There is a wellness revolution taking place in America. More than ever, people are opening their minds to new ways of eating, healing, and delving into deeper meaning and understanding. Organic foods, yoga, meditation and mindfulness have begun to play an important role in the lives of many. And as awareness continues to expand and grow, different modalities are beginning to rise to the surface. One of the most intriguing of these is sound healing.
Although its popularity has only begun to grow in the past few years with sound baths selling out in cities like New York and Los Angeles, sound healing is not a new practice. In fact, it has been an important part of many cultures for thousands of years. While each culture used, and continues to use, sound in different ways, they all utilized its healing properties for the same end, to create balance and harmony in the physical, mental and emotional bodies. Sound can be used to rebalance the nervous system, boost the immune system, reduce inflammation, increase circulation, and balance the right and left sides of the brain creating a state of calm. Many people describe feeling a natural “high” after having a session.
In order to get a deeper understanding of the healing modality that’s piquing such interest, I tapped the founder of Wholistic Sound, Rosemary Warburton, a sound healing practitioner who has been studying and practicing for over 25 years. Here’s what she had to say.
So how exactly does sound healing work? Sound healing works primarily through the principles of entrainment and resonant frequency. Entrainment is the natural process of a rhythmic pattern, which induces other organisms to fall into the same rhythm. An obvious example would be when we hear music and begin to clap our hands or tap our feet to the rhythm. However, entrainment can be used in subtler ways as well. In sound therapy, it may be used to entrain brainwaves to a slower rhythm, in order to bring about a state of deep relaxation.
Every object is vibrating—the rate at which it vibrates is its resonant frequency. Think of the body like a symphony orchestra with all parts (muscles, bones, organs, cells, etc.) having their own frequencies which, when healthy, are all in perfect rhythm and harmony. When the body systems become compromised due to physical or emotional causes, certain frequencies are affected and literally become out of tune. Just as in an orchestra, when one instrument is out of tune, nothing sounds right! Everything is affected. With sound therapy, utilizing various instruments and tones, the body is gently brought back to its natural state of harmony.
How is sound therapy administered? There are many forms of sound therapy, including vocal toning and chanting, the use of mantra, individual and group sound baths using acoustic instruments such as gongs, flutes, and Himalayan and crystal singing bowls which may be used together or individually. Other sound therapies include drum therapy, re-patterning with tuning forks and VibroAcoustic Sound Therapy, in which music is introduced to the body through a massage table or reclining chair with speakers built into it. All of these forms of sound therapy can be used individually, or in any number of combinations. It can also be used to complement other therapies.
What makes sound healing so special? Because the relaxation response is triggered so quickly, this modality offers the opportunity to go very deep, very fast and provides an opportunity to clear issues on many levels—physical, mental, and emotional. The only work the client really has to do is get clear about their intention. After that, the natural processes of vibration, entrainment, and resonant frequency allow stuck energies and traumas to be released and the body reorganizes itself accordingly.
The reason sound is so healing is because we are sound, as is the world around us. We are resonating, pulsating, vibrating beings. Water is one of the best conductors of sound and we are 70 percent water. When we say we “resonate” with something, it’s not just a figure of speech. That is the absolute truth. When we feel something in our bones, or in our gut, that is an example of the power of frequency and our ability to literally “tune into it” and identify it. It is a natural ability, the result of our physiology. There is nothing magical about it. It is who and what we are.
Bianca Connolly is a freelance writer who covers travel, wellness, fashion and food. She’s a big fan of meditation, swimming in the ocean and drinking tea. Follow her on Instagram: @biancagrace