Have you noticed just how powerful music really is? Songs and sound have the ability to entice emotion within us. For instance, when you put on your favourite song, do you suddenly start to shift from feeling down to feeling good? What about when you listen to a touching song? Do you feel chills in your body? All of this isn’t just a coincidence, music actually impacts our brain in a variety of different ways. Sound has the ability to activate neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, and it also has the ability to elicit memories and associations.
What exactly is music? Many have their own definition, and some might even say they wouldn’t consider our Westernized “pop” to even be real “music.” Do we blame them? Oxford Dictionary defines music as, “vocal or instrumental sounds (or both) combined in such a way as to produce beauty of form, harmony, and expression of emotion.” In the past 200 years, researchers have started to study the link between sound and healing which is being more integrated into modern day life.
Making music has been used by our ancestors for years, over 35,000 of them to be exact! Music has been used for a variety of different purposes, from religious ceremonies to ancient theatre, dance, and worship. Greek physicians knew the power of vibration and sound and used it as a way to heal patients with digestion, mental disturbances, and sleep issues.
In this article we’re going to dive a little deeper into the healing benefits of sound and how utilize it in your daily life.
Sound is healing
A variety of cultures throughout history have utilized sound and music in one way or another. Take ancient Egypt for example, they would utilize percussion instruments, stringed instruments, and wind instruments within dance, celebration, death ceremonies, and even work. In Africa, musical instruments served as works of art and they were largely integrated into their way of life with dance, special occasions, and religion. Body percussion, foot stamping and clapping were also utilized in African cultures for years. In Medieval times within Europe, vocals were largely used whether it was chanting in a group or individual singing.
When it comes to using sound for healing it dates back even further than this. Some of the earliest detailing of sound healing actually comes from the indigenous Australians who lived 40,000 years ago. The didgeridoo which is a long wind instrument was said to be used in healing rituals. The unique tone of this instrument would allow people to get into a meditative state as the vibration activated theta and delta brainwave states.
All sound starts with vibration. At the most minute level when we hear something we are actually sensing vibrations in the air. The number of vibrations per second is known as frequency. Different frequencies can create different states and even heal. Our human ear is capable of picking up a wide range of frequencies from the high pitch of a boiling tea kettle to the low rumble of thunder. A certain type of frequency group known as, “solfeggio frequencies” and tones are said to have a healing impact on the body. 174 Hz frequency is said to have one of the greatest benefits on the physical body. This sound vibration has been said to alleviate stress, improve concentration, and positively impact the organs in the body.
Listening to different levels of therapeutic frequencies such as 285 Hz, 396 Hz, 417 Hz, 528 Hz could actually benefit your mind and body in so many ways, including:
- Reduced anxiety
- Emotional balance
- Improved sleep quality
- Reduced inflammation
- Faster healing from injuries
With YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music, and other streaming services available it makes it easier than ever to find songs or playlists with these frequencies that you can listen to while you work, while you’re meditating, before sleeping, and so much more!
Sound baths and bowls, a modern day comeback?
If you’ve been on Instagram or TikTok you might have come across some footage of people using sound bowls and other people laying down with their eyes closed and listening around it. This experience is called a sound bath and although it might seem like something that’s new-agey, this practice is thousands of years old and has been used in different cultures globally. Singing bowls were used in Tibet, Nepal, and India up to 5000 years ago and were used as a healing method.
You might be wondering how sound baths are used nowadays and how you can participate. Well, during a sound bath participants lie down on their back while a sound healing practitioner starts a session that can last anywhere up to an hour. Sound baths are a great way for someone to experience some of the positive benefits of meditation if you have a difficult time focusing by yourself. Sound healing instruments used can range from singing bowls and tuning forks. The practitioner will play melodies that aren’t repetitive and vary in sound in order for the brain to relax and let go.
At the end of the experience you should be feeling in a relaxed state and a lot more calm than when you first started.
This experience isn’t woo-woo stuff, sound healing is rooted in science and has many studies to show that singing bowls and vibrations benefit our emotional and physiological health.
Next time you turn on the radio and you hear a song that’s been played for the 47th time that week, maybe it’s a good idea to switch it off and think, “what sound could I listen to instead that will make me feel energized and great?” We take some of the smallest things for granted when it comes to our physical and mental health, but just remember that what you listen to, what you watch, and what you consume all has a direct impact on how you feel on the inside.
Let us know if this article changed your perspective on sound down below!