In the realm of healing techniques, sound work inhabits a curious space. It has been used for thousands of years—think of overtone chanting from Central Asia, for example—yet, it’s also on the frontiers of modern neuroscience.
Joshua Leeds, the author of The Power of Sound and an expert in the field of psychoacoustics, the study of the effects of sound on the human nervous system, explains how sound works by:
…creating a frequency and vibration for someone that’s conducive for him or her to heal. Sound healing is trending up. It’s like where yoga was 15 years ago. People are realizing that sound is a viable medium to address distress, enhance learning, even work with an autistic child.
Much of the current work is based on the early 70s research of biophysicist Gerald Oster. Oster showed that when a tone is played in one ear and a slightly different tone is played in the other ear, the difference causes the brain to create a third, internal tone, called a binaural beat. The theory is that this syncs the brain waves in both hemispheres, a process dubbed “brain-wave entrainment”.
Carol Moore, marketing director of Monroe Products, which makes Hemi-Sync verbal meditations and music that contain embedded binaural beats, says:
When the brain is in synchronicity, there’s more focus. Our sleep titles help drop you into the deep delta waves. Electrical activity in the brain gets slowed down.
Recovery from Serious Illness
Some of the products are designed to help people recover from a stroke or surgery, deal with chronic pain, or become more relaxed while undergoing chemotherapy.
You might envision the drugs as a love potion, rather than poison.
She describes it as creating a state where you can say, ‘This is coming into my body to heal me, not to do damage to me’.
The Synchronicity of Sound
Brain-wave entrainment isn’t without its skeptics, but some research supports it. In 2008, the journal Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine published a review of 20 studies of brain-wave entrainment and patient outcomes. The conclusion was that brain-wave entrainment is an effective tool to use on cognitive functioning deficits, stress, pain, headaches, and premenstrual syndrome.
The studies also suggest that sound work can help with behavioral problems. Bill Harris, who created Holosync products, says:
Different brain-wave patterns affect emotions.
Raising the Vibration
His system uses sounds like rain and crystal bowls—there’s no beat or melody—with a pulsing tone underneath. He also uses custom affirmations, which people record in their own voices.
You’re practicing going into a brain-wave pattern. It causes the brain to organize at a more complex level. It takes what you can handle emotionally and intellectually and pushes it higher. I’m not claiming this cures cancer. But it does have a profound effect on people’s physical health. A lot of people come to us for chronic pain, irritable bowel syndrome, psoriasis, things that are exacerbated by stress.
Music for Healing
Sound can increase immunity and treat insomnia, according to Jamie Bechtold, a Los Angeles-based sound healer. She says that:
Most people come to me for stress and anxiety.
For woes like pulled muscles, colds, and headaches, Bechtold uses tuning forks on acupuncture points, and also combines gong performances with yoga classes.
I’ve seen back muscles that are spasming completely relax using this vibration. Recorded music is fine, but with live music you can feel it. The floor is vibrating. The sound waves are bouncing all over the place.
Elevating with Frequencies
Jeffrey Thompson, founder of the Center for Neuroacoustic Research, says different frequencies target the various densities in the body. He uses a vibroacoustic sound therapy table.
As the frequencies slow down, from 500 to 400 hertz (a hertz is one cycle per second), you feel it more in your muscles, then your joints, then in your bones. We can give a vibrational massage, down all the way to your cells. I can do cranial work with sound, work on organs. You’re finding frequencies to elevate the body’s cells to a super-healing state, rebuilding more tissue.
According to Leeds, the future of sound will be frequency medicine:
There’s more on sound science than ever before. We know what is happening molecularly. What we think of as sound healing will be called frequency medicine.
I love learning. I have studied the Bible for more than 40 years. Did you know that in the book of Job, through divine understanding, the author states that stars sing? No one at that time understood the science behind sound vibrations. Yet, recently astrophysicists have discovered stars and planets do indeed emit vibrations! Job was written approximately 4000 years ago and is the oldest book in the Bible. I believe everything we need has been generously provided for us by a loving and merciful God. He gave us His Son, Jesus, as a way to know Him. We can be renewed in Him. By Him all things hold together. One day He will restore His creation to what it was originally intended to be, vanquishing all evil and sin so harmful and destructive to us, to others and to the earth. Imagine a world with no abuse, disease, greed, lies. I have written a book that explains why we know the Bible can be trusted. “Youth Truth ” by Kathleen Wood is available in ebook or paperback at barnesandnoble.com or amazon.com.
my mom told me that I never moved once in her womb. She thought I was still born. Until he heard me cry when the doctor slapped me.
How does the day of our birth enter into the equation? I am very interested. My cousin tunes pianos and is very much into sound therapy. How do one find their sound that will heal them? I love certain songs. And fall in love with people’s voices. I hate the sound of a crying baby. It deeply upsets me. Jesus spoke the universe into being. So sound is vital.
and what about the research on Chakras and how there is a note of the scale that is related to each Chakra. Each chakra pertains to certain qualities, does anyone have more information on this? I have been using the guitar string of the note for each chakra that I listen to which I just recorded right onto my phone and I listen to affirmations that are related to each chakra. I would like to incorporate this into my meditations more fully but would like to research this concept more. Does anyone have any more resources about this?
i just watched a ted talk that said they are finding help with things like fibromyalgia, parkinsons, and other issues with a tone at 40hz. i’d like to hear what anyone thinks of this low tone. i have heard much higher frequencies are effective but he said that 40hz is what the body is in tune with.
Problem is that at 440HZ it is not therapeutic and healing.
It has only been standardised to this frequency after the war.
Prior to this there was a variety of tunings that were beneficial.
This frequency was promoted by the Nazis in WW2
When my sons were little and started squabbling, I would just put some music on and the entire mood would change within minutes. The best one was a CD of Classical Guitar pieces. I used music a lot to help me raise those boys and they will hopefully do the same. The only way we gould make music better is if we could add scent.
Thank you for this article…I just saw it & its truly wonderful to hear about the healing properties of using sound.
I am a master percussionist from Philadelphia whose performed or recorded with a variety of artists. Since moving to Los Angeles a few years ago, I created my Healing Sound Therapy.
I totally understand how sound can heal…I’ve been doing it since I started performing years ago.
Whenever one attends a concert, they are healed.
So, thank you for bringing sound healing into focus.
We all need it!
I healed myself with the support of Gong Baths, overtones and light language – the key is to allow your body to level up with them and let go of lower frequencies 🙂
Yes! Tuning forks are wonderful tools for beautiful music and for healing, stress relief, balancing, energizing and wellness. http://www.swb256.com/swb256-shop/
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Very interesting to hear more and more information on sound and its healing properties being presented. Frequencies have so much power, I think we are still on the brink of the true information on what sound and vibrations can do to our body. I am excited to see how much more info they will come to find out about sound over the next decade. How it has so many uses and can help heal our body’s and mind’s.
Thank you for the article, great read!
hey… i read the sound the earth makes in space, may activate the hidden code in the dna for Ascension
Well written article on sound and vibration healing! Thank you for using Eastern Vibration’s photo http://www.easternvibration.com (the singing bowl with vibrations. Please credit the photo ~ Namaste
What about if music is derived from date of birth? Can this kind of vibration alter the healing effect? Any thoughts anyone? Thank you. may good things keep hsppening.