Sound healing is a practice that uses the vibrations from various instruments to relax the mind and body. You might find a sound healing event at your local yoga studio (or at Inspiring Actions!) or notice it’s a service offered at a holistic wellness business. I see a reiki healer who utilizes sound healing in her sessions, and there are countless sound therapy videos available online.
So what is it, and can sound actually heal us? In today’s post we’ll learn what sound healing is, what it can help with, and what it’s like. We have a sound healing event coming up at Inspiring Actions at our Hudson location on July 10th! For more info on our Healing Sound Bath event and to reserve your spot, click here!
What is Sound Healing
Sound healing involves instruments like singing bowls or gongs, in either a one-on-one session like with my reiki healer, or in a group setting like at our upcoming event. Proponents and researchers say sound healing can realign our brainwaves to a state of homeostasis, and the resulting relaxation can improve things like anxiety and insomnia. Some research even suggests that sound can improve physical things like cholesterol and blood pressure.
The frequency from sound causes a shift in our brainwave using entrainment, a law of physics. Entrainment in terms of sound healing is the process of using external stimuli, such as light or sound, to bring brainwaves into harmony that are otherwise out of sync.
Entrainment from sound offers a stable frequency our brainwaves can attune to rather than jumping all around, much like using an anchor, or focal point, in meditation. The resulting balance can positively affect the rest of the systems of the body.
Sound healing is a lot like meditation in that it encourages us to turn inward and temporarily shut out the outside world to give our minds and bodies a much-needed break and opportunity to recharge. Giving ourselves a break mentally is a good idea all by itself but using that time to bring our minds to deep states of relaxation and meditation is even better.
What Can Sound Healing Help Improve
A lot of the benefits of sound healing mimic those of meditation. They can be thought of as indirect results of a more balanced system and in-sync system. Yogic philosophy talks a lot about how both our physical and mental health are affected by the balance in our systems, and how most ailments we experience can be traced back to an imbalance or blockage somewhere that is disrupting the natural flow of energy within us.
Sound healing can restore balance to the way the frequencies in our brain fluctuate. Researchers and proponents of sound healing say it can help with issues like anxiety and insomnia, and even improve our concentration. Here are a few other things sound healing has been shown to help with:
- Access deeper levels of meditation
- Stress reduction/anxiety
- Lower cholesterol
- Lower blood pressure
What is a Sound Healing Session Like
Sound healing sessions will be unique to the facilitator, but most will incorporate tools like singing bowls, gongs, drums, and tuning forks. Whether you’re doing a one-on-one healing session or are part of a group setting, the practice might begin with a breathing exercise, or some other relaxation technique. This is similar to how you would begin a meditation session; in fact, people who struggle with meditation might find sound healing helpful because the sound provides a constant anchor.
In a sound healing session, you will likely be laying down and will be encouraged to get as comfortable as possible. As you begin to fall into a state of relaxation, the facilitator will start playing their instruments in whatever order they have planned or what they feel compelled to play based on the energy they’re receiving from you. The idea is that the frequencies from the sound their instruments are creating stimulates our brainwaves and aligns them where they are otherwise in fluctuation.
Everyone’s experience will be unique, but it’s very common to fall into a state of meditation or to experience what might be called a lucid dream. There may also be a sense of calm, like the problems you had coming into the session are no longer that important. As the instruments or tones change, your experience may change.
This is where letting go and surrendering to the experience can be really helpful. Our minds are not computers. They are both the physical and subtle manifestations of the energy that creates all things, and they have much to teach us on a subconscious level.
When we let go during a sound healing experience, we are essentially letting the brain do its thing, allowing it to rebalance itself and bring the body back to a state of homeostasis.
Sound healing is mostly a passive experience, but some participation in terms of focused relaxation and breathing can be helpful. At the beginning of the session it will take some time for your to relax and begin to slip into meditation, but once you’ve started to relax, the sounds of the instruments will begin to guide the experience.
Sound healing is related to music therapy, and there is a lot more research on the latter. Music therapy is typically something designed to help with specific physical ailments, whereas the focus in sound healing is restoring homeostasis in the brain and our bodily systems.
Sound therapy is increasing in popularity as new research shows its benefits. Studies on the topic are increasing however, and the results consistently show that sound healing can be beneficial to our health. At the very least, a sound healing session will undoubtably result in deep relaxation and an overall sense of calm. If you’re interested in the research, click here for a study that focuses specifically on singing bowls and their effect on mood, tension and well-being.
Have you had a sound healing experience? If so, comment below and tell us what it was like! If you haven’t, we invite you to join us at our Hudson Inspiring Actions location on July 10th for our sound healing event, and check our schedule for future events!