Music has been used to influence physical, emotional, cognitive, and social well-being for healthy people, as well as those who are disabled or ill. In Part 1 of this Focus on Wellness series, we focused on the definition and uses of sound healing and music therapy. In Part two, we focus on the different traditions and techniques.
Below are the most popular ones that are being used today:
Tibetan Singing Bowls have been used for centuries for healing and meditation purposes. They create a range of sounds to restore the normal vibratory frequencies of diseased and out-of-harmony parts of the body, mind, and soul. The sounds generated by Tibetan Singing Bowls are a type of energy medicine that promote healing from stress disorders, pain and depression. Healing is initiated through the synchronization of our brainwaves with the resonance of the bowls. Unique tones create the perfect state for deep meditation, creative thinking and intuitive messages.
Gongs are vibrational ancient tools. A gong bath or gong sound meditation is a sound massage for the body and mind (great for those of you who like the idea of a massage, but don’t like to be touched). The sound washes over you gently and creates resonance in the body.
Tuning Forks have been used for centuries to determine if an instrument is in tune. But who would have thought that it can also help in healing the body? A tuning fork plays a central role in vibration and sound therapy. Its healing properties are tied to the fork’s ability to create a resonance through the mind, body, and emotions. Once the fork is struck, its metal body starts to vibrate. When it does, the surrounding airspace vibrates with the same frequency. The vibration in the space is said to “alter” the body’s vibrational frequency, thus changing the biochemistry and restoring balance in the chakras.
Chanting, the first step to meditation, is also a means of maintaining health and well-being. Research shows that chanting can stabilize heart rate, lower blood pressure, improve circulation, produce endorphins and aid the process of metabolism. Chanting can also help the mind focus, which alleviates stress levels. For example, repeating the syllable “om,” considered one of the most important mantras in yoga, is said to foster a deep mental clarity and promote a sense of connectedness with a higher power. “Om” is said to be the primordial sound born with the universe. As we exhale the A-U-M, its vibration links us to the original source of creation.
Classical Music has been shown to increase the rate of development of synaptic connections in young children’s minds. It also helps fuel creativity and enhances joy in adults. Classical music can even help address physical ailments like high blood pressure and muscle tension.” via the healing power of sound.
Kirtan is a Sanskrit word that means “narrating, reciting, telling, describing” of an idea or story. You can think of it as a religious sing-along. Based on ancient chants, Kirtan is said to have the ability to quiet the mind if listened to with intention. In Kirtan, the performers are accessible—there is little distinction between performers & audience.The wallah (leader) sings the mantra, and the audience sings it back.A single chant can go on for up to forty minutes.As you sing with each other you experience a deep connection with the musicians, the other audience members and yourself.
Sound Baths relax our nervous system and activate right brain activity (creative, intuitive side). Our left brain (logical side) relaxes, resulting in less mind chatter. During our waking state, the normal frequency of our brain waves is that of Beta. During the sound bath the brain-waves move into the deeper Alpha and Theta brain-waves frequencies, where profoundly deep healing can occur. Some people might enter the Delta brain-wave state, which is the healing deep sleep frequency.
A dramatic expansion underway at Australia’s famed Peninsula Hot Springs will feature a large amphitheater where hundreds of people can watch plays, concerts and talks – while seven pools with underwater speakers (the Amphitheatre Bathing Bowl) will let people float in the hot springs while experiencing the music and performances.
Founder Charles Davidson notes, “Many of our experiences are story-driven…places where guests can be engaged in the experience…the Amphitheatre Bathing Bowl (is a) unique, open-air space for arts, culture, relaxation, health and wellbeing.”