Sound Healing is having a moment — Meghan Markle and Charlize Theron are fans — but it’s been around for centuries. You can experience a session online or in person, and the practice can help balance your mind, body, and soul. It’s also scientifically valid. Scientists are learning more about how music can affect our mood, and research shows that sound healing does have physical benefits.
The calming vibrations of sound heal your whole being, and are a powerful tool to reduce stress and anxiety. It can improve your mental health by soothing agitation and promoting positive emotions like gratitude and compassion. Sound healing has been shown to help lower blood pressure and reduce pain, as well as decrease your heart rate and relax muscles in the face of tension. Over 90 percent of doctor’s visits are caused by stress, and incorporating sound healing can help restore balance and wellness to your life.
It’s based on the principle of sympathetic resonance, or vibrational entrainment, where two vibrating entities are attracted to one another and eventually synchronize their rhythms. Humans are 75% water, which makes us a great conductor for vibrations, and our bodies respond to the frequencies of various instruments like crystal bowls, gongs, tuning forks, and singing bowls. The frequencies of these tools create vibrations that are similar to the frequency range of our brainwaves, which can cause our brainwaves to synchronize with them and alter our state of consciousness.
Some people use their voice to do this, and others chant or play instruments. It’s an ancient form of therapy that combines spirituality, mindfulness, and science, and it can be used to treat chronic health conditions like arthritis, depression, and anxiety. In one study, a musical approach known as Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) was shown to significantly reduce anxiety and negative mood states in adults with medical and mental health issues.
Aside from being relaxing, the calming sounds of a sound healing session can also help to release negative emotional blocks and increase self-awareness. This is because our emotions are connected to our chakras, which are the centres of our energy system. For example, the heart chakra is associated with feelings of sadness and grief. A practitioner can use a singing bowl with the frequency of the heart chakra to bring those emotions into conscious awareness, helping to release and let go of blocked energy.
This is not to be confused with binaural beats, which are a scientifically validated way to help people get into meditative or sleep-like states using different frequency sounds played in each ear. Unlike those gimmicks, real healing sound can be experienced directly with your senses. And while the research is still in its early stages, anecdotally most of us can attest that certain sounds make us feel good — a fact supported by the fact that our bodies produce “feel-good” chemicals when we hear them. The key is finding the right kind of sounds for you and your body.