The Benefits Of Sound Healing
We all like to use uplifting music to boost our mood or listen to sad songs to help heal a broken heart, yet sound therapy is still considered an alternative ‘New Age’ method of healing, outside the realm of modern Western medicine. However, more and more people are becoming interested in the art of sound healing, feeling like it may be the practice they’ve been searching for to heal, unwind, reconnect and rebalance their lives.
But what really is sound healing? Where did it come from? How does it work? And does it really have beneficial effects? Read on to find out all you need to know about sound healing therapies and retreats.
What Is Sound Healing?
Essentially, sound healing is the practice of using music to improve the health and wellbeing of a patient. In this case, music can be referred to as traditional melodic sequences, instrumental improvisation, chanting, drone vibrations or the use of gongs and singing bowls. The possibilities of sound healing really are endless as it depends on the needs of the patient, their connection to vibrational frequencies and the skills of the practitioner.
Sound healing can be used to improve emotional, physical, psychological, spiritual and social difficulties. By matching the frequencies of our own vibrational waves to that of the music around us we can undertake a process of healing, relaxation, clarity and concentration.
The History Of Sound Healing
The use of music seems to be innate in all of us with different cultures and societies around the world using sound, instruments, singing and dancing as part of their everyday life.
It also seems that sound as a method of healing dates back at least as far as Ancient Greece with Apollo being the God of music and medicine and the famed healer Hippocrates playing music for his patients while treating them on the island of Kos. Similarly, Ancient Egyptians used music therapy; Native Americans use song and dance as a mode of healing; and it is thought that sound rituals have been used in India and beyond for millennia.
Types of Sound Healing Retreats
There are numerous different sound healing therapies that can be undertaken as part of a class or workshop, or discovered on a deeper level at a sound healing retreat. Different people connect to different sound healing methods, so it is worth trying a few styles to discover one that suits you.
Singing Bowl Therapy
Singing bowls have been used throughout Asia for centuries, in particular Tibet, where the most famous style of singing bowl originates. The blissful notes produced by these metallic bowls sound like a reverberating bell and they are used in meditation, Reiki therapies, yoga classes and ceremonial gatherings. Singing bowls are believed to create a calm environment in which you are able to reduce stress levels, lower your blood pressure, strengthen your immune system, reduce pain and also improve your general mood.
Kirtan is a Sanskrit word that means ‘reciting a story’ and it is a practice of call-and-response chanting that helps participants reach a meditative state of being. Typically, Kirtan retreats feature a group of musicians who play a variety of instruments and lead the group in a collection of chants. The power of Kirtan lies in the simplicity and repetition of the chants which help to clear your mind of other thoughts; connecting to the musical vibrations, the people around you and the divinity at your core.
Tuning Fork Therapy
You may have used tuning forks during music classes at school, but what you may not have known was that they can be used as a healing modality, helping to balance your mind, body and soul. In a similar way to acupuncture, tuning forks can be placed on the body in specific points which then send vibrations through your energetic channels, helping to release pain and tension, open blockages and create harmony. Tuning fork therapy almost sees the human body as an instrument that needs to be regularly retuned in order to find peace, relaxation and an elevated state of consciousness.
The Dalcroze Eurythmics Method is a more interactive style of sound therapy in which students are taught musical instruments and rhythmic patterns in order to express themselves and develop on an emotional level. Not only does this method work from a physical point of view, improving motor and cognitive functions through kinaesthetic learning, but it also works on a mental and spiritual level, helping students increase their awareness and feel their emotions.
Gongs have been around since 4,000 B.C and they are used to alleviate physical, emotional and spiritual pain and blockages. In typical gong retreats, participants are welcomed into a gong bath, a meditative group session in which the healer rings out a number of gongs at different tones which work to balance your chakra system, improve mental clarity and leave you feeling calm and clear. As gongs are much larger than singing bowls the vibrations tend to be quite powerful and therefore the healing works quite quickly. The sounds and vibrations created by the gongs stimulate every cell and organ in your body which awakens your senses and helps you move into your higher vibrational frequency.
The sound healing practice of Solfeggio Frequencies is based on the 11th century Guidonian teaching method which used the “UT RE MI FA SOL LA” scale to help teach monks melodies and harmonies. Today, the practice uses specific sound patterns based on the sacred numbers 3, 6 and 9, to tap into a particular frequency of the brain that helps to balance your energy and heal physical and emotional pain. Each different frequency e.g. 396Hz, 639Hz and 963Hz have specific healing purposes, be that releasing feelings of guilt or fear or working on a path towards enlightenment.
As sound healing is becoming more and more popular around the world, you’re sure to find a retreat centre or workshop close to you that will offer a range of beneficial treatments and experiences. Think about what you hope to gain from your sound healing session, research the different modalities and experiment with different styles until you find one that aligns with your soul.
Have you experienced sound healing? Let us know your thoughts and recommendations in the comments below.