“Music gives soul to the Universe, wings to the mind,-Plato
flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, gaiety and life to everything; It is the essence of order and lends to all that is good, just and beautiful.”
Most everyone loves music in some form or fashion. Yet, even as music brings us pleasure, science is now showing that music (and particular sounds or tones) have healing powers as well, powers that can affect body, mind, and spirit in ways that can decrease stress and dis-ease, relieve physical and emotional pain, and help bring about personal transformation.
We live in a universe of sound. Sound is defined as “vibrations that travel through air or another medium and can be heard when they reach a person’s ear.” The science of quantum physics is revealing that everything is vibrating; indeed the entire Universe is singing! This singing reaches us from sources near and far—sounds of nature, of machines, sounds from those around us and from within our own bodies. Everything from a black hole at the center of the galaxy to an electron within a cell on the end of your finger is producing a sound. Since our dominant sense tends to be vision, visual stimuli often so occupies our brains that we become less conscious of the sounds surrounding us and unaware that sound may be affecting us in significant ways.
The essence of sound is vibration and the essence of vibration is a waveform. What we perceive as solid matter is the infinitely complex interaction of vibrational waveforms of varying frequencies and densities. Following this line of thinking, perhaps sound is indeed the primordial force underlying all of creation. Given that we are vibratory beings in a vibratory universe, it makes sense that sound would have an effect on us.
So, how can sound affect us? Sound can provide nourishment for our bodies, just as ingesting healthy food does. If we are deficient in certain vitamins or minerals we can become diminished physically, emotionally, mentally or even spiritually. So, what is Sound Healing? So too, there are certain sound frequencies that nourish our physical and subtle bodies and that can help us come into and maintain balance.
Sound may also have a counterproductive effect, perhaps even leading to physical, mental or emotional disturbances or disease processes. Some sounds have a negative influence on us and may push us into agitation, anxiety, interrupted sleep patterns, or disrupted energy cycles. Sound can also impact autonomic functions, increasing blood pressure, heart rate, or upsetting digestion. All of this can happen at an unconscious level, especially if one is exposed to such sounds on a continual basis.
Science is supporting such findings, particularly within the medical field. Music therapy is being employed to assist in generating endorphins—hormones secreted by the brain and nervous system that generate an analgesic effect. This is particularly effective during labor and delivery, pre- and post-operatively, during cancer treatment, and as one is approaching death.
Sound has been used by every culture from every age, to not only worship and praise the Divine, but to heal, strengthen, rejuvenate and restore us physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally.Kimba Arem, musician and sound therapist
So how can sound support us, when does it transition into ? Our brain produces sound frequencies that are audible and measurable by brain wave monitoring (EEG). These frequencies are as follows:
- Beta – excitement, alertness
- Alpha – relaxed, daydreaming, sleep dreaming, meditation
- Theta – imagination, inspiration, astral travel, enlightened state
- Delta – total unconsciousness, deep dreamless sleep
- Gamma – the Insight wave, high level information processing (recently discovered)
The brain produces these frequencies constantly but in varied proportions. If the brain has too much beta, then it needs to produce more alpha. The ultimate goal is for brain waves to balance and harmonize in order to achieve the most desirable mix.
Sound Healing does this through the process of entrainment. Entrainment operates on the universal principle that when sound vibrations are in close proximity to each other, they influence one another (or entrain) as the frequencies tend to come together in a waveform. This can produce a harmonizing effect, bringing us into a state of deep relaxation or alertness. Thus, by exposing our brain to certain frequencies within the desired range, production of brain waves begins to fall into step with desired rhythms.
In a personal sound therapy session entrainment is the key principle. The session is designed to create an environment of sound—a space for a person to safely enter a deeply relaxed state of consciousness. Within this soundscape, you may fall into a deep sleep or a meditative state, or you might have an experience of high imagination, inspiration, excitement or alertness. Each session is unique.
Despite research showing the benefits of sound therapy, such as aiding in the process of recovery from addiction or helping to alleviate symptoms of a whole range of illnesses, many physicians are unaware of this body of work and rarely think to prescribe it. However, given the advantages of sound therapy (it is relatively inexpensive and safe, and can offer enormous improvements in physical and mental health) more and more doctors, such as Dr. Andrew Weil, are extolling the use of sound therapy as a healing modality. Sound scientists have created new, cutting-edge “soundscape” technologies that facilitate a rapid response. In nearly three decades of experience employing these modalities, I have witnessed stunning transformations within a single session!
Indeed, one definition of healing is “the process of making or becoming sound”.