The positive influences that music has on our health have been known in many cultures for hundreds of years. Even today, music therapy is not infrequently a component of psychotherapeutic treatments. Sound Healing, however, goes one step further. Here we are mainly concerned with the resulting sound waves that are emitted when playing a gong or a singing bowl and are perceived by our body. This particular form of music can therefore also have a very special healing effect on us. In this article we would like to explain in more detail what Sound Healing is about and how it can improve your well-being.
The history of sound healing
Sound Healing, also known as sound healing, goes back to a very long tradition in numerous cultures. The first references to possible sound healing already appear in Greek mythology: Apollo, the god of music and medicine, combined the glorious sounds of the world with mystical rituals to heal people, animals and gods in this way. Asclepius, the son of Apollo, also cured psychological ailments with music, according to tradition.
Of course, much more earthly evidence can be found that sound healing was an integral part of earlier cultures. In the writings of famous philosophers, including Plato and Aristotle, there are repeated references to how music can influence and carry our emotions. A tribe of indigenous people in the Amazon, the Icaro, hummed deep-voiced mantras during many rituals, which spread throughout the continent due to their meditative effect. And even the ancient Egyptians created something with their vocal sound chants that is closely related to our understanding of sound healing today.
Sound Healing was therefore an important part of everyday human life many millennia ago and is slowly finding its way back into society in our western regions as well.
What is sound healing?
Sound healing aims to use musical sounds to bring about an improvement in a patient’s emotional, physical, psychological or mental state of health. However, sound healing is not a firmly defined term, because each person has his or her own approach to musical relaxation.
Sound Healing with gongs or singing bowls is mainly about perceiving the sound waves that penetrate not only our hearing, but also the muscles, organs, bones and our nervous system. Even a single musician in an orchestra who plays his instrument in the wrong beat can throw the entire piece of music out of balance – and the same is true for our bodies. If we are plagued by everyday stress, worries or upsets, the human body loses its inner harmony. This is exactly where Sound Healing comes in and can help us to find our inner balance again and thus experience a moment of peace.
Facets of sound healing
Sound healing is also good as a relaxation technique. In addition to classical sound healing, for which gongs and singing bowls are used, musical therapy can also take on completely different facets: In sound healing, patients can not only listen, but also sing along, create their own pieces of music, play an instrument themselves, or meditate during sound play. Each person is a unique individual and so sound healing should also be customized to the wishes and needs of the individual.
How does sound healing work?
In Sound Healing, musical sound waves in particular play a role, penetrating the body and flooding it with a sense of calm. To symbolize this, you can take a look at the water: Even a single sound can cause a lake to form waves and start moving. Sounds are transported four times faster over water than over air – think, for example, of whale songs, which sound intense and benevolent to us because of the structure of the water. The human body also consists of around 70% water. Therefore, we also benefit from the effect of sound waves used in sound healing. The vibrations created by a gong or the melodic playing of the singing bowl can therefore have an immediate impact on our well-being.
What are the types of sound healing?
In Sound Healing, what feels good is good. Especially in the musical field, individual preferences and wishes are as varied as people themselves. Therefore, there are also countless variations of sound healing.
Sound Healing with gongs and singing bowls
Probably the most traditional and classical form of Sound Healing is performed with the gong. Completely different types of gongs and gong mallets or gong drivers can be used. The interplay of very deep, dark tones and bright, lively notes makes the gong a popular instrument for sound healing. The intensity of the emitted sound waves is also particularly high here, which can increase the effect on our body many times over. In Sound Healing with Gong, people benefit primarily from the meditative effect created by the interplay of the different tones. The gong is considered a soothing instrument that provides calm and serenity. The same is true for sound healing with singing bowls, which provide a moment of relaxation with somewhat more subtle tones.
Different methods of sound healing
Over the years, various approaches to methods of sound healing have been established. You should always decide for yourself which one you can identify with and feel comfortable with:
In the Bonny method, sound is combined with the presentation of images. Patients need to focus on both influences, and can access their inner imbalance.
This method is often used with young people to improve the development of children and adolescents. Here one relies on a combination of rhythm and expression to strengthen cognitive and motor functions.
The classic form of meditation is the mantra. Here the therapist does not use any instruments, but only his voice. By repeatedly chanting certain mantras, often expressed in the form of a hypnotic chant, the listener enters a meditative state. This is said to bring several positive effects on human health at once – including improved sleep, lowering blood pressure and reducing stress.
Neurological sound healing
This form of Sound Healing is based on scientific findings. The positive influence of music and the joy triggered by making one’s own music appeals to certain areas in the brain and thus has neurological effects on the patient’s health.
Again, this is primarily a scientific approach. This method is mainly used for patients with developmental disorders and mental illnesses. The hypothesis is that every person has a unique sense of music. In the Nordoff-Robins method, the goal is to foster this sense so that people with autism, depression, learning disabilities, or other mental disorders can express their feelings. This form of sound healing is also frequently used in cases of severe trauma.
Trunk frequency entrainment
This form of sound healing relates to our innermost being. It is assumed that each soul has its own frequency range, which is to be addressed by the certain sounds. Stress in everyday life and the noise of the outside world are said to have negative effects on this frequency. This is counteracted with the help of stem frequency entrainment.
Singing bowl therapy
Singing bowls were used centuries ago to achieve a meditative state. Gentle tones are said to soothe the soul and help release inner anxiety and stress. In this form of sound healing, the combination of sound and meditation plays a very important role. Singing bowl meditations have a special effect on your well-being.
Tuning fork therapy
The sound waves that play such an important role in sound healing are delivered directly to the body during tuning fork therapy. To do this, the therapist places the tuning fork on certain parts of the body and produces gentle sounds that are immediately transmitted to the body. In this way, the sound waves of the music can be targeted at specific positions to have a positive effect on the body – for example, in the case of tension, headaches or everyday stress.
Also in this form of sound healing, the therapist directly introduces the sounds to the patient. For this purpose, the patient lies down on a specially prepared couch around which loudspeakers have been positioned. The sounds are intended to penetrate the body in such a targeted way as to have a positive effect on well-being.
What can sound healing do?
The possible effects of Sound Healing on our body are manifold. Studies have shown that listening to music can help relieve pain and reduce anxiety. However, which music is well suited for this purpose always depends on the individual – therefore, it is not possible to say in general terms which instruments achieve the desired effect.
Each sound has its own frequency and and the human body reacts to them very differently. Therefore, within the framework of sound therapy, it should always be tried out which tones achieve the desired effect. Sound healing is therefore a very individual approach that always focuses on the person.
Sound therapy can help with many problems:
- Stress in everyday life
- Limb pain
- Developmental Disabilities
- Learning Disabilities
- Physical pain
- Memory problems
- Sleep problems
- Weak immune system
Sound healing can also help with many other illnesses, as it contributes to an improved sense of well-being and thus also strengthens the body’s healing powers.
Which instruments are suitable for sound healing?
There are really no limits to your imagination here, because almost any instrument can be used for sound healing, as long as the vibrations suit the respective person. Nevertheless, over the centuries, some instruments have emerged with which Sound Healing shows particularly effective results. But beware: professional sound healing requires many years of training. Only experienced therapists should resort to the effectiveness of sounds to give their patients peace and well-being.
These instruments are considered particularly effective in sound healing:
- Singing bowl
- Indian and pan flutes
- Tuning fork
- Wind Chimes / Chimes
- Shruti boxes / harmonium
- Voice / Singing
The most traditional instrument for sound healing is the gong. Therefore, in a separate blog post we have listed for you once again exactly the advantages of sound therapy with gongs and also go into detail about how such therapy can be performed.