The Benefits of Sound Therapy
Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on July 30, 2009 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Sound therapy has been around for centuries even though it has been touted as a ‘New Age Phenomenon’. The world’s greatest musicians all know the power that music and sound have in helping to heal the mind and the body. English playwright and poet, William Congreve, has been quoted as saying: “Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.”
Music has the ability to relieve stress, promote relaxation and even lift a person’s spirits when they are feeling down. Whenever you are emotionally touched by a certain piece of music or lyric, your consciousness will usually transcend to a new height. Sound is simply a vibration that is felt throughout our body on many different levels. These vibrations and frequencies can affect us in many different ways.
Since we all live in a very hectic world, we don’t often realize the true nature of the sounds that are around us and we just assume everything is ‘background noise’.
However, our subconscious remembers the sounds and uses them to affect our conscious feelings and thoughts.
Take for example a situation in which you have had a terrible day at work. On your way home you put your favorite CD into your car’s CD player and you can instantly feel yourself relax as you listen to your favorite song.
Songs and lyrics act very much like personal affirmations. Some songs contain very powerful lyrics and even though we might not realize the meaning of the lyric itself, our mind picks out the tune and we start repeating that specific line to ourselves over and over again.
Therefore, pay special attention to the type of music that you feel drawn to as well as the lyrics that you are singing along with or that have become ‘stuck’ in your mind. Are those the words and phrases that you want in your life right now?
Affirmations are very powerfully uplifting phrases that are usually repeated several times a day. The purpose is to help a person’s psyche manifest certain results which they desire in their life.
Affirmations that are sung or chanted are even more powerful than words that are just boringly repeated over and over again. Even Saint Augustine once said: “Those who sing pray twice.”
In fact, throughout the world’s different religions and cultures, music, song and chanting all play a vital part in praising the divine, from Buddhist Monks and Christian hymns to Wiccan chanting and Hindu mantra’s.
Instrumental sounds and music also have the ability to help a person heal from emotional and mental wounds. Research has proven that children who listen to classical music have a masked improvement in their ability to learn new concepts than those children who do not.
Other instruments such as Tibetan and Himalayan singing bowls, crystal bowls, bells and gongs from the East have now made their beneficial abilities known to Westerners too. Listening to the sounds that these instruments emit helps to open up and balance the chakra’s and creates harmony in a person’s energy field.
Singing bowls were around nearly 4000 years ago in Nepal where mastering the ability to heal with sound was the highest level of initiation for a Monk. Some Historians believe that there is evidence of singing bowls being used in India 3,000 years ago and 1,000 years ago in Tibet. The healing ability of the bowls then spread to India, China, Japan and other Asian countries.
Originally, the singing bowls were consisted of either five, seven, or nine metals including gold, silver, copper, tin, mercury, and iron. Today, however, singing bowls are created by pouring metal into a cast which makes the bowls smoother and easier to play.
It is very easy to play a singing bowl: simply circle the wooden stick around the edge of the bowl in a steady slow motion. Eventually a delicate hum will start emanate from the bowl.
Singing bowls are usually used as a mediation aid, as well as a musical accent in a yoga or tai chi class. Just as in Tibet, singing bowls can be used for other purposes such as an offering bowl or as a beautiful decoration when not being played.
No matter what type of music we listen to, we are all susceptible to the sounds in our environment – whether we realize it or not. So be sure that the sounds that you listen to are sounds that are beneficial to your overall wellbeing.
Photo Credit: k4dordy
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Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan