by Alexia Amvrazi
Sound, the first sense we develop in the womb, is not just in the ear of the beholder. It’s a powerful, multi-sensory, vibrational experience that directly resonates with the body’s cellular intelligence. Sounds can automatically generate every range of emotion and awareness in us - from bliss and arousal to fear and confusion.
Even though you may not realize it, our thoughts, emotions, behavior, cognitive function and yes, even our overall health are often determined by sound - or lack thereof! The sound of a loved one’s voice, a mesmerizing song, a baby’s laughter, the sea are among a multitude of sounds that can instantly soothe the spirit, releasing feel-good dopamine and serotonin in the brain and creating actual shifts in your body and subconscious. Similarly, grating sounds like the drone and chaos of traffic, a cacophony of voices in a huge space, the random bings and dings from smartphones - can create physiological and psychological stress by releasing cortisol, kicking off a fight-or-flight response and jangling cognitive function.
The science of sound as a healing tool spans back to millennia ago. In ancient Greece, patients at the ‘Asklepion’ health-spa centers (such as the famous Epidaurus) were commonly prescribed music as part of their medical treatment. Greece, like China, Japan, Africa, Egypt and Australia is a place where the wisdom of sound medicine - through the use of instruments like gongs, chimes, Pythagoras’ monochord, singing bowls, drums, the lyre, the didgeridoo and the human voice, were artfully employed millennia ago to restore humans to wellness. And today scientists have begun to include sound healing as part of sophisticated medical routines to prevent or treat chronic and life-threatening illnesses such as acute stress, PTSD, heart disease and cancer.
Diving into Sound Travel
More and more of the luxurious spas and healing centers around the world are adding sound therapies to their high-end treatment menus, as they’ve been lauded for their immediate, long-lasting and relaxing effect. After all, extensive research indicates that since our body is made up of around 70% water, our cellular structure responds to sound waves in incredible ways - as experiments by Japanese Dr. Masaru Emoto’s studies revealed - while some instruments such as the Shamanic drum are shown to reach as deep as the bone marrow. Brain neurons are also shown to be strengthened and even rewired by sound frequencies.
Apart from creating a magnificent sense of inner and outer healing, regeneration and awakening, sound therapy can redress imbalances on every level of the body and mind; sound waves work on the conscious as well as subconscious levels, offering a profoundly blissful, effective and often transcendental experience.
May the Sound Be With You...
Make sound healing part of your daily ritual, by recognizing and enjoying its enriching sensory value.
- Tune In: Make a conscious effort to immerse yourself in the sounds that give you joy. Stop and fully commit to listening when you hear feel-good sounds. It could be birdsong, a baby’s laughter, the roll of the waves and whisper of the wind, the burst of bubbles as champagne is poured into a glass, the swirling highs and lows in a favorite piece of music. Feel what each sound offers you and how (and where) it affects you, then let that feeling spread through you.
- Book a Sound Therapy Session: All kinds of sound healing therapies have developed, but essentially having a session involves lying back and surrendering to the sound-waves. The healer’s voice and/or musical instruments will transmit specific frequencies aimed at parts of the client’s body, emotions, and mind, and can help clear blocked or stagnant energy and realign the chakras.
- Do-It-Yourself: Sing and Play! Singing and mantra-chanting are proven to help invoke a spirit of tranquillity and even ecstasy. Meanwhile, investing in a beautiful sound healing instrument that you can learn to master and use as a go-to health tool for yourself and others can offer a huge health-boost. Sound healer and musician David Kennet, who is based in California but travels worldwide to offer Soul Sounding sessions and workshops using sound healing instruments, has this advice for amateur sound healers: "The best instrument you can use is your voice, although a good quartz bowl or singing bowl can be beautiful too. I recommend going to a store and seeing which bowl speaks to you, become aware of how the resonance of the instrument makes you feel. That's the most important factor." There are many delightful-sounding instruments such as Tibetan singing bowls, Koshi chimes, the hang drum and cymbals, but a rose quartz singing bowl (with prices ranging between 100$ AND 1,500$) can do wonders for cleansing and rebalancing your heart energy, amplifying feelings of gratitude, forgiveness and compassion and soothing or completely clearing negative feelings such as anger, sadness and shock.
Gong Bathe: Another profoundly dreamy and stimulating way to experience sound therapy is by trying a gong bath, which involves lying on the floor while sound experts play different-sized gongs with varying vibrations that resonate with your body and mind; fascinatingly, the sounds of gongs often blend to create a magical, sometimes heavenly, orchestral experience.