What is Sound Healing Therapy?

  •   Danielle L’Ami

Sounds are everywhere. Some sounds even occur at frequencies we cannot detect. It’s in the windchimes you buy for your front porch, the relaxing sound of rainfall that helps you  fall asleep at night, and the little sounds you hear randomly that seem to take away your anxiety or relax your body just to name a few.

Sound can have a significant impact on our bodies and brains, and it can even be harnessed to help us heal. But why do some sounds make us feel better? 



The Vibrations Of the Universe


To understand the healing potential of sound, we must first understand how sound affects us. There is evidence that “[our] body is composed of energy-producing particles, each in constant motion.” Thus, along with everything else in the universe,  we vibrate, allowing us to absorb and exchange energy with our surroundings.

We are all a living energy field: from our heart beat to cells vibrating in our body. It is believed that these vibrations create electromagnetic energy, which in turn cause changes in our cells and potentially the way our body functions.

To get an idea of how these vibrations from sound cause physical effects, I encourage you to watch the following clip relating to cymatics, otherwise known as the study of sound and vibration made visible. This particular video uses water. .

One cannot underestimate the powerful effects that sound and vibration can have on our bodies especially when considering that we are made up of approximately 60% water and our brains are around 73% water. Also, don’t forget the impact that staying hydrated has on the body; you can read more of the Health Benefits of Water here.



What is Sound Healing?


Sound healing, also known as “sound bathing” or “sound meditation,” is a practice that uses vibrations (either from the voice or instruments) to relax the mind and body. It allows the body to be restored and healed on systemic, cellular, mental, and even emotional levels. Sound healing involves different frequencies and vibrations that directly impact the body.

The belief is that certain sounds can promote relaxation, relieve anxiety and stress, and may even aid in releasing us from emotional trauma. Some also believe it can also help with sleep disorders, depression, PTSD, and pain management. 

One study even showed that exposure to sound at low frequency (40 Hz)  was able to help individuals with fibromyalgia improve their pain and sleep quality. This is one of many sound frequencies that can promote healing, and we will explore more of these frequencies below. 



Different Sound Frequencies


There are sound frequencies, including the Solfeggio frequencies,  that are used to promote specific reactions within the body. These Solfeggio frequencies date back to ancient times and are most widely recognized in Gregorian Monk chants (here is an example). These frequencies were rediscovered by physician and researcher, Dr. Joseph Puleo who used mathematical numeral reduction to identify which tones help bring the body back into balance for healing.

Typically, there are at least six specific Solfeggio frequencies that relate directly to healing, each with a different effect on the body. 174 Hz may relate to the reduction of stress and pain, and according to mindisthemaster.com,  285 Hz works to “activate the body into cellular regeneration, encouraging it to heal itself in the event of an injury.” Sound at 432 Hz is capable of slowing down the heart rate while 528 Hz, often called the miracle frequency, has been shown to reduce stress and reduce the toxic effects of ethanol on brain cells

That isn’t to say that other frequencies cannot be used in your healing practice. For example, a study showed that sound pulsing at 40 Hz in combination with flickering light was able to reduce the expression of the plaques associated with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia suffer from altered gamma oscillations. The belief is that the flickering sensation will retrain the nerves of the brain to come back to the same frequency, and thus restore that lost connection.

Many different frequencies are also related directly to the different Chakras or energy centers within the body. In some cases, you may choose a frequency to help release negative energy, as 417Hz is believed to do.

If you are looking to relax and unwind, then honestly, almost any sound frequency will do. You just need to enjoy what you are listening to, so pick a sound and/or instrument you like and relax.

To gain a better idea of what sound healing therapy involves, I invite you to watch and listen to this short clip.



How Do You Heal Through Sound?


There are many ways to approach healing through the use of sound. Mindbodygreen.com states that the use of sound bathing helps the brain to synchronize its brainwaves to one stable frequency. This can in turn allow the mind to shift from an active state associated with stress and worry to being relaxed, meditative, and even shifting towards sleep where internal physical healing takes place. 

In one study involving Tibetan singing bowls used in a sound meditation session, the results showed significant wellness benefits including less anger, fatigue, tension, and even depressed mood. This effect was even greater for the people in this study who had never been exposed to sound healing therapy meaning it’s never too late to give sound healing a try. 

Another article identifies the benefits of singing either by yourself or in a group such as a choir. The people conducting the study found that singing can increase feelings of happiness (and social connectedness when done in a group) while decreasing feelings of stress. Additionally, singing was increased with lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. 



Final Thoughts


Sound healing therapy can come in a variety of forms. Some feel better after a yoga session involving meditation and singing bowls, others sit on the front porch during a thunderstorm to feel re-energized, and some listen to their favorite music to improve mood.  

And while we already know that music can have a significant impact on our brain, as we stated in our post on 7 Ways to Improve Your Brain Health, to say that it can also heal our bodies, we think, that’s pretty amazing. So, why not explore some sound healing therapy and see what works for you?



Additional - The Different Instruments Used in Sound Healing Therapy


There is more than one way to receive sound healing therapy. Some prefer a voice to accompany an instrument, others prefer an instrument alone. Here are a few of the most common instruments used:

  • Tibetan or crystal singing bowl
  • Meditation gong
  • Chimes
  • Harp
  • Didgeridoo
  • Tuning fork
  • Flute
  • Hammered dulcimer
  • Drums
  • Shaker

To learn what many of these instruments sound like, check out thedailymeditation.com which has videos of the instruments being played. In some cases, such as with a tuning fork, there is a specific sound frequency used.


Danielle L’Ami

Danielle L’Ami is a logophile who writes her passion and loves to connect with others through her thoughts and personal experiences. When she is not writing, you can find her watching hockey with her husband, torturing her children with new recipes, or practicing yoga to keep herself balanced.

My Toolbox Genomics empowers individuals in their healthcare journey by creating reports focused on genetic predispositions derived from published research. Test results and suggestions are intended to lead to consultation with one’s healthcare practitioner. MyTBG reports do not diagnose disease or medical conditions. Any lifestyle changes should result from consultation with qualified healthcare practitioners.