Have you ever wondered why listening to your favourite song instantly lifts your mood? Or the sound of a screeching car puts you in a state of panic? We know sound has cognitive effects, stimulating different hitting areas of the brain, but its impact may be far more holistic.
Sound produces vibrations, which permeate the way we think, feel and act. It’s been scientifically proven that every cell in our body vibrates at a specific frequency. Your heartbeat, breathing and circadian rhythms are all examples of physiological vibrations that create the energy fields that surround us.
Researchers have detected these vibrations, and the electromagnetic waves that accompany them, can cause changes in our cells, which, in turn, affects the way our bodies function.
Being in an emotional state of fear, for example, stimlates the release of stress hormones, causing our pulse and heart rate to spike and altering our body’s frequency and vibrations.
Just as our emotions affect our vibrations, our vibrations affect our mental and emotional wellbeing. This is where sound therapy comes in. The centuries-old practice has been on the rise in contemporary wellness circles, but indigenous cultures have been using it for generations. Tibetan monks use singing bowls and the Chinese practise qigong.
Aboriginal-Australian people were the first to adopt a form of sound healing through the didgeridoo. “The notion is that we all have an ideal frequency,” says Audrey Johnson, who owns Luna Sound Healing meditation centre in Cape Town. The goal is to get us back to a state of equilibrium through various sound-healing therapies. It also changes the state of our frequency to heal specific issues we’re facing.
“We should think of ourselves as a body of water,” says Audrey. “When you throw a stone into a lake, it produces a ripple effect, vibrating at a particular frequency.” In the same way, the water in our bodies functions as a conduit for the sounds we absorb, vibrating in response to the frequencies around us.”
Sound healing practitioners use tools, instruments and methods to produce remedial frequencies. At Luna Sound Healing, Audrey facilitates sound bathing, which involves a combination of Himalayan and crystal quartz singing bowls, tuning forks and breath work.
Aside from their emotional and spiritual effects, sound baths can treat a range of physical ailments including fibromyalgia, arthritis, digestive issues, insomnia, headaches and migraines.
There are numerous other forms of sound therapies, each with its own physical, mental, and emotional healing benefits. Through sound healing, the ultimate goal is to bring us back to ourselves and achieve a sense of oneness. “Being at ease is our most desired state of
being,” says Audrey. “This should be our baseline and we should always seek
to build and expand on that. “The sky is the limit and there is no reason why we can’t explore the infinite possibilities of what we can achieve and receive in our human experience.”
Singing bowls: For deep relaxation and muscle regeneration.
Gong bath: alleviate stress and remove emotional blockages.
Tuning fork: Stimulate the chi – our life force – and promote tranquility.
Chanting: can decrease stress, anxiety and depressive symptoms and boost mood and focus.
Classical music: releases dopamine and prevents the release of stress hormones.
Humming: can enhance sleep and reduce heart rate and blood pressure.
Guided meditation: induces a state of deep relaxation. it focuses your attention and eliminates jumbled thoughts that may cause stress.
Listening to nature: our brain interprets natural sounds as relaxing and non-threatening. This helps reduce our fight-or-flight response, lowers stress, and cultivates relaxation.
This article was originally published in Glamour’s August 2022 Women’s Month issue. Get your digital copy, here.