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What is Sound Healing and how can we utilize sound to sooth our bodies, minds, and souls.

Updated: Sep 15, 2022

What is Sound Healing and how can we tap into this ancient tradition to enhance our overall wellness in today’s overstimulated world?

Sound healing is getting much more mainstream than ever with more Americans looking for new ways to destress with focused awareness through sound. It is also gaining in popularity because there are so many science based studies on the advantages of sound healing in very measurable ways. It’s very exciting to think that something as simple as sound, which we have come to enjoy as entertainment, has not only been used to promote healing and well-being, but has proven to work through scientific research as well.

Brief history of Sound Healing.

Sound healing has ancient roots in cultures all over the world. Indigenous Australians have used the didgeridoo as a sound healing instrument for over 40,000 years. Tibetan singing bowls can be traced back over 2000 years when the Tibetan monks used singing bowls to aid in meditation and to encourage self healing. The vibrations produced by the singing bowls have been described as the sound of the universe manifesting. American Indian medicine men used sound healing to help guide them in difficult situations and ancient Greeks used sound for healing mental disorders. We also know that Greek physicians used flutes and zitters to heal their patients and they used vibration to aid in digestion, treat mental unbalance, and induce sleep.

More recent history credits British Osteopath Sir Peter Guy Manners for inventing sound healing when he developed the first machine designed to produce sound vibrations for healing in the 1950s.

Sound bath and our nervous systems.

The sound bath can help create a harmonious state in our bodies and help us to move into a meditative state to access inner awareness we may not otherwise be able to tune into. Most of us spend most of our days disconnected from our feelings and emotions running from one task to the next creating more disconnect between our bodies and our minds. Our bodies can’t heal if we are constantly stressed. The sound bath stimulates and soothes the nervous system which allows you to calm down, heal and decrease stress.

As we know, our nervous systems can easily get overloaded by everyday stressors and for some of us it is difficult to guide our bodies back into the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic is the part of your nervous system that slows you down. It is responsible for helping your body to relax, improving your digestion, boosting immunity and helping you sleep better. It also normalizes your blood pressure and lowers heart rate. The parasympathetic nervous system counteracts many stress-related symptoms and negative byproducts of our modern, fast-paced, high-output lives.

So, how does sound and vibration help us to feel peaceful and calm?

“Vibrations move through water in the body,” says Dr. Buathon Thienarrom, a Thai wellness practitioner. “When this happens, it helps stimulate circulation to allow muscle relaxation and improve lymphatic flow.” This particular type of sound healing has been found to reduce stress, anger, depression, and fatigue.

Sounds target brain waves that channel energy and help to restore balance to the nervous system and guiding us back to our parasympathetic nervous system. Understanding the neuroscience behind the sound bath is to think of the sound as energy. Brain waves are generated by electrical pulses working together and the brain’s internal communication system is based on frequency. Brain waves are divided into five different bandwidths that are thought to form a spectrum of human consciousness. The slowest of the waves are delta waves which occur mostly during our deepest state of sleep. The fastest of the waves are gamma waves, which are associated with higher states of conscious perception. Alpha waves occur when the brain is daydreaming or consciously practicing mindfulness or meditation.

Just as every organ and cell in each of us vibrates at a particular frequency, the sounds created have their own rhythm and can help the brain decompress and achieve a deep relaxation. The goal is to enter what psychologists call the ‘delta’ and ‘theta’ brainwave states because these brain waves have the slowest frequencies and are the place where our subconscious mind resides. Many people relate to these states as daydreaming and they are are known to aid relaxation and boost creativity, mental clarity and concentration.

According to Psychology Today, sound-based vibration treatment has been shown to help people with pain from arthritis, menstrual pain, postoperative pain, knee replacement pain and improve mobility, reduce muscle pain and stiffness, increase blood circulation, and lower blood pressure.

One study published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine found that an hour long sound meditation helped people reduce tension, anger, fatigue, anxiety, and depression while increasing a sense of spiritual well-being.

So, if you are looking for a way to feel brighter, lighter and less stressed, try sound healing. You will not be disappointed.

If you are in Northern California, Radiant Yoga in El Dorado Hosts a monthly sound bath.