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The Healing Power of Sound

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The Healing Power of Sound

By Karen Olson, Experience Life

Sound can set a mood. The soundtrack in aerobics class gets us moving, for example, while the one in yoga promotes quiet concentration. Sound also has a powerful effect on how we feel throughout the day. Our bodies and minds react differently to the unrelenting noise of a jackhammer than to a trickle of water in a creek.

In other words, some sounds simply make us feel better than others. Whether our conscious minds are paying attention or not, our bodies take their cues from these sounds and rhythms, knowing when to get energized and when to slow down.

Now, a growing body of research suggests that when used in a directed way, sound can also help us reduce stress, create a deep sense of well-being and even promote healing. From playing Bach in the nursery to yogic chanting in the oncologist’s office, sound therapy is gaining popularity as both a preventative medicine and as a complement to more-traditional treatments. Good for both the mind and the body, it has been shown to help lift depression, clear sinuses and help cancer patients recover more quickly from chemotherapy.

Good Vibrations
The idea that sound affects the health of the mind and body is not new. Chanting and mantra recitation have been part of Hindu spirituality and the healing power of yoga for thousands of years. Given the recent interest in mind-body medicine, it’s not surprising that this ancient tradition is experiencing a modern-day renaissance.

So what, exactly, is it?

Using the human voice and objects that resonate to stimulate healing (think tuning forks and singing bowls), sound therapy is one of a growing number of subtle-energy therapies that make up the field of vibrational medicine. According to the law of physics, everything vibrates: the chair you’re sitting in, the food you eat, the rocks and trees.

“Whether or not we hear it, everything has a sound, a vibration all its own,” writes Joshua Leeds in The Power of Sound (Healing Arts Press, 2001).

That sound is called resonance, the frequency at which an object naturally vibrates. Each part of our bodies has its own natural resonance, and vibrational medicine is based on the idea that disease is a result of those natural resonances getting out of tune whether due to stress, illness or environmental factors.

As opposed to the highly focused and fast vibrations used in ultrasound (a technology already employed in hospitals to break up kidney stones and check on the health of fetuses, for example), sound therapy works more gently but just as powerfully to return the body’s own vibrations to their natural states.

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Megan, selected from Experience Life

Experience Life magazine is an award-winning health and fitness publication that aims to empower people to live their best, most authentic lives, and challenges the conventions of hype, gimmicks and superficiality in favor of a discerning, whole-person perspective. Visit experiencelife.com to learn more and to sign up for the Experience Life newsletter, or to subscribe to the print or digital version.

71 comments

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7:25AM PDT on Aug 7, 2012

Being totally into sound and music, i really know the healing power of sound!
- when we're not feeling well, for example repetitive sighs or groans can have a positive effect on us, as it's resonance makes us feel better...in the same way a cat's purr does!
Drums, singing bowls, chants are all examples of things that can have a profound effect on us, through their vibrational frequencies! i go into trance right away when exposed to these, or do them myself. i also use binaural and even tripnaural frequencies to heal myself and re-balance chakras, stimulate the pineal, get in tune with heart or earth frequency, etc. (for use with good earphones) - there are many on the net to check out....
Powerful stuff!!!
Thanks Megan!

11:24PM PDT on Jul 5, 2011

And in the 60's there was this talk about vibrations, and then we spoke of people giving "vibes". Suppose all this came from the conscious discovery of sounds affecting us!

Thanks for the article.

4:33PM PDT on May 14, 2011

My music soothes me. I agree with the article.

8:52AM PST on Dec 25, 2010

Nothing is more soothing than the voice of the people I love. That even includes my parrot!

2:31AM PDT on Sep 24, 2010

Thank you!

2:23AM PST on Mar 9, 2010

Sound is good----use it in a positive manner---you will get an interesting result!

12:50PM PST on Mar 8, 2010

Sound is absolutely healing! Playing a drum has helped me deal with pain, meditate and de-stress!

3:45PM PST on Feb 24, 2010

very interesting. thanks!

7:02PM PST on Feb 17, 2010

Music and chanting can calm me down in about 5 minutes. I also really want a singing bowl because they are absolutely amazing!

6:47PM PST on Feb 17, 2010

great post

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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