Sound healing techniques and instruments may be considered strange or intriguing by skeptics uncertain of their healing qualities and potential. However, these practices and tools have been used for thousands of years to heal emotional, physical and behavioural problems. There is a science of sound healing.
It is helpful to know some of the science that supports the practice of sound healing in order to understand why sound healing is not just a “new age” phenomenon, but actually based on scientific principles.
Modern-day science has proven that all matter consists of energetic vibrations or waveforms, and that all waveforms produce sound even if we can't hear them.
All matter has different sound frequencies. Things that are dense or solid have a lower frequency than things that are liquid or soft. Thus, your bones and teeth have a lower or slower frequency than your tissues and organs. Our emotions and thoughts, on the other hand, vibrate at an even higher frequency than our physical body. We measure brain activity using a device called an electroencephalogram (EEG).
From a scientific perspective, our mind (to be more specific, our thoughts and emotions) and body are not only connected. Some experts say that the two communicate with each other beyond our conscious awareness. Candace Pert, a neuroscientist, proved this with her discovery of neuropeptides and endorphins, which showed that our thoughts influence our immune system.
Additionally, our physical being also communicates and responds with our physical environment beyond our conscious awareness.
Our body and mind and spirit are a system. We are dynamic and changing all the time within a larger system — the universe. Click to tweet
It is also helpful to understand the science of holography, which states that the whole is contained within the part.
From a sound healing perspective, to heal one part, you need to work with the whole system. Likewise, systems theory teaches that if you change one part, you affect the whole system. Thus, when you experience a physical symptom or an emotional condition, your whole system needs to be considered to bring you back into balance.
When we are healthy, our system is functioning in a balanced way. In other words, information is flowing freely and easily between all of the molecules. We are resonating and in balance.
There are many ways that we can experience imbalance, though — on the physical plane, for instance, you recognize aches and pains and broken bones as obvious abnormalities or discomfort. Sometimes, we don’t even have to be consciously aware of these things. Our nervous system — our hormones, our neurotransmitters, and our immune system — all operate below our level of awareness. We don’t notice them until we experience a symptom that is caused from some imbalance.
Now that we’ve established that we are a whole system and that we vibrate at different frequencies, the next question is: What has this got to do with the ability of sound to heal? The short answer:
All systems work to achieve a state of homeostasis or balance, and sound healing functions to assist with this state. Click to tweet
Resonance is the scientific principle where one vibrating object can force a second object into vibrational motion. On the other hand, entrainment is a physical phenomenon where the frequency of one object changes its own frequency to match another object. In other words, it matches or comes into harmony with another object.
An example of this is when ticking clocks placed in the same room will eventually come into a rhythmic harmony, each tick-tocking at the same time.
Now, let’s talk about sound and how it affects us. That involves talking about psychoacoustics — the study of the perception of sound.
Typically, when we think of music, we think about its psychological effect on our thinking and emotions. However, sound also affects our nervous system as well as on different levels of awareness. There is a mundane level, where we hear sounds around us without much consideration. We hear sound to gather information, or have an emotional response triggered by a memory or thought that the sound evokes. We can also allow our whole body to respond to sound by interpreting what we hear with movement. Apart from that, there is another a way to surrender to sound, allowing the sound to transport us without our mental activity and interference.
Particular sounds can cause our brain waves to speed up or slow down. Sound alters the nervous system primarily because of entrainment. Entrainment shifts our brainwave state by changing the rhythm and frequency of the wave patterns. That is why during a sound healing session, your normal waking (beta) state shifts to (alpha) relaxed or (theta) meditative state. Some people experience a type of conscious sleep, where they are self-aware, not in the physical sense, but more of a general awareness. Other people fall into a deep sleep (delta) where there is neither awareness of the physical body nor mental images. Healing and reprogramming is optimal in the theta and delta state, where it is almost impossible to be stressed or agitated.
Take note, however, that sound healing is not an exact science, and healing in general is very mysterious. There are many types of sound healing and many types of practitioners, so it's important for you to seek out practitioners and methods that you resonate with because it won’t be the same for everyone.
Personally, my sound healing method is to focus on helping clients surrender their whole self to the sound. Instead of trying to fix or change my clients, I create an environment where trust can be fostered, intentions and beliefs can be released, and sound can be allowed to shape and create the overall experience. You can read my post about "What is a Gong Bath Meditation" .
I believe that anything we perceive to be a problem is usually a very small part of a different issue. Click to tweet
I hope my blog post was able to provide more clarity on the scientific basis of the rather unconventional art of sound healing. In another blog post, I will talk about the different styles of sound healing. For now, though, if you have any questions about sound healing or would like to experience it yourself, drop me a line, and let’s set a schedule.