03 Jan What is Sound Healing?
Sound healing is the therapeutic application of sound frequencies to the body and mind of a person with the intention of bringing them into a state of harmony and health.
Sound is energy, and with sound healing, the energy of sound is applied to a person’s body by using the voice, tuning forks, gongs, singing bowls and other resonant instruments.
One of the ways it works is by relaxing a person’s mind, enabling them to access a part of themselves where the healing is required. This way it can be used to alleviate a number of problems and disorders such as stress, pain and discomfort, muscle tension, insomnia, water retention and more.
How Does Sound Healing Work?
It is now agreed that everything that appears solid is a mass of vibrating energy. When objects vibrate, they resonate at their own unique frequency. This includes the nerves, every organ, every bone, every cell in the human body. For sound to have effect within the body, its fortunate that we are made up of 65% water, which is found in the extracellular fluids of the body including blood, plasma, the lymph, and within the cells themselves.
This makes the body is a good conductor of sound.
Sound travels in air at – 340 metres per second
In water sound travels at – 1500 metres per second
4.5 times greater or faster than in air
So, sound works to support the body’s health on a cellular level.
If you think of the human body like an orchestra, at our optimum health, when our energy flows in rhythmic unity, all the parts of our body vibrate in harmony.
Heartbeat – normally between 60 and 75 beats per minute
Breathe – normally 14 to 16 breaths per minute
Cranio-sacral pulse – 8 to 12 times per minute
Gastro intestinal tract – contracts once a minute
Stomach – contracts every three minutes
Brain waves – waking state 18 to 22 cycles per second
All tuned together creating a rhymical vibration, as we live and breath.
However, when one part in the body is out of tune it will affect the whole system. Introducing a stronger sound resonance can however, support the body in returning to a natural state of harmony.
What are the Principles of Sound Healing?
There are several combined principles to Sound Healing, which are:
- Entrainment – strong pulse influencing a weak pulse
- Intervals – space between two notes
- Intention – your thoughts
- Harmonics – fundamental note and ratios
- Body Rhythm
In 1665 the Dutch scientist Christian Huygens, ‘discovered’ the principle of ‘entrainment’. This principle states that whenever two or more rhythmic objects, such as metronomes are pulsing at nearly the same rate, objects with a less powerful vibration will start to synchronise with the object that has the dominant pulse.
Systems theory states that this happens because: “It takes less energy to pulse in co-operation than in opposition”.
A definition of entrainment can be seen when Geese are flying in a triangle.
So, if part of the body, such as the nervous system, is out of balance, or not vibrating at the right pulse, we can offer a stronger and appropriate frequency to support it in relaxing and then recalibrating. Instruments that can be used to offer that frequency are Tuning Forks.
Biosonic tuning forks in the notes of C & G vibrate at C 256 Hz and G 384 Hz, creating a musical interval known as the perfect fifth. This is an extremely balanced ratio within our body, and these tuning forks are designed for balancing our energy, our nervous system and regulating blood pressure.
Using these tuning forks to improve the human nervous system is attributed to John Beaulieu, who in 1974 experimented with improving the sound of his own nervous system by entering an Anechoic Chamber, a scientific designed space of complete silence. Whilst entering the chamber over multiple times he listened to his own nervous system and recorded the effects. With over 500 hours in the chamber, he became familiar with the sound of his own nervous system. He could recognise when he was stressed or anxious as it omitted a louder high-pitched sound.
He experimented with methods to decrease the sound, such as meditation and chanting, and discovered that tuning forks, and particularly the notes C & G were ideal instruments in bringing his nervous system back to a natural pitch. He attributed this to the fact that our blood pressure is 120/80 the same ratio as the tuning forks at 3/2 C & G.
Each natural frequency that an object or instrument produces has a fundamental note. The sound that we can hear and feel from that object is actually made up of multiple sound frequencies of the original note. This is known as a harmonic series, that creates the characteristic tone of an object, a musical instrument or a person’s voice.
Mathematically, harmonics are multiples of the actual note or frequency that the instrument is playing. If we strike a C (256 Hz), then the auditable sounds produced are:
Fundamental tone 256 Hz C
Then a C at – 512 Hz C an Octave above
A G at 768 Hz G – fifth
Another C at 1024 Hz
And an E at 1280 Hz
The discovery of the principle of Harmonics and the ratios in sound is attributed to Pythagoras, a Greek philosopher from 560-480 BC, who experimented with an instrument called the ‘monochord’. The monochord has one string that could be halved or quartered to produce the same note, one or two octaves higher.
So, if the fundamental note was C – vibrating at 512 Hz and it was halved, it would produce a note an octave higher at C 256 Hz.
If that C is quartered it would produce a C two octaves higher at C 128 Hz
What if it was a third of C 512? So, 256 + 128 = G 384 Hz
Pythagoras, named the world ‘cosmos’ and he identified the concept of sound as a mathematical harmony in a spiritual universe.
Vowels are also produced by emphasising harmonics. Try pronouncing OOO-AWE-AAA-AYE-EEE (a bit like saying a stretched out “why”). This is referred to as vocal over toning a skill highly developed in the Tuvan (Mongolian) and Tibetan cultures.
What’s also interesting about Harmonics is that the softer the sound the more harmonics are present. So, you don’t have to create a loud sound to activate harmonics with the voice. Think of a mother soothing a baby to sleep.
The Thymus Gland
Thymus Gland (a Greek word for Life Energy) – “The thymus gland is located directly behind the top of the breastbone, below the collar bone. It supports our immune system by creating white blood cells to fight infections, and is the central controller of the body’s acupuncture system. When its energy is low this can be easily remedied in a few seconds by a simple technique called the “thymus thump” discovered by Dr. John Diamond, author of ‘Your Body Doesn’t Lie’.
With your fingers or a clenched fist, pound over this area rhythmically several times while smiling and thinking of someone you love. At each thump, say, “Ha-ha-ha”.
The Cosmic Octave
The Swiss scientist Hans Cousto, author of the Cosmic Octave, discovered how to convert planetary cycles into musical pitches. He used a mathematical system to calculate one Earth year of the time it takes the earth to circle the Sun, and multiplied it enough times to create an audible octave. The audible sound he discovered was 136.1 Hz C#. This frequency he referred to as the sound AUM.
To arrive at, an earth year is reduced to a second (frequencies are measured in cycles per second). An earth year is 365.242 days and an earth day is 86,400 seconds. When the days are multiplied by seconds the result will be 315,567,925.9747 seconds to one earth year. To arrive at an audible sound, 315,567,925.9747 seconds are divided into one (year) and then raised 32 octaves. The result will be the audible tone of 136.1 Hz.”
He also went on to calculate the sound of all the other planets in the solar system, which have now been used to create instruments such as tuning forks and gongs.
Intention is an important principle underlying the way sound healing works. Every action we perform has a conscious or unconscious intention behind it. We can see the principle of intention at work when a mother sings her baby to sleep. If we sing a pure sound to another person with a pure intention, then the sound carries our intention to the person receiving a treatment.
If you want to send a positive healing intention to someone, you say or sing the words: “I offer unconditional Love, Light and Peace to [person’s name]. If you have not received that person’s spoken consent, then it is important that you use the work ‘unconditional’.
If we sing or play two different notes, one after the other or at the same time, we create a musical interval. Each musical interval will have a different effect on our body, our emotions, and our mind. This explains why we choose different types of music when we are in different emotional moods.
Generally, simple intervals like the third (e.g. C/E) and the fifth (eg. C/G) are uplifting and sound pleasing to the ear. Minor intervals can induce tension or feelings of sadness. Some intervals are discordant and can help us to get in touch with darker emotions.
When we study musical intervals further, we discover that each interval produces a mathematical ratio. For example, the octave produced the 2:1 ratio, the fifth produces the 3:2 ratio.
When we study nature, we find these simple mathematical ratios cropping up everywhere. They are found in the structure of the atom, in crystals, leaves, petals, shells, in the proportions of the human body, and in the orbits of the planets around the sun.
Architects used these ratios when building the great cathedrals and ancient sacred buildings. Goethe, the German poet, author and scientist, described architecture as “frozen music.”
Body Rhythms & Brain Waves
The heart beats at 60 – 75 beats / minute. If we listen to a rhythm with 60 beats per minute it will change our brain wave pattern from Beta 14 – 27 Hz to Alpha 7 – 14 Hz. Slower tempo music slows our breathing rate. The human heartbeat will tend to match the rhythm of music.
Repetitive drumming or the use of a rattle slows down our brain rhythm to Theta 4 – 7 Hz, helping us to experience trance like states. These techniques, prominent in Shamanic practices, allow the healer or client to move from conscious awareness to access their subconscious mind and to other realms of consciousness in order to journey within other forms of perception. Leaving the conscious mind can bypass the protective parts, and go deeper into the unconscious where healing can take place.