Is sound healing backed by sound science, or is it just a bunch of noise? In my last post, I gave an overview of sound healing and how it can positively affect your life. However, it’s not enough to just take my word for it. So, this week I’d like to dive deeper into the science behind this healing technique.
Those who practice sound healing contest that listening to percussive instruments like Tibetan singing bowls, gongs and tuning forks reduce stress levels and help you get into a meditative state. Practitioners often provide this alternative therapy as a support for anxiety, sleep disorders, chronic pain and PTSD. Our world is full of these struggles, now more than ever before. It’s important, then, that we find complementary treatments to help find relief.
What is Sound Healing?
The basic principle of sound healing states that everything in our universe - energy centers, the human body, and even our thoughts - has its own resonance. That means everything vibrates at its own individual frequency. Imagine you’re a guitar, for example. Each string (mind, body, soul, thoughts, emotions, etc.) needs to be tuned to a different note. What’s more, each guitar in the world requires a different tuning.
It’s a pretty complicated process, as you can imagine. If one part of our being becomes stressed, unwell or out of balance, the entire vibration of our lives are thrown off. And since we all require a different tuning, sound affects us all differently.
The Basic Science of Sound Healing
Petr Janata, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of California, uses musics to understand how our brains organize behavior. He says,
“New brain imaging technology has provided evidence that different circuits of the brain have preferred frequencies at which they oscillate.”
These oscillations were first discovered in the 1970s. From lowest to highest, these brainwave oscillation bands are called gamma, beta, alpha, theta and delta waves. Each of these waves impact our mind differently. According to Brainworks, this is the purpose of each wave:
Gamma: The fastest of brain waves (high frequency, like a flute), and relate to simultaneous processing of information from different brain areas. It passes information rapidly, and as the most subtle of the brainwave frequencies, the mind has to be quiet to access it.
Beta: These dominate our normal waking state of consciousness when attention is directed towards cognitive tasks and the outside world. Beta is a ‘fast’ activity, present when we are alert, attentive, engaged in problem solving, judgment, decision making, and engaged in focused mental activity.
Alpha: They are dominant during quietly flowing thoughts, and in some meditative states. Alpha is ‘the power of now’, being here, in the present. Alpha is the resting state for the brain. Alpha waves aid overall mental coordination, calmness, alertness, mind/body integration and learning.
Theta: These occur most often in sleep but are also dominant in deep meditation. It acts as our gateway to learning and memory. In theta, our senses are withdrawn from the external world and focused on signals originating from within. It is that twilight state which we normally only experience fleetingly as we wake or drift off to sleep.
Delta: They are slow, loud brainwaves (low frequency and deeply penetrating, like a drum beat). They are generated in deepest meditation and dreamless sleep. Delta waves suspend external awareness and are the source of empathy. Healing and regeneration are stimulated in this state, and that is why deep restorative sleep is so essential to the healing process.
As you can deduce, sound healing taps into the Delta brainwaves, helping you enter into this deep, healing state of consciousness.
A Look at Sound Healing Research
Sound and healing have been studied extensively throughout the years. When looking at the combined research, we get a clear picture of how and why sound healing works. I’d like to share with you a few of my favorite bits of research:
- Fabien Maman shows that sound can destroy cancer cells.
- Two different clinical studies reveal specific frequencies creating more bone density, thus regenerating the bones.
- According to a paper in the Journal of Advanced Nursing, music can reduce chronic pain by up to 21%. Additionally, it makes people feel in control and less disabled.
- Several independent research studies showed how specific frequencies improve measurements in EEG, EKG, enzyme levels, and thermograms.
- Another study in the Journal of Advanced Nursing revealed that repeating mantras help the symptoms of PTSD, can keep you calm during traffic, and even relieve boredom.
The research shows the benefits, now the rest is up to you! Are you willing to start the journey to a healed, balanced life? If so, feel free to reach out to me any time. I’d love to discuss energy healing, as well as my own journey with sound healing.