Now previously I would have looked at myself with a raised eyebrow and an ‘are you serious’ kind of sneer if I’d suggested such a thing. But the much freer thinking me was very open to this experience. What I’m talking about is sound healing. The session I attended was an hour-long meditation with sound incorporated into this.
What exactly is sound healing? Where did it originate?
Music (which at its root is sound) has been used for celebration, expression, communication and ceremonies for many centuries. It is something which manages to connect all humans regardless of where they are from or what they believe in. You don’t even need to speak the same language to understand each other and connect over music! Music is played at weddings to celebrate love. Music is played at funerals to celebrate a loved one’s life and to say goodbye. We listen to music when we want to dance or if we just want to have some fun. Music has a lot of uses. One of the most important uses is as a tool for healing.
Think about it….
If you’re going through a tough time and need a good cry. What do you do? Listen to emotional melancholy songs and tear up! You bet that you’re going to feel much better afterwards. Or, you need a good smile and want to reminisce about some happy times. What do you do? You play that song that brings back the fond memories and puts a smile back on your face.
Music is therapy!
If we look back throughout history, sound has been used for centuries in various cultures as a tool for healing. The mantras of the Hindis or the Icaros of the Central and South American indigenous people all had the intention to move people from a place of imbalance to that of balance. In other words – to heal them through sound.
So…How does it work?
Sound therapy works by facilitating shifts in brainwaves from fluctuating to a more stable frequency which the brainwave can attune to. It can shift us from a normal waking conscious (Beta state) through to a relaxed consciousness (Alpha); and even into a meditative state (Theta) or sleep state (Delta). Healing is said to occur when the body reaches these other states. This is the same concept used in meditation through regulating breath, however in the case of sound, it is the frequency which is the shift agent.
Can sound actually heal you?
Essentially everything we experience in the universe is our perception of waves. When sound waves reach our ears, they are converted into electrical signals and processed by our brain as sound. These sound waves trigger responses in our bodies which release hormones and chemicals, affecting our emotions and moods. Whilst the full answer to question moves beyond the bounds of my knowledge, I’ll let you in on my experience instead.
How did my session go?
After arriving and entering the room, the group sat on yoga mats with our blankets for warmth. Our practitioner explained what to expect. We were advised not to overthink the various sounds or try sleuth which instrument was making each noise. Instead, he would explain at the end of the session how and why he was playing each sound.
Side note – our practitioner had a unique little digitiser connected to a plant leaf with a small electrode. The digitiser was able to turn the vibrations of the plant into music. Each pulse from the tree was turned into a music note. So essentially this tree was playing an instrument!
How cool is that?!
I was totally geeking out ?
We settled into a comfortable lying position (or seated for those who were prone to falling asleep and snoring!) and commenced with a guided meditation to calm the mind and body; and simply be present in the room. Then the sounds commenced. Our session started with a rain drum which he used to invoke sounds of waves crashing on the beach. Next moving onto the singing crystal bowls, played in a particular sequence and of certain frequencies, to create different energies within our bodies. This was followed the Tibetan singing bowls; gong; rain stick and Koshi chimes. There was a specific reason and intention behind each series of sounds to take you along a journey through your mind and body. Each of these instruments had been tuned to the frequency of elements of the earth and each with a different purpose and intention to heal. My first feeling within the session was an intense wave that pulsated throughout my body. With my eyes closed and in the relaxed state, I could feel the sound all around. It seemed to fill the room almost to a point of being deafeningly loud. With my eyes open at the very end, however, the sound was much less – its amazing how our sense will heighten to compensate when another is taken away (eyes closed vs open). As the session progressed, I was able to drop into a deeper state of relaxation to the point where I felt very close to sleep. I could feel the sound washing over me in a cleansing manner. As the session concluded and upon rising from the meditation, I felt much lighter and with a sense of contentment. I felt calm and settled. At peace.
So, does sound heal?
I have only anecdotal evidence from my own personal experience but I’m going to say that I certainly left the session feeling far better than when I entered the room.
Will I do it again?
I certainly will ?