Sound and Vibration Therapy 101

Healing through vibration

What is sound therapy?

Sound therapy is a healing modality that has been utilized by various cultures throughout history, including within the Tibetan, Himalayan, Indigenous Australian, Ancient Egyptian, and Ancient Greek societies; where music and repetitive sounds were used as a means to treat a variety of physical and mental conditions.  

The basis of sound therapy is that sound can impact the body on a cellular level; often stimulating the cells contained within each part of the body. Certain sounds can actually create harmony within an imbalanced or disorganized cell by realigning it to its natural rate of vibration or vibrational frequency.

What is vibration?

When we’re talking about sound and specifically sound therapy, we have to talk about vibration. Sound IS vibration. Vibration is defined as the forward and backward motion of objects in space. When objects vibrate, they create waves and those waves can produce sounds as they travel through the medium of air. We can hear, feel, and absorb the sounds as a result of this process.

Based on the type of sounds we hear, we may notice our own positive reaction or negative reaction to them. We may be pleased or displeased by the sounds. A lot of this has to do with our personal likes, dislikes, unique level of sensitivity, and our own particular vibrational frequencies. Yes, everything in the universe vibrates – including our own bodies! And that vibration can be quantified and measured in terms of frequency.

Related to vibration is resonance. Resonance is a concept in physics describing the phenomenon of two objects of like natural frequency, coming together and amplifying each other’s vibrations. Another aspect of this principle is called sympathetic resonance which helps explain how if you strike a tuning fork, it will cause another nearby, similarly-pitched tuning fork to vibrate as well.

In life, we use the term “resonate with” as a way to describe something we connect to; something that feels relatable and personally important to us. It’s almost as if we’re saying, “Yes, I resonate with that. It’s an energetic match for me!”

And yet, we don’t always resonate with everything or everyone around us. You can see this play out in your day to day relationships; if someone around you is in a cranky, bad mood it may trigger a negative reaction within yourself, just by virtue of proximity. Or, if you happen to interact with them when you’re in a really good mood, you may be able to uplift them and shift their emotional state. Either way, your energies can have an effect on one another. You can pick up on someone’s negative “vibes” in the same way that you can pick up on their positive ones. Overall, the concepts of vibration and resonance affect us in many ways, every day.

How does sound therapy work?

The goal of a sound therapy session is to restore harmony within the body through the use of vibration and sound. In a sound therapy session, which is also referred to as sound meditation or even sound healing, the chakras of the body (which each have their own resonant frequency or rate of vibration) will sync up with particular sounds emanating from the sound therapy instrument of choice. This can help to release blockages and reset the flow of energy throughout the body.

The frequencies we refer to when discussing the chakras are the solfeggio frequencies and they are measured in units of hertz (Hz). For example, the root chakra may resonate with (and best respond to) a frequency of 194.18 Hz, while the solar plexus chakra may resonate with (and best respond to) a frequency of 126.22 Hz.

Because of the different frequencies of each chakra, sound therapy practitioners will utilize different instruments for different purposes. These instruments can include tuning forks, singing bowls, shamanic drums, gongs, chimes, bells, and more. The instrument chosen will have a particular frequency which can help balance out one or more of the chakras. This is done through the process of entrainment; when two rhythmic vibrations influence each other and fall in sync. This is similar to the way our breathing will synchronize with the person sleeping next to us.

Whatever sort of sound therapy you are participating in, you will most likely be sitting or lying down somewhere comfortable. The practitioner (or yourself if you’re performing sound healing on your own body) will stand around you and play their instrument or tool of choice, like a singing bowl.

Singing bowls are actually inverted bells and have been used for centuries for healing purposes. Tibetan Singing Bowls are made of brass and can be played by intentionally moving a mallet around the bowl while pressing against its outer edge. Crystal or metal singing bowls are often used in group meditations or sound healing sessions.

During a sound healing session, the practitioner may guide you through a meditation but usually you do not need to do anything other than close your eyes, relax, and take in the sounds around you. This is why sound therapy sessions are often called sound baths; you, in a sense, bathe in the sounds; allowing them to wash over you.

In the example of a singing bowl therapy session, the practitioner will play the bowls on or around your body, lining up with each chakra. If there is any imbalance within your energy, due to stress or negativity, there may be a blockage within the chakra. The sounds coming through the therapeutic singing bowl can affect the body on a cellular level, moving the body back into harmony and its natural flowing state.

During a sound healing session, you may feel a deep sense of relaxation and may even fall asleep. Some people experience vivid daydreams during sound therapy sessions and use the time to practice creative visualization. There’s no right way to participate in a sound therapy session. The only thing you have to do is be present!

What are the benefits of sound therapy?

After a sound healing session, you may notice a variety of different benefits, including a boosted mood and an overall sense of calm and relaxation. This is because sound therapy stimulates the body’s parasympathetic system, which can regulate one’s breath and heart rate; creating a sense of overall peace and harmony within the mental, emotional, and physical bodies.

Sound therapy is also a great way to clear blocked energy within our different chakras and bring the physical, mental, and emotional bodies back into balance. There are many other positive benefits to sound therapy and more are continually being discovered through research. For example, there have been studies showing the impact sound healing has on insomnia, chronic pain, and a variety of other medical conditions. This is why sound healing is sometimes referred to as “vibrational medicine.”

How can you try sound therapy out for yourself?

There are many ways to practice sound therapy and try it out for yourself. Of course, there are professional sound healers and therapists with whom you can book one-on-one private sessions. Sound therapy can also be practiced in a group setting, such as a healing drum circle, sound bath, or sound healing workshop.

You can even practice sound therapy at home. Tuning forks are some of the best sound therapy tools to use on your own or with a partner. By using specific tuning forks that resonate with the frequency of each of your chakras, you can clear and rebalance energy blockages in the body. When activating a tuning fork, you should hold it by its stem and strike it with a mallet. This will produce a pure sound from the tuning fork in a particular tone which resonates with one or more of your chakras. The tuning fork can be placed directly on the body or you can hover it above the corresponding chakra; allowing the vibrations to soothe and realign your energy.

There are many different resources available for those who are curious about trying sound therapy. In practice, it can be as simple as playing relaxing music in your headphones, participating in an online sound healing session, or by utilizing tools like the Chakra Tuning Fork Set or Tibetan Singing Bowls. Nowadays, it can be quite easy to practice sound therapy for yourself!

Disclaimer:  Please consult a healthcare professional for any medical advice. The information in this article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or condition.