heal wounded troops during both World Wars.
Sound healing uses all kind of outlets to create a sound vibration, including voice and music alongside visual imagery. Certain tools instruments can be used in these sessions including gongs, digeridoos, monochord, the Native American flute, wind chimes and singing bowls.
Recommended to be led by a trained professional, some examples of sound healing include:
Singing bowl therapy
Root Frequency Entertainment
Neurological music therapy
Practitioners believe that this therapy has the power to enhance our physical and mental health because “everything in the universe has a vibrational frequency” explains Mark Melonlascino, M.D., an integrative functional medicine practitioner. He points out that “these vibrations interact with every cell in our body.”
Can sound healing really heal you?
We know that disease is closely linked to a poor mood and increased anxiety, and because sound healing provides some release from this feeling, it can be extremely effective for treating these symptoms alongside conventional methods.
A 2006 study displayed how the use of sound healing could help to decrease pain, depression and disability amongst patients suffering with chronic non-malignant pain.
62 women and men took part in a 2016 study to examine the effects of Tibetan singing bowl meditation and the results were profound. The participants had different levels of experience with this practice previous to the trial and regardless of how well they knew it, all men and women reported ‘significantly less tension, anger, fatigue and a depressed mood’ following the sound healing session.
Another study used low frequency sound stimulation on patients with Fibromyalgia and the results showed that by using this therapy, patients reduced their medication dose by 73.68% and discontinued use completely by 26.32%.
The British Academy of Sound Therapy claims that therapeutic music has the power to ‘solve the world’s sleep epidemic’ by increasing sleep length and decreasing speed to fall asleep by up to 45% with their continuous research.
The Therapeutic Sound Association, The Sound Healers Association,and Harmonic Sounds are examples of just some of the non-profit organisations that are continuing to work to develop a better understanding of this therapy and how it can used to treat disease.
What are the benefits of using sound therapy? There are many benefits of using sound to heal the body and mind, but here are a list of the main advantages. Sound healing:
Promotes a stronger immune system
Helps us to feel more connected
Boosts our mood
Induces a more relaxed state of mind
All of these benefits combined can help to assist the treatment, and soothe the symptoms associated with memory-inhibiting diseases like Alzheimer's, sleep deprivation, addiction, depression and anxiety and chronic pain.
What’s the risk?
Sound healing is very low-risk practice to partake in. However, it is advised to consult with a doctor first if you are pregnant or experiencing serious mental health problems.
What kind of results should you expect from sound healing?
Sound healing is not a ‘cure’ for mental and physical health conditions. Instead it is an aid to balance emotions and to help mute a busy mind.
Expect to feel relatively calmer after treatment. The extent of your results following a sound therapy session whether it be at home or with a professional can vary, depending on your lifestyle and habits, and state of your physical and mental health.
How to use sound healing at home
You do not need a qualification to develop a personal relationship with sound healing and use it at home. We have plenty of research online to guide us, and as humans, we already unknowingly use sound therapy during common everyday activities. At home, we use music and lyrics to motivate our workouts and house chores, to enhance focus whilst studying and working, as distraction, to help draw out or soothe existing emotion and to reach some kind of meditative state. Here are just some of the ways you can enhance your sound healing experience:
1) Play an instrument
If you are not already playing an instrument, try learning to do so as it encourages daily acts of sound healing. Studies have shown how playing an instrument uses both sides of the brain, enhances memory power, boosts your social life, relieves stress AND teaches discipline and patience.
2) Practice chanting mantras
This traditional practice can easily be adapted to suit you and your lifestyle. Chanting can seem like a daunting process at first, but it does not have to be.
Start with chanting the word “OM” (Aum). 10-20 minutes is an ideal amount of time to practice each day, and should be performed in a quiet room, sat or lay down in a comfortable position. The amount of words and types of mantras will vary as you develop the practice. You can repeat your mantra regularly throughout the day, silently or aloud, paying attention the vibrations of sound as it moves through your body.
If this doesn’t feel right, you can practice using guided chanting through Youtube videos and Spotify and Itunes playlists.
4) Put your earphones in and press play
Another easy sound therapy technique to adopt, is one most of us do every single. Using your earphones to cancel out surrounding noise and playing music is the ultimate therapy. Use music to motivate, to relax, to unwind, to think things over. It can also help guide you through other meditative practices and enhance your experience overall.
5) Consider house-friendly instruments
Sound healing instruments such as wind chimes, gongs, drums and sound furniture can all be installed into the home to help create a more present, relaxed state. One of my favourite times to use sound healing instruments in the home is at the start and end of each meditative practice, whether it be physical meditation, writing in a journal, reading or reflecting.
6) Try guided meditation
Remember that drowsy feeling that I talked back earlier on, and how voice can help to induce this state? Spend some time flicking through some guided meditation playlists online, find a voice you can truly relax with, and transcend into a deep space of calm.
Singing is another surprising example of how you can incorporate sound healing into your home. Research has shown how singing can improve your posture, sleep and mental alertness, lower stress levels and strengthen your immune system.
8) Watch ASMR videos
Just do it. 8 hours later, you can thank me.
Sound healing is a such a diverse practice, involving so many varying techniques that it makes it an adoptable practice for everyone. Anyone can practice sound therapy whilst in isolation to help soothe the stresses accompanied to this new way of living. The risk of sound healing is extremely low whilst the benefits are great. If you are already obsessed with selfcare, or a self-proclaimed holistic-junkie like myself, or even if you just want to try something new, sound therapy is something you can try today.