When the Beach Boys sang about “good vibrations” they probably weren’t referring to how frequencies affect our health, but that’s exactly what sound healing does. From Tibetan singing bowls to shamanic drums, vocal chanting, and tuning forks, sound and music therapy has been used by cultures worldwide and throughout history as an ancient wellness practice. And it’s not the voodoo some may call it – there’s actual scientific research showing the healing power of sound.
Sound healing uses vibrations to encourage emotional balance and physical well-being, and it can be done in a private session with a sound healer or as part of a guided meditation on your own (binaural beats are all the rage right now). Unlike the high-pitched tunes on a pop hit that may just give you a temporary mood lift, therapeutic sounds activate a relaxed rest-and-digest healing response in the body, which is good for digestion, blood circulation, pain relief, and overall wellness.
Using crystal bowls, gongs, and tuning forks, sound practitioners create various tones and vibrations to send energy to different parts of the body. For instance, the gongs used during a gong bath are designed to open and clear blocked energy channels in the heart chakra, helping to release emotions like grief and sadness. The vibrations can also stimulate the cellular and muscular systems to increase metabolism, improve blood flow, and relax muscles.
In addition to relieving stress, sound healing can help boost immunity and reduce anxiety, depression, and insomnia. It’s even been shown to relieve chronic pain, especially in the musculoskeletal system. The resonant vibrations from the instruments penetrate deep into tissue, which releases tight muscle tissue, increases mobility, and stimulates cell repair.
The vibrations can also trigger the production of nitric oxide in the body, which can improve circulation, blood flow, and cell efficiency, all of which are essential to wellness. This is one of the reasons that sound healing is so beneficial for athletes and those dealing with chronic pain or illness.
During a session, you will likely lie on a yoga mat or meditation cushion with the sound practitioner playing various instruments over your body as you listen and feel the effects. You can also try your hand at sound healing at home, simply by chanting or humming the word AUM (the sound of the universe).
While sound healing is a great tool to use for stress reduction and boosting your immune system, it’s important that you consult with a medical professional before participating. Pregnant women are advised to avoid sound healing during the first trimester, and anyone with epilepsy should never participate in a session where a vibrating object is placed on the body as it can cause seizures. In addition, it’s not a good idea to participate in this type of healing for people who have metal implants, such as a pacemaker or stent. What is sound healing