Everything You Need To Know About Sound Healing
(Shared with permission from MindValley.com)
The word is emotive. Its etymology comes from the Greek “Art of the Muses,” the goddesses who embodied and inspired art, literature, and knowledge of mankind. Music was never invented or discovered, but something innate in us all. It comes as no surprise then, that for centuries, sound healing has been used as a therapy to cure many ailments. We use music for entertainment, expression, celebration, ceremony, leisure, and communication. Whether we are musically inclined or not, it is the one thing that truly connects humans from all cultures, creeds, and corners of the earth. We play music at our weddings to celebrate love, and at funerals to say goodbye. We listen when we are bored, and dance to it when we want to have fun. And we sing praises and worship with it. But most importantly, we use music for healing.
Can Sound Waves Heal You?
Almost everything we experience in the universe is simply our perception of waves. 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 triggers certain impulses. Although research on how music changes our brains is lacking, there is evidence to suggest that musicians have different brains than those who are not musically inclined.
Research has shown that the brains of musicians are more symmetrical. And that the parts of the brain responsible for motor and cognitive functioning, coordination, and reasoning, are significantly larger. And thanks to an enlarged corpus callosum, the two hemispheres of the brain have better communication. In neurological studies, it has been proven that listening to music makes us more productive and creative. It can relieve stress and improves our moods.
This is because listening to music floods our brains with dopamine. It also releases oxytocin, a natural painkiller, and hormone that allows us to bond with others. In fact, oxytocin is most commonly found in mothers during labor. Music also helps language development and improves communication. It’s even been shown to increase our IQs, so it’s safe to say that music makes us smarter. It improves our memory too, warding off brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s. Music is powerful. It can change our brains, and so it changes our bodies.
What Are The Benefits Of Sound Healing?
When listening to upbeat or cheery music, or when listening to deep, melancholy songs, our emotions flare and we can better process our feelings. The difference is that we only care to listen to sad songs when we are feeling sad because (and here’s the kicker) we know it makes us feel better. A 2006 study done by the Journal of Advanced Nursing discovered that those who listen to music feel less pain and experiences less anxiety than those who don’t. Since sounds come at different frequencies and we too emit our own waves, healing with sound happens by matching frequencies to those that are conducive to healing and relaxation. A study in the 1970s proposed that when one tone is played to one ear, and a different tone is played to the other, the two hemispheres of the brain connect and create a third (internal) tone called a binaural beat. Binaural beats synchronize the brain, providing clarity, alertness, and greater concentration. It’s solid evidence that our brains and bodies respond to sound in both a cognitive and physical way. So, let’s say you have a headache. A sound can be played that will override the pain brainwaves.
Or, let’s say you’re in a bad mood after a poor night’s sleep. Playing a relaxing song might lift your spirits and help you forget you’re aggravated. Sounds and songs also elicit memories retrieval, and this can be used to help patients who are traumatized or depressed. There are a number of methods, instruments, and techniques for using sound therapy. But at its foundation is the premise of entrainment.
Effects of sound healing
Entrainment is a method of synchronizing our brainwaves by producing a stable, solid frequency that our brains adjust to and then match. Healing with sound can improve or cure many ailments including:
It can also bring about:
Clarity and balance
Improved memory and concentration
A stronger immune system
Heightened awareness, both of the self and the environment
There are various and numerous types of music therapy out there. Some are more scientific, while others are more spiritual.
However, they each share the same common ground in which sounds are the basis of healing and development.