Every year many of the health and wellness websites publish their lists of trends to watch and, if you pay attention to these, you will most likely have seen sound healing as something that is currently noted as ‘trending’. It’s a little ironic given that sound healing is actually an ancient art and has been practiced for many thousands of years to help realign the body’s vibration, improve mental health issues and emotional wellbeing and even heal physical ailments. But there is no denying that with all the chaos going on in the world right now, we all could do with a little healing. And sound healing happens to be one of my favorite healing modalities (which is why I’ve now added sound healing sequences into the Aligned Life Studio with expert healer Chrystal Natal. So I wanted to give you a little primer on sound healing – what it is, how it works, how it can help and whether it is for you.
Using sound to promote healing and wellbeing has actually been around pretty much as long as humanity has records. There are indications that the indigenous Australian Aboriginal people used their ancient didgeridoo in healing rituals as long as 40,000 years ago and the ancient Egyptians also utilised sound healing, with the pyramids being designed to create sound chambers. But sound (and music) therapy is far more wide-ranging than this. From Tibetan singing bowls, shamanic drums, vocal chanting, and so much more, there's a form of sound healing to be found in virtually every culture worldwide and throughout history.
Whatever the method, the concept is that the sound creates vibrations that relax your mind and body. Some people – and I am one of them based on my experiences - believe these vibrations can also relieve certain ailments, including anxiety and insomnia. Sound healers say that it works by lowering blood pressure, improving circulation and reducing respiratory rates. The idea is that water – which is what our bodies are largely made up of – is a great conductor for sound vibration. And when sound vibrations travel through the body, they promote circulation, energy flow and rejuvenation. Sound healers also contend the frequency of the sound can also synchronize with the brainwaves and activate de-stressing responses in the body. The science is not so conclusive - while there are plenty of studies on the benefits of music and meditation on well-being, few large-scale clinical studies have looked at sound healing in particular.
While I always dig into the science around any healing modality I might be studying, I also try to listen to myself. In my experience, if we can just get out of the way, our bodies tend to know what is right for them. And what I know is that sound healing has been hugely beneficial for me. If you're not sure you believe in the magical curative powers of sound, just think about your favourite song or musical track and how it immediately works as a mood-booster.
While it might not yet have been scientifically proven, there is evidence that sound baths, binaural beats and music therapy can be effective for healing, as it encourages relaxation and brings your body into a parasympathetic state. In this state, our bodies produce nitric oxide, which opens blood vessels, increases the efficiency of our cells, and regulates blood pressure - all things that will aid your healing response. In other words, anything that helps you enter a more relaxed state will help reduce inflammation and boost your healing response, which will immediately benefit your physical and mental health.
As this ancient art is being rediscovered, sound healers are finding that sound and music can help treat a range of mental, emotional, and even physical ailments, including depression, anxiety, PTSD and even behavioural and psychiatric disorders. It is also showing promise in healing people with autism and learning disorders. And some practitioners are even reporting positive outcomes in helping with pain and even treating certain cancers.
Why is sound healing having a moment now?
In my opinion, part of the recent popularity of sound healing is down to the general increase of interest in all things “wellness” right now. There’s also been the endorsement of celebrities like Charlize Theron and Robert Downey Jr. who both are fans, resulting in media attention.
So what does it actually feel like?
Obviously everyone reacts differently, but in my experience I feel incredibly calm after a session and usually experience a profound sense of well-being. It’s not unlike the feeling you have after a very long and very deep meditation. But, like many of us, I find that finding the time and headspace for a very long meditation is challenging. Sound healing almost ‘accelerates’ me to that same state – even if I am just listening to a sound healing sequence on my headphones for 15 minutes. When I am lucky enough to have a full hour long session with a healer playing the Tibetan Singing Bowls over my body (my fave!), the feeling is just… bliss.
So is sound healing for you?
Let’s face it, modern-day life is pretty damn stressful, and if you’ve tried other ways to relax with little success, this might help. In fact, some people find it less challenging than meditation because the sound keeps their mind occupied, making it easier to enter into deep states of calm. So I encourage you to give it a try. You can start off with the brand new sequences in the Aligned Life Studio here.
Alternatively find a local sound healer on WellSet (which provides a comprehensive search for local practitioners) Or just jump on YouTube and try some of the sequences you’ll find there.
Here’s to raising the vibration – and that is exactly what sound healing can do!