What is Sound Healing Therapy?
You may be surprised to hear that sound can be a healing therapy. Many elements of sound therapy are all around us. It’s in the music that relaxes you; it’s in the patter of rain on the roof; it’s in the tinkling of wind chimes on a windy day.
Specific sounds can help your brain mimic one of the four brain wave frequencies –beta, alpha, theta and delta. By stimulating the brain waves with different frequencies and vibrations, sound therapists can induce a deep state of self-healing.
Sound healing follows two principles:
1) Each emotion has its own level of vibration.
2) Emotions that are left unexpressed will trigger illnesses.
Exposing the body to different sounds and vibrations helps the body re-balance, re-focus and release stress and anxiety in the body’s cells and organs.
Sound therapy isn’t a new health trend. The practice of sound healing dates back to ancient civilisations. Monks in Nepal and Tibet used Tibetan singing bowls (also called Himalayan singing bowls) in spiritual and healing ceremonies—a method that is still used today. Similarly, in ancient Greece, music was used to cure mental health disorders. Ancient Egyptians used vowel chants to bring about healing because they believed that vowels were sacred.
In Australia, sound healing has been used for 40,000 years by aboriginal tribes. They used instruments such as the yidaki and the didgeridoo to heal patients of both physical and mental conditions.
How Does Sound Healing Therapy Work?
The main objective of a sound healing session—which can be done in a group or one-on-one with a practitioner—is to use the vibrations of different sounds to alter the brain waves and encourage holistic healing in the body. How does this happen?
Science has proven that our body is made up of particles that constantly vibrate. Even our thoughts and emotions trigger vibrations. When we experience unpleasant feelings, the energy and vibrations are low. Because of this, the emotions stay trapped in the body and can stagnate.
Sound therapy activates higher vibrations to flow through the body, stimulating the stagnant emotions, and releasing them. Once the vibrations of the negative emotions flow out, the body’s chakras—or energy zones—regain their balance. Much like meditation, or having a massage, your body just feels soothed, emotionally cleansed, and de-stressed.
Today, sound therapy and music therapy (a type of sound therapy) are increasingly being used in both medical and mental healthcare settings. In fact, there is plenty of scientific evidence proving the effectiveness of sound healing.
A study in 2006, for example, found that sound therapy is an effective treatment for fibromyalgia, a chronic pain disorder. Also, many schools are now offering music therapy programs to students for improved mental health and wellness.
What are the Benefits of Sound Healing?
Sound therapy can help ease symptoms of several conditions, including the following:
- Anxiety and stress disorders
- Autism spectrum disorders
- Disorders that create learning difficulties
- Sleep disorders
- Some cancers
What to Expect From a Private Sound Healing Session
There are different types of sound therapy. Practitioners have various ways of creating healing vibrations. The following are some of the most popular methods.
Picture taking a relaxing bath but with vibrations, not water—this is what a sound bath is like. The practitioner lets you lie or sit comfortably with your eyes closed. They then guide you through some deep breathing exercises. After a few minutes, they use combinations of instruments, such as tuning forks, gongs, Tibetan singing bowls, chimes, and their voice to completely surround you and lull you into a deeply relaxed dreamlike state. Your body, mind and soul will float into a state of holistic healing.
You already do your own music therapy whenever you listen to your favourite tunes to de-stress. A professional music therapy session, however, goes beyond just listening to music. It also involves singing, playing instruments, even composing music. You don’t even have to be a musical genius to get the health benefits of music therapy. You just need to be open to letting your mind, body and soul connect with the vibrations. Music therapy has been proven to lower blood pressure, improve memory, manage pain, and relax muscles, among other things. And it’s fun!
Guided sound meditations
Meditations using guided sounds are done mainly with imagery and instruction. The sounds—from crystal singing bowls to recorded nature sounds—stay in the background to put you in a highly relaxed state. With this “soundtrack,” the practitioner guides you through a series of meditations to bring about self-awareness and healing. It’s so easy, you can even do a guided sound healing meditation on your phone. Find one on insight timer app.
Often used as the first step to meditation, chanting helps promote health and well-being by creating vocal vibration through the body. Yogis usually do it at the beginning and end of each yoga session. They repeatedly recite a mantra that stimulates spiritual peace. These are some of the mantras you can chant during a sound therapy session:
- “I am enough.”
- “Om Namah Shivayah,” which, in Sanskrit, honours Shiva, the higher self.
- “I open my heart to the universe.”
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