Sound Healing Meditation
For millennia, sound healing meditation has been used as therapy to ease and cure many maladies. Our body is designed to hear sounds; it’s something innate in us all.
For celebrations and funerals, for joy and sickness, there are different sounds that reflect our emotional state. People from all cultures, creeds, and corners of the earth make the same sounds for the same occasions. Without saying a word, we sing praises and worship our deities with them. Perhaps, it is the thing that truly connects all humans.
A word about sound healing history
Most importantly, we use sounds for healing. Even in the prehistoric times native people of all continents, completely unrelated to each other, had magico-religious practitioners (now, we call them shamans) that could access the world of good and evil spirits and practice divination and healing. They entered a trance state during very similar rituals using different “instruments” to produce sounds. In Greek mythology, Apollo was a god of music and healing. Aesculapius was believed to cure mental disorders with songs, and Hippocrates played music for his patients. Plato and Aristotle both claimed that music affected the soul.
What is sound healing meditation?
Sound healing meditation can be defined as a practice where an individual uses specific sounds to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm state.
Sound healing meditation has been practiced since antiquity in numerous religious traditions and beliefs to reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and pain and to increase peace, perception, and wellbeing.
Sound healing practitioners use music or specific sounds of different origins to improve the health of their patients. Sound healing therapy improves many sides of the patient’s life, including emotional and social development, cognitive and motor functioning, and psychological and psychiatric health.
The science of sound healing meditation
In physics, sound is a vibration that travels through the air and can be heard when it reaches a human’s ear. Sound is an audible wave. In human physiology and psychology, sound is the reception of such waves and their perception by the brain.
When sound waves reach our ears, they are converted into electrical signals that travel up the auditory nerve into the auditory cortex, the part of the brain that processes sound. Once sound waves reach our brains, they trigger responses in our bodies. This process alters our emotions, releases hormones and chemicals that affect both our bodies and our moods, and triggers certain impulses. As far as we can tell, each brain center generates impulses at a specific frequency based on the predominant neurotransmitter it secretes. Hormones of happiness, dopamine and oxytocin are major neurotransmitters in the brain. Sound is therefore not only a tranquilizer of sorts that soothes our emotions, but it also a painkiller.
Humans can only hear sound waves as distinct pitches. The hearing range lies between the frequency of 20Hz and 20kHz. Sound above 20kHz is an ultrasound and is not perceptible by humans. Sound waves below 20Hz are known as infrasound.
Using a specific method of sound therapy (Himalayan singing bowls, transitioning to Gongs, and transitioning to crystal singing bowls), a study at The British Academy of Sound Therapy, found that live sound is more effective than digitally recorded to soften stress-related imbalances and chronic pain. [http://www.britishacademyofsoundtherapy.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/ASC-research-article-HealthySound.pdf]
Sounds are restorative to the nervous system; they resonate deep within our cells and are powerfully effective at changing our thought patterns.