Why harmonious sound?
There are various theories as to why therapeutic and harmonious sound is soothing and balancing to the nervous system. It is a very new area to be subjected to scientific rigour, with methods and the science underpinning the results still being debated in the Sound Healing community. However, sound has been used for thousands of years to heal, invigorate and soothe the emotions. Whether a mother humming a lullaby, or the use of the didgeridoo in traditional healings and ceremonies, sound has always been part of the human existence. The core belief of the Sufis, “the mystics of Islam”, is that God created the world from sound (Berendt 1983: 174). In Egypt the “singing sun” created the world through a “cry of light” (Berendt 1983: 174) and the universe was portrayed as “vibrating strings played by a blind harpist” (Beaulieu 2010:15). The Bible tells in the beginning was the “Word”, and the Tibetans believed that in the beginning was the tone “OM” (Berendt 1983: 27). All these stories have one thing in common – the belief that, whether described as a tone, a sound or a word, the vibrations of sound created matter.
Through the latest theories offered by quantum physics we are now able to view the world by its smallest building blocks, atoms, and gain an appreciation that not only does sound affect the nature of matter, in turn, all matter is vibration. According to one of the theories of creation put forward by current physicists, the world, the universe and everything in it is created from mindbogglingly small strings of energetic matter that are vibrating – termed The String Theory. It is this vibration, coupled with the inherent pull of nature towards the harmonious, that is the basis for why sound therapy works.
We live in a “dynamic and vibratory network” of energy (Gerber 2001:121). Latest theories suggest that exchanges in energy between these particles creates a Universe where all matter “through time and space” and “on to infinity” is connected by an energy field or matrix of waves, “tying one part of the universe to every other part…much like the undulations of the sea.” (McTaggart 2003: 29-32). In order for humans to be healthy we need to be in touch and aware of our own internal rhythms, our bodily rhythms such as women’s menstrual cycle, our rhythms of speech, as well as those rhythms taking place externally though other people’s rhythms, the cycles of day and night, the seasons etc., and, even, the orbits of the planets. According to George Leonard, “rhythm is the heart beat of the system” (Judith 1987: 42). Studies on cancer patients have shown that “in every instance the cancer patient had lost the natural periodic rhythms of the body” (McTaggert 2003: 45) whilst examinations of autistic children have showed a “time-lag response between the listener and the speaker [which] put them out of harmony with the world around them” (Judith 1987: 42). We need to resonate with the world around us else “we are isolated, separate, cut off from the nourishing energy so vital to health” (Judith 1987: 252).
We can see how sound affects the body physically through the visual process of Cymatics - the study of visible sound imprinted onto membranes (Reid 2010:4). This was first seen in the eighteenth century when Ernst Chladni put grains of sand on glass and vibrated them with a violin bow. The vibrations pulled the sand into “beautiful and symmetrical shapes” (Goldman 2002:36). Dr. Hans Jenny continued the work in the 1920’s and photographed the effect of sound on organic matter, vibrating steel plates with different frequencies. In 2002, John Reid created the Cymascope – a device that imprints sonic vibrations on the surface of ultra pure water. Through the use of this device, we are able to see the beautiful, geometric patterns that are imprinted by gongs, Himalayan bowls, and even vocal singing. Through the two key principles expounded in the theory of Sound Healing - Resonance and Entrainment - we can use these harmonious sounds to beneficially influence our physical and energetic bodies.
Resonance and Entrainment
The frequency at which an object vibrates with its maximum amplitude is called its resonant frequency. If an energetic force is struck of the same resonant frequency as another object in the vicinity it will cause the second object to begin vibrating – this is called sympathetic resonance. This has been shown when the striking of one tuning fork sets off the vibration of another at the same pitch. It has been described as “a merging created when energy moves back and forth between two or more bodies” (Beulieu 2010)  Using the principle of resonance, sound can be used to change disharmonious frequencies of the body back to their normal, healthful vibrations (Goldman 2002) .
Entrainment has been linked to Christian Huygens who noticed that “whenever two oscillators in the same field are pulsing at nearly the same rate, they tend to ‘lock in’ and begin to pulse at the same rate” (Heather 5). This was proven by Itzhak Bentov who showed that when many clocks were placed into a room their pendulums would eventually synchronise and stay synchronised, illustrating that the most powerful vibration will cause the less powerful vibration to lock into it. Entrainment can change the natural oscillatory patterns of one object and replacing them with different oscillatory patterns” (Goldman in Campbell 1991:218). This happens at a very high vibration rate within the energetic field, the slower vibrations of cells but also with the slower, more pulsing rhythms of the body and brain.
By directing harmonious sound, with the intention of coming into balance, we can affect both the physical and mental states. When this happens the hormonal levels in our bodies change and we lower the cortisol and adrenaline in our bodies and raise the feel good hormones such as serotonin and dopamine. An imbalance of these hormones has been implicated in the behaviours displayed with those diagnosed with ADHD. Serotonin also affects digestion and sleeping – all symptoms that those challenged by learning difficulties frequently present with.
 Berendt, J.E. (1983) The World is Sound. Music and the Landscape of Consciousness: Destiny Books
 Beaulieu, J. (2010) Human Tuning. Sound Healing with Tuning Forks: Biosonic Enterprises Ltd
 John 1:1-3, 14 (NIV)
 Gerber, R (2001) Vibrational Medicine: The Number 1 Handbook of Subtle Energy Therapies: Bear and Company
 McTaggart, L. (2003) The Field: Element
 Judith, A. (1987) Wheels of Life. A user’s guide to the chakra system: Llewellyn Publications
 Reid, J. and Reid, A (December 2010) Cymatics: a Bridge to an Unseen World:Veritas Magazine
 Goldman, J. (2002) Healing Sounds. The power of harmonics: Healing Arts Press
 Beaulieu, J. (2010) Human Tuning. Sound Healing with Tuning Forks: Biosonic Enterprises Ltd
Sound therapy is effective because it works on everyone. Whilst a client needs to be open to the sound in order not to shut down energetically, they don’t have to be a ‘believer’.
Because it is not a talking therapy there is no need to go back to past traumas and hurts in order to release the pain. The sound will find where it is needed and the gross and subtle bodies will respond accordingly.
Sound is an effective therapy as it covers all aspects of a person’s life – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Unlike a massage that deals with physical pain, or a psychiatrist that deals in the mental, sound focuses on raising and realigning a person’s vibration and clearing blocked energy, allowing a person to come back into balance - with a resulting improvement in all areas of their lives.
Healing through sound is effective as it encourages the client to take responsibility for their own health. Ideally the client will start to listen to their body and their inner voice and they will know what changes they need to make in their lives to enable them to come back into balance.
Sound therapy is effective because it allows clients to quickly move to an altered state of consciousness where the deep healing and creative processes occurs.
Using sound keeps the mind focused until it becomes still – for those clients who are not present or grounded, launching into a meditative state is nigh on impossible due to their chattering mind. Sound helps to balance the left and right hemispheres of the brain and lower the waves into a theta state.
Sound healing is effective as it is non invasive. The healing comes from within and is not imposed upon a person. It does not heal one part of a person’s body at the expense of another like many orthodox medicines. It is completely natural and gentle if performed correctly, which is especially important for sensitive people. As a practitioner, I am able to respond to the client instantly, rather than waiting to see the effect of medication.
Whilst sound is a very gentle form of healing it is also very powerful. Even resistances to the sound are useful to show a client where any imbalances might be and help them become more aware.
Sound healing is an effective therapy for those with addictions who would have no desire for any talking therapy and in fact have been self-medicating in a need to escape their present reality and release trauma. As “the problem is not the alternate reality but with the method of transition” (Beulieu 2010: 99), the therapeutic use of sound offers an altered reality which is healing and shows there are safe alternate ways to reach an altered state. Sound healing creates the space for clients to begin to explore and recognise the reasons why he or she is using substances.
Benefits as experienced by many participants the world over (anecdotal evidence)
Please see the RESOURCE section for EVIDENCE BASED RESEARCH
Awareness of our body and how we feel
Elimination of toxins
Improvement of sleep
Management of back pain and Sciatica
Auto immune issues including eczema and asthma
Ear, nose and throat issues
Reproductive organs and fertility
Awareness of how we are feeling
Strengthening connections with people
Overcoming repeated patterns of behaviour
Releasing anger issues
Overcoming anxiety and lack of self esteem
Reduction in disruptive behaviours associated with Autism and ADHD - soothing and sensory and sound sensitivities
Ability to communicate clearly
Less effected by external turbulences
Awareness and strengthening of our connection to nature and the wider world, both seen and unseen.
Balancing of chakras