Music Heals – Sound and frequencies have a positive effect on our mind and body
Music’s medicine is much deeper than the background music we hear, or a song we’re tapping our feet to. You might say that we are music. Our own heartbeat is a rhythm track pulsing through our veins; our voice is the melody that resonates as we speak’ our health is the harmony of our body, mind and spirit; and our breath is the silence that allows our bodies to rest.
“We do not make music; music makes us” ~ George Leonard
Studies have shown that actively engaging in music is three times more effective for reducing stress-related gene expression than simply just resting and chilling out.
According to science in Bittman’s research results, as we engage in making music we can disengage genomic triggers associated with stress. Therefore, it’s not only what music does but also what it undoes. There is a principle to the healing powers of music. The music’s medicine is an activation and deactivation pattern. It’s not only what we turn on, but also what is turned off; not only what we get from music, but also what we get to let go of. That process is healing.
For example, in rhythm, we find that drumming turns off the thinking mind and allows us to feel the primal knowledge in our bodies. In melody, we find that sounding our deep emotions transforms pain and despair and helps heal the heart. In harmony, we find that harmonizing with others turns off the “I” and activates the “we,” transcending ego and filling the soul with unity. In silence, we find that quieting the mind, the rest which deactivates our thinking about the past and future and allows the activation of peace and quiet
Today I would like to focus on the healing vibrations and frequencies you get from a sound bath. “So what is a sound bath?” you may ask. Many people have only recently heard of sound baths, the use of music for healing is not new and is based on practices dating back to ancient times. From Tibetan singing bowls to Indigenous didgeridoos, Indigenous drum circles, African tribal circles, Vocal singing in Indian cultures, music has been used for its therapeutic effects for thousands of years. The ancient Greeks used sound vibration to aid in digestion, treat mental disturbance, and induce sleep, and even Aristotle’s De Anima detailed how flute music could purify the soul.
In the Western culture, at end of the 19th century researchers began to focus on proving the correlation between sound and healing. Those studies proved that music could lower blood pressure, decrease pulse rate and assists the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for digestion and some metabolic processes. This totally makes sense — most people say that music helps with alleviate their stress, anxiety and depression.
The Basics of a Sound Bath
Knowing the history of sound bath doesn’t really help us understand what it is. Sound Bath is essentially sound and the vibrations/frequencies we sense in the moment, much like in a meditation class setting. It aims to guide you into a deep meditative state while you’re enveloped in ambient sound played by a guide, or sound therapist. Sometimes participants stay in a seated position on comfortable cushions during sessions, and other times attendees would lay on yoga mats.
Typically during sound baths there are repetitive notes played at different frequencies to help bring your focus away from your thoughts, and to great that space to ground you into the moment. Generally, these sounds are created with traditional crystal bowls, gemstone bowls, cymbals, and gongs. And similar to how a yoga class works, each instructor has their own way of creating the flow of a sound bath.
Each instrument creates a different frequency that vibrates in your body and helps guide you to the meditative and restorative state. By using particular combinations of rhythms and frequencies, our body and mind entrains to it, thus creating opportunities to shift our normal beta state (alert, concentrating, reacting) to an alpha (creative, relaxed), and even theta (meditative state) and delta (deep sleep; where restoring and healing can occur). As a result, the sound bath is like vibrational massage for our mind, body & spirit, allowing our brains to alter into higher conscious states.
Here’s some easy and quick ways to help calm your nervous system through sound:
I was so inspired by a sound bath workshop I just lead, and since it’s been a while, here’s a video of a 15min guided full moon sound bath meditation to help you relax and let go. To take in this experience in please click on the image below or on this link: 15 Minute Full Moon Sound Bath Meditation.