The Healing Power of Sound
The Yoga of Sound is also known as Nada Yoga a Sanskrit word that means sound. Though the practice of Nada Yoga is not one specific practice it covers a wide range of practical exercises. Some practices include vocal play, singing, sounding the Indian scales and mantras. Part of Nada Yoga is learning to fine-tune your ability to listen to audible and inaudible sounds, which is an aspect of subtle vibration.
Overview of Sound Healing
From the beginning of time, all Indigenous and ancient cultures all over the world have used the element of sound. These Peoples have employed sound for healing, invoking spirits, ceremony and transforming consciousness. Some of the methods used have been with the voice, rattles and drums among many other instruments. Sound is the essence of creation. Many ancient traditions believed that sound created the universe. Sound was considered to be the vehicle that moved and created energy. The Christian Bible quotes, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”( John 1:1). From India’s Vedic scriptures comes the term Nada Brahma which means, “the primal sound of being creating the word Aum.”Everything you see with your eyes has a vibration and creates a sound. We are unable to hear all the sounds at once, due to our limited hearing capacity.
All things in life vibrate due to the movement of electrons and protons of every atom, molecule and substance. Quantum Mechanics has proven that the substance of matter is vibration and nothing solid exists in the universe. Matter is simply a collection of vibrating waves of energy. Anything that vibrates produces a sound; some we can hear and some we cannot. The vibration creates a phenomenon referred to as waveforms. On a cellular level, our bodies are composed of a nucleus surrounded by endlessly rotating waves of energy. When we hear a noise in our environment we are really experiencing these waves occurring at a certain frequency: the number of sound waves per second. Frequency is expressed in cycles per second, a measurement called Hertz. Each Hertz measurements can be thought of as pulses of sound. The higher the sound frequency, the faster the waves are moving. Everything living thing, human or animal, holds a vibrational frequency. This may be expressed by some by having an instant “good vibe” or “bad vibes” when meeting another person. We usually do not see this energy with our eyes yet everyone has experienced this subtle level of communication. Sound has the potential to be healing, nourishing food for our mind, body and soul.
Certain music and sound stimulate and charges the neo-cortex with electrical impulses. Particular sounds make it easy for us to relax which then influences the para-sympathetic nervous system, assisting our body into homeostasis. The opposite effect can also occur with disruptive sounds, influencing the sympathetic nervous system which brings stress to all systems of the body. A jackhammer sound has a different response to the body then classical music. Nada yogis incorporate the full spectrum of frequencies, both those that are audible to the human ear and those that are inaudible, within the field of their yoga practice. This means that all forms of earthly music, the sounds of space, and even the entire electromagnetic spectrum of frequencies are included within this range of perception.
The auditory system is connected to every muscle in the body, interacts with the cranial nerves that send information to and from the brain and maintains balance and harmony within.
When we make a vibrational sound the sound wave transforms into information that is transported into molecules within the body. This is the stage when a disease can be healed or created with in the body. It is important to note that our thoughts also hold a vibrational frequency that can harm or heal the body. Our emotions flow in one of two ways: when there is an expansive sensation, this makes us feel good, activating positive vibrations of coherence such as love, appreciation or gratitude. Transversely, negative vibrations are feelings also known as incoherence which is recognized as a sensation of contraction such as fear, hate or guilt. Thoughts and feelings transfer from our emotional body into our physical. When we direct our thoughts, feelings and words with consciousness awareness into positive vibration this helps guide our life by attracting people, events and situations of a positive nature. The same happens if we choose to dilute our life with negative thoughts, people and entertainment. If you can imagine it in your mind then you can believe it to be true. Our suppressed emotions are stored in the body in formless energy centers known as Chakras until we are ready to open these areas and look at what we are holding or suppressing. The human body is a bio-electric system that can be altered, strengthened and balanced by vibration, be that the vibration of our positive or negative thoughts, words, emotions, the use of our voice, musical instruments, Tibetan/ crystal bowls, the sound of the ocean, or birds singing. Sound effects our whole nervous system. Whatever the modality of vibration there will be a shift inside the physical and energetic body that can heal or harm. The process begins with your thoughts as they vibrate- this is why intention is so important as it has the power to break up, replace, alter or strengthen cells within the body. There is the potential to create balance or disorder depending on the thoughts you hold. The vibration of your thoughts actually emanates from your personal energy field.
Sound is a carrier wave for intentions
Using sound with an intention (energy travelling in the direction of your thoughts) directs sound waves that go into the body to heal, transform, and transmute energy. Sound and vibration effects everyone individually based on their spiritual connections and emotional body as well as previous and present life experiences. What sounds good to one person may not sound good to another. More people are starting to awaken and realize that their lives can be changed, that we have the power to change simply through the vehicle of choice and the desire to create. One can reform old limited belief patterns and conditioning through the use of sound, positive thoughts and intention. We create with words and sound. Words are powerful as they can harm or heal another person. Almost all our actions and reactions result from words. Beneath these words are the vibrations of the tone upon which they travel. Tone, a form of sound, is the underlying force operating in our lives. A sound healing session helps to transform trapped and suppressed emotions, traumas or fears that are stored unaddressed within the body’s cells, tissues, organs and bones. When sounds go into different parts of the body the vibration fused with our intention assists in breaking up the cellular structure of trapped energy in the cells. Some of the sound tools used are Didgeridoo, flute, Tibetan bowls, tuning forks, drum, and voice (mantras, over toning organic sounds) played on the various acupressure points of the body A sound healing session assists you into realignment balance, and harmony. Sound healing sessions can be powerful, transformative, relaxing and healing
Benefits of Sound Healing Nada Yoga
- Greater awareness and presence through deep listening practices
- Deeper breath for improved health
- Transforms stuck emotions
- Releases endorphins (the brain’s “feel good” chemicals)
- increased energy (Sounding moves inner pranic energy & increases your
- Builds your confidence to express and communicate more freely
- Expanded consciousness, creating new neurological networks in the brain
- Improved communication
- Stronger speaking/ teaching voice
- Quiets inner chatter and thoughts
- Deeper meditations
Sound Healing Tools
- Singing Bowls
- Crystal Bowls
- Tuning Forks
- The Didgeridoo
- The Human Voice
- Toning and the Body
- The Nervous System
The Singing Bowls, also know as Tibetan bowls, originated in the pre-Buddhist Shamanic Bon Po culture of the Himalayas. These mysterious and powerful bowls produce a rich sonic vibration that alter mind, space, and time. They are a great tool used for healing and meditation. Singing bowls have been produced in India, Bhutan, Sikkim, China, Burma, Nepal, Mongolia, and Afghanistan. There is not a lot of recorded information about these powerful sound tools. Traditionally they were made with seven metal alloys; some bowls having three metal alloys and as many as twelve metals, with the addition of meteorite, precious, and semi-precious stones. The seven common metals are gold, silver, mercury, copper, iron, tin, and lead. Each of the metals corresponds to a different planet that emanates at a different frequency. The frequency of sound with each singing bowl is uniquely different. There are many factors involved that affect the sound. For example, which metals created the bowl; the size of bowl; the size of mallet used to strike the bowl; and if it is played alone or simultaneously with other bowls. One thing is certain: Singing bowls have a great effect on the mind, body, and soul. The sounds of the bowls awaken cellular memory and permeate the aura with healing energy.
Listening to also balance the right and left hemispheres of the brain Singing bowls, as well as metal gongs, have a powerful effect on healing the body. In the U.S.A., some medical doctors are working with the power of sound using the singing bowls and gongs on their patients to assist with the removal of blocks; stagnant energy; relieving insomnia; psychosomatic complaints; cancer; AIDS; stress; and other illnesses. When a singing bowl is played on or near the body, the vibrations go into the whole body, helping to remove blocks and stagnant energy. Sound moves four times faster in water than air, and the human body consists of 80% water; which in turn allows for deep levels of healing and release to take place. The Tibetan Singing Bowls are mysterious, yet extremely powerful. Every individual will have a different experience with them. Whether they are played directly on the body or heard at a distance, the vibrations are felt.
The Acutonics Tuning Forks are used to correct imbalances, uncover emotions, stimulate growth and development, transformation, and facilitate inner harmony and wholeness. They are applied to specific acupressure points, trigger points, and chakras to access the body’s meridian and energy systems; as well as the etheric field.
The sound waves of these tuning forks vibrate and travel deeply into the body along energy pathways, affecting human physiology and reaching places not easily accessed by traditional medicine. All Acutonics Tuning Forks are of the highest quality, precision-tuned and calibrated. They are manufactured of space-grade metal to our exact specifications. These tuning forks are very low in alloys; they do not pit or lose their frequency; and are the highest grade available on the market. Designed for use on and over the body, they provide a rich, clear resonance and sustain their vibration for 25 to 35 seconds. These forks are accurate to the 100th Hertz. They are light, comfortable to hold, and color-coded for ease of use.
Each Acutonics Tuning Fork is tuned to a natural harmonic series based on the orbital properties of the Earth, Moon, Sun and other planets. The frequencies are based on the work of Kepler, who in the 1620s discovered the elliptical paths of the planets. Kepler calculated the velocity of all known planets, invalidating the previously accepted concept of circular orbits. He presented scientific evidence of the relationship between the musical ratios and the planetary motion – the Music of the Spheres.
Each musical combination or interval used in the Acutonics Healing System has its own unique healing properties. For example, the Ohm Unison represents the Earth traveling through the four seasons. It is the home tone in our system, and is deeply grounding and balancing. It is an excellent tool for sinus treatments, sleep disorders, and when we simply have too much on our minds and need to take a calming breath. The notes that correspond with each frequency are all approximate, as this is Cosmic Music. The Ohm is close to a C#.
Crystal bowls are made from 98.9% silicon quartz or other minerals. One reason why the pure tones vibrate our body is thatthe body has a natural affinity to quartz. The human body is composed of many crystalline substances: our bones, blood, and DNA are crystalline in structure; as well as the liquid crystal-colloidal structure of our brains. Even on a molecular level, our cells contain silica, which balances our electro-magnetic energies, and this is the same formula as natural quartz crystal. The sound effects the brain-wave activity, allowing one to travel into an altered state of consciousness – which is the most effective place for healing to occur. The sound releases different hormones and neurochemicals, which can suppress pain, strengthen will power in one’s creative talents, and allow one to overcome addictive patterns. The chakras, bones, and organs in the body all possess a different vibrational frequency. When an organ or part of the body is vibrating out of tune or is in disharmony, it is called “dis-ease,” or disease. A body is in a healthy state of being when each cell/organ creates a resonance that is in harmony with the whole being. Quartz crystal sound holds the vibration of white light, which ultimately refracts into the rainbow and acts directly on our chakras when played. It has the power to bring about a positive shift in our consciousness; and as our awareness expands, we grow closer to our original selves and start to reflect the highest radiance in our physical form. Crystal is able to maintain the balance of electromagnetic energies between the north and south poles. It is extremely accurate; and consequently, quartz crystal is the foundation of timekeeping systems in contemporary timepieces. The same electromagnetic field exists within all life forms. Clear quartz integrates and balances our own electromagnetic energies. Vibrational medicine is based on the idea that all illness or dis-ease is characterized by blockage in the channels on some level: either in nadis (meridians/lines), arteries, veins, or nerves. When there is a blockage, the organ in question stops vibrating at a healthy frequency; thus resulting in some kind of illness. Through sound and light one can break up, dissolve, and release these blockages that initiate in our light or etheric body. Ultrasound has recently been used to cleanse clogged arteries. Ultrasound works on the same principle of light = sound and tone = radiance, manifesting in form. Crystal bowl music emits a pure holographic template of radiant light that corresponds to the octave of sound within our etheric body. Since sound can be translated into colour, the body may be seen as a visible frequency that produces an auric colour field which reflects emotional states of consciousness; and thus, the physiological status. The visual spectrum has, therefore, the same wave frequency as the auditory spectrum. There are seven musical notes that correspond to the seven colours of the rainbow. These are related to the seven main chakras, which in turn correspond to the different areas of the endocrine gland system. Like a powerful radio transmitter, the crystal bowls transmit energy into the atmosphere, filling a person’s aura with a vibrational radiance which translates into the seven main colours of the rainbow.
Didgeridoo (didge/er/ee/do): An Aboriginal-Australian wind instrument made from Eucalyptus tree branches which have been hollowed out by termites. These instruments are usually painted with motifs of mythological origin. Didgeridoos create a drone sound which affects the brain state, allowing one to become more relaxed. When the brain is relaxed, the body is automatically influenced, placing the whole nervous system into the sympathetic state where healing takes place. When the didgeridoo is used in a healing session, it is played on the body, with the vibrations penetrating deeply inside. It has been described as being like a massage; very relaxed and calming.
The human voice is one of the most powerful healing tools we possess; a tool we carry with us wherever we go. Our body loves the sound of our own voice. It creates the perfect vibration that not only matches our physical body, but honestly describes the present state of our emotional body. In our voice, there are reflections of our day. All of the tension, joys, relaxations, and frustrations are imprinted here. Everything is reflected in the voice. This explains why our own voices are never exactly the same. People tone without even knowing it; as when you may groan, sigh, cry, moan, laugh, yell, say “AHHH”, or even “Ouch!”. These are all spontaneous sounds produced without conscious direction.
Sounds produced by us through the body remove tension and pain. Almost from birth, we begin the process of repressing these natural sounds. Thus begins our journey of learning to be vehicles of storage rather than what we are naturally meant to be: vehicles of expression.
Toning helps shift us into expressing again by using these natural sounds to release pent-up or blocked energy and to re-establish a natural flow of energy which leaves the physical body feeling peaceful and cleansed. You feel these tones go through every cell in your body. Don Campbell has said, “Tone is simply an audible sound prolonged for long enough to be identified. Toning is the conscious elongation of the sound using the breath and the voice.” While the practices of toning vary to some extent, all involve the use of pure, nonverbal sound to increase the flow of breath, balance energy flow, release emotion, resolve past trauma, and restore harmony to the body, mind, and spirit. Because sound is inner-dimensional, it is a perfect vehicle to lift consciousness. Sound shifts the awareness from the mind to the feeling self; from the analytical to the intuitive faculty, where it woos our feeling-nature and our desires into alignment. This brings new hope and insight, and a feeling of peace and oneness. It will greatly increase the quality of your meditation if used prior to starting. Toning energizes us and gives us a balanced, confident feeling. It helps to open energy kept in the throat area. It also helps raise consciousness above the reactionary level to the heart-flow level, where Divine inspiration is clear and direct. Toning can be done anywhere: while showering, driving, or resting. It does not require the development of talent or a special gift that only a few have, but is built within all of us – and is available for us to use at any time. Toning can also be done through the use of bells, bowls, tuning forks, or by directing the sound personally or getting another person to tone you into the chakras or other parts of the body. Using their voice, the practitioner may get very close to the body and make sounds, often something like Ahhhhhm, or Ohmmm. These are all wonderful forms of vibrational sound healing. These sounds can cut through blocks and stagnant energy, opening the way for a more balanced and healed state of being. Most people who do vocal toning work intuitively; but you can tone even if you cannot hold a tune at all! This is about vibration, rather than about musical perfection. You can tone for yourself even if you have no interest in doing it for others. You can simply and spontaneously create and allow whatever sound wants to come out to do so; or you may choose a mantra, sets of sounds or words. Toning is an excellent way to free your stored and built-up emotions. One thing is for sure: you can only feel better after doing so.
Toning And Healing The Body
Throughout history, cultures have acknowledged that vowel sounds have a notable and beneficial influence over our lives. Toning vowel sounds (A,E,I,O,U) has been a practice honoured by many ancient Peoples. The healing art of toning is the vocalization of elongated vowel sounds without words, harmonic melody, or a particular rhythm. It serves as a concentrating point for our minds so that we may leave the chattering mind behind and allow the voice of our bodies to emerge. The act of toning has specific physiological benefits. Here are a few ways toning benefits the body:
Toning can create a vibration in the body that offers a massage-like effect that can vibrate the bones, tissues, cells, and fluids of our body. The vibration created by sounding with our voice has a notable effect on our two most sensitive systems; the neurological and endocrine systems. This is because every sound that we make strongly vibrates the brain, the pituitary, and the hypothalamus.
In the yogic tradition, toning is used to cleanse the chakra system and bring balance to the meridian, or energy, system. When sounding or toning for even a short period time, the 84 meridians in the upper palate of the mouth are stimulated; thereby igniting the meridian system.
Indian Ayurvedic medicine also teaches that repressed feelings can cause stagnation and energy blockages, which crystallize in the tissue of the body. Toning or creating vibration through sound can help wash over this stagnation, vibrating it until it returns to a more fluid (and therefore, natural) state.
The hypothalamus and pituitary gland, the master gland of the endocrine system, lie very close to the roof of the mouth. Stimulating the mouth with sound through toning, mantras, or chanting, vibrates the upper palate and positively influences the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland; causing them to release chemical hormones throughout the body. Vibrating this area with sound notably enlarges glandular function by increasing the output of secretions, which optimizes the entire endocrine function. Some of the hormones secreted by the pituitary gland are for growth; adrenal support; thyroid function; reproduction; and various metabolic activities, to name just a few. What does this mean to the health of the body as a whole? Improved immune function via the hypothalamic-pituitary axis; increased brain hemisphere balance; enhanced healing, emotions, and moods; and a balanced autonomic nervous system.
In the Zen tradition, toning is believed to restore balance to the organs of the body, restoring their original resonance.
Even Western medicine has found that toning can have a positive effect on blood pressure, heart rate, and pain relief.
Toning involves using the vibrations of the human voice to effect change in our being. There is no specific tone that works best for one person – the healer works intuitively to find the best frequencies, using pure nonverbal sound to increase the flow of breath; balance energy flow; release emotion; resolve past trauma; and restore harmony to the body, mind, and spirit.
A powerful technique is to resonate and balance your chakras using vowel sounds. This is a good exercise to do every day, and is a great introduction to exploring the harmonics naturally present in the vowels. Vowels carry the “information energy” of speech, whereas consonants act to break up the energy flow. In ancient Sanskrit, Hebrew, Chinese, etc., the vowel sounds are considered to be sacred. In other words, the vowel sounds carry the intention and focus. Start by sitting comfortably in a chair or on a cushion on the floor. Try to keep your spine as straight as possible, which allows the energy in your body to flow more freely. It may help to imagine your head is suspended from above by a fine cord, letting your body hang below it naturally. Make these sounds in a gentle voice – don’t strain. Focus your energy and intent for balancing and energizing each chakra before toning. To find the correct pitch for a particular chakra, scan up and down, feeling in your body for a resonance (apart from the throat where it will always resonate). The pitch will change according to the person, mood, diet, activities, emotional states, etc., on a daily basis. There is no set frequency. Breathe in deeply, expanding your lower stomach as you inhale. I imagine the energy of each breath coming into my body through whichever chakra I am working on; this can help to focus your awareness. You may also wish to add a colour visualization to each chakra.
Toning Through The Chakras
First Chakra (Root)– located at the base of the spine. Tone seven times with the deepest “UUH” as in “cup,” a very low, guttural sound just gently riding on the breath. Stay comfortable with the sound – don’t force it.
Second Chakra (Sacral)– located about 2-3 inches below the navel. Tone seven times using a higher pitched, but still deep “OOO” as in “you.”(Orange).
Third Chakra (Solar Plexus) – located above the navel. Tone seven times using a higher pitched “OH,” as in “go.” (Yellow).
Fourth Chakra (Heart) – located in the centre of the chest. Tone seven times using a higher pitched “AH”, as in “ma.” This is the sound that embodies compassion.(Green).
Fifth Chakra (Throat) – Tone seven times using a higher pitched “AY,” as in “say.”(Blue).
Sixth Chakra (Third Eye) – located in the middle of the forehead slightly above the eyes. “EEE” sound, as in “me.” Tone seven times, using a still higher pitch.(Indigo).
Seventh Chakra (Crown) – Tone a higher sound of “EEE” focusing from your crown connecting to the angelic realm seven times, using the highest pitch you can comfortably make.(Violet or white).
Now sit in a space of silence and receptivity for 10 -20 minutes to experience the energy. After this, if you feel too lightheaded, chant the universal words of AUM also known as “OM.” This will help to ground you. Another way to reconnect yourself back into your body is to simply jump up and down on the earth and release with the repeated sound “Hoo hoo.” Focus on deep breathing into your body. As you jump up, breathe in; exhale as your feet hit the ground with the sound “hoo.”
The Nervous System
The nervous system is our link to the world around us. Its primary function is to control, regulate, communicate, and coordinate all the systems of the body with the outside world. It allows us to see, feel, touch, act, and react. It is also responsible for our dreams; abstract thought; ability to create; and our intuition. Since it provides information to the brain about the body, the nervous system is a great indicator when something is wrong in our lives. The nervous system can produce symptoms that are meant to warn us; including symptoms such as pain, nervousness, insomnia, or anxiety. The part of the nervous system we will be looking at more closely is the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS). The ANS is composed of two branches: the sympathetic branch, which stimulates us (fight-or-flight branch); and the parasympathetic branch, which slows us down (rest-and-repair branch). The ANS contains neurons that convey impulses which govern the smooth muscles, tissue, heart muscle tissue, and glands. Since it only stimulates
The nervous system can produce symptoms that are meant to warn us; including symptoms such as pain, nervousness, insomnia, or anxiety. The part of the nervous system we will be looking at more closely is the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS). The ANS is composed of two branches: the sympathetic branch, which stimulates us (fight-or-flight branch); and the parasympathetic branch, which slows us down (rest-and-repair branch). The ANS contains neurons that convey impulses which govern the smooth muscles, tissue, heart muscle tissue, and glands. Since it only stimulates a response in the involuntary muscles and glands of the body, it is often considered involuntary; not governed by thought. Our present state of living stimulates the sympathetic nervous system relentlessly. This is the branch that stimulates us into action and issues the fight-or-flight response, releasing stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. This biochemical pounding wears the body down at an accelerated rate, weakening our immune systems, eating away at our digestive systems, and leaving us more vulnerable to cancer and other diseases.
The hormones released during stress disable our hearts and lungs, promoting strokes and asthma. On the other hand, the parasympathetic branch of the nervous system is responsible for the rest-and-repair device, and the body’s ability to heal. It governs the release of many chemicals, such as serotonin and endorphins, that are necessary for relaxation. Balancing the sympathetic with the parasympathetic nervous system is essential for cardiovascular health, normal blood pressure, optimal lung function, and other physiological responses. Stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system by means of sound can send more nerve impulses to the organs.
How can sounding help balance our autonomic nervous system function?
By vibrating the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, and optimizing the entire endocrine function. With the heightened function of the endocrine system, the rest-and-repair branch of the nervous system is naturally heightened.
What happens when we stimulate this rest-and-repair branch of the nervous system?
When the parasympathetic nervous system is activated, our heartbeat slows and our breath deepens and relaxes. We shift into an alpha brain-wave pattern, which signals the immune system to release molecules of information – some of which travels the nerve pathway to the brain – completing the cranio-sacral circuitry. More nerve signals are then sent to glands and organs of the immune system, such as the thymus; thus assisting in the overall healing process. The parasympathetic nervous system moves along the same pathway as the vagus nerve, the most important single nerve in the body. The vagus nerve runs through the jawbone and is influenced by any sound we make. This nerve exits at the brainstem runs near the jawbone through the neck and supply energy to the heart, lungs, digestive system, and back muscles.