Good Vibrations: The Healing Power of Sound

Good Vibrations: The Healing Power of Sound








Looking to set the tone for a healing experience? The power of sound might strike just the right chord. From the human voice, to the cadence of birdsong, to the timbre of a musical instrument, sounds can soothe us and help heal our ailments. Sounds affect how we feel at any given moment, by turns invigorating, irritating, uplifting, or relaxing us. Consider, for example, the wide range of feelings evoked by classical music, rap, or rock ’n’ roll. Likewise, our mood has a powerful effect on our physical state of being.

A discipline called sound therapy has emerged to study the effect of sound on our wellbeing. Part of a larger field called vibrational medicine, sound therapy specifically examines the role of the human voice and resonating objects in healing. The practice of chanting during yoga and meditation, and the sounds made by things like tuning forks and “singing” bowls are a few ancient examples. The idea is that we respond to different vibrations that produce sounds discernible to the human ear.

Everything in nature – including every aspect of the human body – vibrates at a certain frequency, called resonance. Vibrational medicine contends that physical and mental diseases are the result of disruption to our natural resonance. Thus, carefully chosen sounds can restore both our mind and our body.

The east-meets-west philosophy behind sound therapy has, to greater or lesser extent, already entered mainstream medicine. That calming music you hear at your doctor’s office isn’t just playing to help you pass the time while you wait; in many cases, a great deal of thought has gone into choosing it. Some specialists, such as oncologists, cardiologists, neurologists and others, play music and sounds with ancient roots, as an additional means to promote healing. Since certain types of music and vibrational sounds are proven stress reducers, this approach is designed to treat the whole patient, not just the isolated part that’s ill.

Sound therapy is useful in everyday life, not just in treating serious illnesses. Anyone who’s ever had a bad day can attest to the mood-boosting power of music. Even the simple sounds of nature can soothe jangled nerves; that’s a key reason for the popularity of recordings of thunderstorms, babbling brooks, or waves crashing on the beach. Sound has the power to transport us to another space, helping to make us whole in the process.

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