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How Does Sound Healing Work?

As a Sound Therapist this is something I often get asked, and there are both simple and complex answers to this question, because it works on multiple levels and in multiple different ways. Sound Healing always excites and intrigues me, and I’ll always be a student as well as a teacher of this topic. In my work I get to see profound shifts and healing happen for many different people in lots of different ways. The main factor is that the sound itself doesn’t necessarily ‘heal’ someone, but rather it helps to bring the body into a state where it can heal itself.

Sound Healing, just like music, has the power to induce deep states of relaxation so the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and repair) takes over from the sympathetic (on-the-go, busy, stressed state). An important aspect of Sound Healing as a group session or 1-1 treatment is the intention. The mind-body connection is in full force as the intention is set for deep relaxation, healing or pain relief (some examples), and the sound not only accelerates this, but it also enters the body with less or no resistance. Sound Healing simply does not work if a person is ‘closed’ and resistant to it. Imagine you were really wound up and couldn’t switch off your busy mind, and someone asked you to listen to a heartfelt song. Are you really going to hear the story behind the lyrics and connect with the emotion of the music, like you would if it had your full attention and an openness to receive it?

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Sound, in simple terms, is just vibration. And everything is vibrating, including you! Remember that we can only hear a certain range of frequencies through the physical sense of hearing, but our bodies can be very receptive to frequencies that cannot be heard. ‘Frequency’ means the rate of the vibration; usually measured in hertz. Sounds created by instruments such as Crystal singing bowls or Tibetan singing bowls are healing in nature due to their specific frequencies and the way in which they are played. For healing, we respond best to repetitive, soothing, rhythmic, resonant sounds. Sounds from music can also be healing due to certain frequencies and the order in which rhythms, melodies, harmonies, chords etc have been arranged (composed). As a receiver of sound healing, you really don’t need to attach too much to the term frequency. On a more basic level, sounds only need to be heard by the ears and not necessarily felt to manipulate the nervous system into a state of parasympathetic, and shift brainwaves from a state of Beta to Alpha.


So, what about the felt experience of sound?


Every cell, tissue, organ, energy channel etc has its own resonant frequency. This is the natural, healthy, undisturbed frequency. When these vibrational frequencies are in harmony, we call this resonance. When they are in disharmony, we call this dissonance. Disharmony can occur in any part of the physical, mental, emotional or energy body for countless different reasons. Dissonant frequencies are in and around us most of the time on some level and we can also pick these up from other people who are in our energy field. You may have already experienced this, and perhaps without realising it. When disharmony occurs, it can have a knock-on effect, creating disharmony in other areas, and ultimately in the whole system. Resonant frequencies are healing frequencies because they encourage the cells to reharmonise back to their own resonant frequencies. There is also a phenomenon called entrainment which is the body responding to and synchronising with frequencies within its receptive field. A bit like the way your foot taps along to a musical beat without you consciously thinking about it.

Sound is a powerful healing modality due to the way it can stimulate the body on a cellular level. Because our body is made up of mainly water and sound passes through water with ease (faster than it passes through the air), it makes total sense that certain sounds can give us a subtle cellular massage. This is why I always advise my clients and students to rehydrate after a session with sound, because the body can detox in the same way it does after a massage. When I combine Massage Therapy with Sound Healing, it most definitely enhances detoxification.

Sound is an unseen force, a form of subtle energy, a powerful healing modality at the core of our existence. Sound has the power to shift energy and move objects as we see in the science of Cymatics. Every thought, emotion and feeling has a sound too! You are creating your very own unique orchestra of frequencies right now.

Tuning Forks on Acupressure Points

Using instruments that we can audibly hear isn’t the only way sound is used in medicine. Ultrasound scanning uses sound waves to produce images, tuning forks have been used to identify bone fractures where scanning methods weren’t available, and alternative therapies such as Bio Resonance use methods involving resonant frequencies to harmonise imbalances (dissonance) in the body that can cause disease. This is not a new concept at all. Throughout history, breakthroughs have been made in this field by highly regarded scientists who are/were pioneers in this field. A Google search will help you to explore this if you are interested in learning more.

Could it be said that sound is at the source of all life? Given that ancient texts (Upanishads) suggest that the primordial sound of the Universe is ‘Aum’, and there is also the theory of the ‘big bang’ which indicates a loud sound. In fact, we wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for sound. Think about it for a moment… everything is in motion due to sound. We just can’t hear it all because it would overwhelm us! Sound is sacred and very special, and this is why it is becoming more and more popular in the wellness industry. The benefits of Sound Healing include reduced blood pressure, pain relief, reduction in stress and anxiety, improved sleep, concentration and mental clarity, ease of physical tension and the release of stuck emotions. Plus lots more!

When it first really clicked for me that everything was vibrating and everything has its own vibrational frequency (its own sound), I spent days in awe of everything, like a child that had just gone out to explore the world alone for the first time. I still find myself in these moments of awe. If you look at a thriving tree, for example, and think about how many different resonant frequencies it has within its roots, branches, leaves etc, and how those vibrational frequencies are keeping it alive, it really is phenomenal.

All Life Has Resonant Frequencies

Although sound has been researched for hundreds of years and used successfully in healing for thousands of years, it is quite often misunderstood and met with scepticism. I really hope this has helped you to understand and appreciate sound more. Actually, the easiest way for me to answer the question, How Does Sound Healing Work? is to say, “try it, and see how it works for you!”

Click here to browse or email to find out about Sound Healing Classes, Workshops and Therapies. Rebecca also offers 1-1 workshops for practitioners that wish to add Sound Healing into their yoga teachings or complementary therapies. Email Rebecca with any enquiries and she will be happy to assist.

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