Sound Therapy

After I give presentations on Sound Healing to groups, someone usually asks me for more information or a copy of the notes that I use.  For your convenience, I have included these notes below: 

We begin with:

A Few Basic Principles of Sound Healing

Today we are going to be talking about how sound can be used as a transformational tool to enhance health, wellness and to heighten your consciousness.

Let's just go over a couple basic principles of sound.

  • Everything is Vibration
  • Intent is Powerful
  • Silence is Golden
  • Our voice is a healing instrument


Everything is Vibration:

If you examine the basic tenants of ancient religious texts, you will find that they all speak of sound or vibration as being the original creative force in the universe. 

Old testament: Book of Genesis: And God Said, Let There be Light (sound preceding light)

New Testament: Book of John: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God

From the Vedas in the Hindu Tradition: In the Beginning was Brahman with whom was the Word. And the Word is Brahman. 

The ancient Egyptians believed that the god Thoth created the world by his voice alone.

The Hopi Indians tell the story of Spider Woman, who sang the Song of Creation over the inanimate forms on Earth, bringing them to life.

In the Australian Tradition, the sound of the Didgeridoo was responsible for creating the World.

Many African legends from different tribes tell of the origin of the world through sound.

According to the sacred Mayan text, The Popol Vuh, the first humans were given life solely through the power of Sound.

In Polynesia and the Far East, the gods and goddesses struck gongs or blew conch shells in order to create the world.

In addition to all these sacred texts and legends described, the ancient mystery schools of thousands of years ago in Rome, Athens, Egypt, India, China and Tibet had vast knowledge of the power of sound to heal .. all based on the understanding that vibration was the fundamental creative force of the universe.


A few words on 'frequency'...just because you can't hear a sound does not mean it isn't there. Sound is a wave which manifests as moving air which takes the vibration of an object and causes them to travel which in turn strikes our eardrums. (the brain process from then on is one I won't go into here). Science measures sound waves as cycles per second. That measurement of sound is called frequency. Slow cycles per second produce low , deep bass sounds and vice versa, fast produces treble sounds. To sum up..everyone according to various situations including age has an ability to hear a range of frequency. 

And, now modern physics, in fact, tells us that this dimension and others are actually composed of tiny strings that vibrate at different rates. From the electrons moving around the nucleus of an atom to the planets in distant galaxies revolving around stars, everything is in a state of vibration..therefore, at least conceptually, everything is creating sound whether we hear it or not. 

Resonance is the natural vibration of an object...the specific frequency at which it vibrates. Every object has a resonant frequency ...whether we hear it audibly or not.
There are 2 separate categories of resonance. 

The first is free resonance..when an object will only vibrate when it comes into contact with a frequency that exactly matches its own. (tuning forks an example)

The second category is called 'forced resonance". This occurs when one vibrating source produces vibrations in another object even if those two objects do not share the exact same frequency. Thus the vibrations of one can entrain or change those of the other. Vibrating sources that are the subject to the influence of “forced resonance” will resonate with many different frequencies. (water is an example of “forced resonance”).

Of importance in sound healing is that the human body is a complex vibratory system that also resonates in this manner (forced ) responding to all sorts of frequencies. Restoring the body's own resonant frequencies balance occurs and the healing is possible.

Another important principle of vibration is entrainment which is considered to be a sub-category of resonance. Entrainment is a phenomenon of sound in which powerful vibrations of one object actually change those of another, causing the second object to synchronize with the other. 

If you want to experience this immediately, simply take a few deep, long breaths. By slowing down your respiration this way, you are also moderating your heart rate and brain waves. Conversely when you slow down your brain waves, you also decrease your heart and respiration rates.

Brain Waves:
Our brains pulsate and vibrate, producing electromagnetic frequencies that can be measured, just like sound, in cycles per second (or Hz). In addition there are specific sound frequencies that influence our brain waves. Different brain wave activity has been correlated with a specific spectrum of frequencies, known as brain-wave states, going from about .5 Hz to 20hz:

Beta Waves (14-20 Hz) are found in our normal waking state of consciousness, and are present when our focus of attention is on activities of the external world.

Alpha Waves (8-13 Hz) occur when we daydream and are often associated with a state of meditation. Alpha waves become stronger and more regular when our eyes are closed.

Theta Waves (4-7 Hz) are found in states of high creativity and have been equated with levels of consciousness found in much shamanic work. Theta waves also occur in state of deep meditation and sleep.

Delta waves (5-3 Hz) occur in states of deep sleep or unconsciousness. Some of the newer brain-wave work indicates that deep meditation produces delta waves in conscious individuals. 

Two other delineations of brain-wave activity have been noted by some researchers.
High beta waves (20-30 Hz) are associated with hyperactivity and some types of anxiety.
Gamma Waves (30-80+ Hz) have been found in seasoned meditators. Gamma waves seem to indicate bursts of precognition or high-level information processing such as integration of ideas or experiences.

Sonic Entrainment
There are also sounds below our threshold of hearing known as ELFs (extremely low frequencies). It has been demonstrated that specific sonic frequencies can actually affect our brain waves. Robert Monroe of Monroe Institute did much of the pioneering research on this topic. 

The technology to affect and change brain-wave frequencies is generically known as sonic entrainment. The basic principle for creating sonic entrainment is this: If you take one frequency and put it in one ear an then take another frequency and put it in the other, the predominant lobes of the brain will resonate to a new frequency which is the difference between the first 2. An additional name for this phenomenon is a 'binaural beat frequency". 

Depending on the frequencies used, sonic entrainment has many varied applications including stress reduction, sleep enhancement, sharpened mental clarity and deep introspective thinking..all of which have healing potential.



Sound vs. Music
It is important for anyone exploring the arena of sound healing to realize that audible vibrations used for healing may not always have musical tones. So in other words, the single tones do not change or modulate with all the elements we have come to expect in music..such as melody, harmony and so forth. 

Scientists have speculated that the original creative sound --- what has been called the big bang --- was actually an extraordinarily deep note, much slower and deeper than anything that could possibly be heard. Some have referred to this as the 'cosmic hum' .. the vibration that manifested the universe from its resonance. So we come full circle... Everything is vibration. Everything in the universe vibrates, from cells to the stars. (Sound travels well in water, and because human body is largely composed of water, it is a great receptor and conductor of sound.) So therefore, Not only is everything in a state of vibration, but ultimately everything came from vibration. 

I already talked about how we 'hear' sound, but to go further on that...suffice to say that since nearly all the cranial nerves lead to the ear, our heart, lungs and digestion, for instance, are affected by what we hear. From a physiological point of view, listening to, say, the sacred sound of OM can positively influence how we feel and create a deep state of relaxation.

Let's continue into the more esoteric realm of Sound Healing 

Steve Halpern says, “Sound is a carrier wave of consciousness”

The energy we put into sound is perceived by our body and others.

Frequency + Intent = Healing (most effective when 50-50) (per Jonathan Goldman)

A definition of healing could be said to be 'as having to do with making something whole'.

Intent or intention with regard to sound means the energy behind the sound; the consciousness we have when making the sound which is ultimately received by the person listening to the sound. So with that belief, then it stands to reason that a person making a sound with a certain intention would affect the outcome of the sound. Example have you ever had a person say something to you like... “it was great seeing you” and you feel like cringing? Although the words spoken were positive, the intent and then the outcome of the sound was quite differently. 

Sound is a subtle energy. Subtle energy is understood in western science as any energy that can't properly or adequately be measured and understood. This would include not only, 'sound healing', but all energy work such as Reiki, Quantum Touch, light therapy, etc. 

A major key in understanding sound as a subtle energy is the phenomenon of 'harmonics'. The color of sound. Every sound that occurs in nature is actually a composite of multiple frequencies called harmonics or overtones. Just as white light is composed of all the colors of the spectrum, so the sounds that we hear... including the tone of our voice, are in reality the multiple sounds of harmonics. Harmonics are responsible for the timbre or color tone of instruments and our voice. Even though we aren't conscious of it, harmonics have affected us all our life. 

An overview of harmonics.... whenever a sound is created such as that of a string being plucked, myriad other subtle tones...harmonics...simultaneously occur along with that first fundamental frequency of the string. So the second harmonic vibrates twice as fast as the first. The third harmonic vibrates 3x as fast the next, 4x as fast and so on. All these sounds blend together creating the tone color of the note. As they increase vibrating faster and faster (into infinity?) they become more subtle in nature. A lot of people believe that much of the healing power of sound is due to the harmonics. 

Silence is Golden
Now lets look to silence and its importance. In reality, silence is the yin to the sound's yang. The polar opposite. And equally important. Jonathan Goldman says that he tells his students that silence is really the place that gives sound the opportunity to create healing. It's the space where the transformational work of frequency shifting happens and change occurs. 

Our Voice Is A Healing Instrument 
Some believe that our voice is the most healing instrument there is because our voice is the most natural way to project healing sounds . Studies show that when people express pain through sound, the sound lessons the pain. Example: What do you do when you hurt usually make a sound .. ow!! This is a bit like an example we talk about in our Quantum Touch workshops...when you bang your knee, not only does sound come out of your mouth, you instinctively touch the spot with your hands...(the palm of the hand where energy flows from).

The use of the voice for healing is called toning..the oldest, most natural form of sound healing. Sound puts you in harmony and balance and alignment..both physical and mental. 

Toning is the sounding of elongated vowels such as 'ah' or single-syllable sounds such as 'om.' Tibetan monks beautifully use the human voice to produce overtones. It is believed that these overtones when sung and heard, help to heal the inner being on a physical and spiritual (soul) level.

If 2 people or more tone together, a 3rd tone appears ..called overtones. Musically speaking, an overtone is the harmonic that occurs when a tone is struck. 

Simply, overtones are the resulting unstruck tones that occur when a tone is struck or activated. For example, an “OM” tuning fork produces a low, struck tone (68.5 hz) and subsequent higher tones. These higher tones are 'overtones.” 

Overtones are always present even though we may not hear them. The body in its natural intelligence is able to assimilate all these overtones and utilize these healing properties on a vibratory level. 

(Before we continue ... note that overtones exist in the animal kingdom...crickets, bees, etc). Singing bowls, gongs, bells, digeridoos, tuning forks

Through toning you can learn to find frequency that works the best to resonate with you. Another reason why your voice is the most healing instrument is that it is the most easiest and effective way to project intention. It is much easier to put intention in a sound you are making yourself than to project it into a machine or instrument you may be holding and applying to someone else. 

The next time you have a bellyache try forming an 'oh' sound and gently focusing your attention on the part of your stomach that hurts while projecting the tone down there. The more you practice making sounds resonate with different parts of your body, the easier it will be. 

There is currently a lack of scientific research as to why this happens. Some think it may be because self-created sounds help our bodies release various chemicals and hormones including dopamine, serotonin and endorphins. Many of these neurochemicals relieve pain. 

A less validated explanation for the effectiveness of toning is that people can learn to localize the specific resonance of their tones in different parts of their bodies. Using the principle of resonance, this can cause that which was vibrating out of harmony to come back into alignment. 

None of this has anything to do with carrying a tune, I might add. Remember ... frequency + intent = healing...using sound to change vibrational rates which we refer to as entrainment. Most people are not aware or have forgotten the remarkable natural ability of our voice for healing. Each of us have a voice and we can use it ..through toning to balance ourselves and create health. 

If 2 people or more tone together, a 3rd tone appears ..called overtones. Musically speaking, an overtone is the harmonic that occurs when a tone is struck. Simply, overtones are the resulting un-struck tones that occur when a tone is struck or activated. Or example, an “OM” tuning fork produces a low, struck tone (68.5 hz) and subsequent higher tones. These higher tones are 'overtones.” Overtones are always present even though we may not hear them. The body in its natural intelligence is able to assimilate all these overtones and utilize these healing properties on a vibratory level. 

When 2 or more people work with sacred sound, not only do we heal ourselves, we enhance the connection between others and send out waves that affect the vibratory level of the planet Vocal toning the Chakras can be used for personal and planetary healing.

Toning The Chakras

One of the most profound experiences you can have with your own voice is through the resonance of your Chakras. The word Chakra is a Sanskrit term meaning 'wheel'. They are perceived as spinning discs of light by those with the ability to see subtle energy. They are found in many traditions including Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism.

There are 7 main Chakras located centrally in the front and back of the body. Although they are found in many spiritual practices, the Chakras seem to be based not on religion but on awareness of energy. Scientific instruments are beginning t be able to record and validate their existence (see research of Valerie Hunt in her book, Infinite Mind)

We can balance and align our Chakras using our voice to resonate the Chakras thereby enhancing our own self-healing..which keeps us in vibrational harmony. This can also be seen as a form of preventative medicine. 

The following Chakra exercises are based on Jonathan Goldman's “Vowels as Mantras”.

1st Chakra – root or base Chakra located at base of spine. Involved with physical process of elimination and the organs associated with that. Also associated with the energy of survival, and security and grounding to physical plane

Vowel sound is the deepest “uh” that you can make (as in the word huh). It ought to be soft and gentle as should all the sounds you will be making throughout the exercises.

Focus your attention on the lowest part of your body and project your intention for the sound to resonate at the base of your spine. Feel it vibrating that area, and as it does, become aware that the energy center associated with that region is also resonating and becoming balanced and aligned with your sounds. Make this “uh” sound 7 times.

2nd Chakra – “Sacral” located 2-3 inches below the naval. Energy associated with sexual and reproductive organs, desire and creativity.

Vowel for this Chakra is “ooo” (as in the word you). Begin to intone an “ooo” sound making it little less deep and slightly higher in pitch than the last one. Focus your attention on the area of the Chakra and project the sound into it. As it resonates the 2nd Chakra, experience this energy center balancing and aligning with the first Chakra. Make this “ooo” sound 7 times.

3rd Chakra – Solar Plexus Chakra located at the navel and a little above. Energy associated with digestion and digestive organs along with power and mastery of self.

Vowel sound for this Chakra is “oh” (as in the word go). Begin to intone a very gentle and soft 'oh' sound which should fall within the midrange of your voice and be slightly higher in pitch than the last Chakra. Focus your attention on your naval and project the sound to this area. As it resonates there, experience this energy center balancing and aligning with the other Chakras. Make this 'oh' sound 7 times.

4th Chakra .. 'heart' Chakra located in middle of chest. On the physical level, it works with the lungs and the heart. Emotionally and spiritually, it's associated with the energy of compassion and love.

The vowel sound for this Chakra is “ah” (as in the word ma). “AH” is often a sound we make when we're in love, and indeed the heart Chakra is the center associated with this emotion. Begin to intone a soft and gentle midrange “ah” sound, higher in pitch than the last one. Focus your attention on your heart Chakra and project the sound there. As you resonate your Chakra with sound, experience this energy center now being balanced and aligned with the other Chakras. Make this “ah” sound 7 times.

5th Chakra ~ 'throat' Chakra located in throat area. It's the energy center associated with the process of communication, speech and hearing as well as the ears and vocal apparatus.

The vowel sound for this Chakra is 'eye' (as in the word my). Begin to intone a soft and gentle “eye” sound, which is still higher in pitch than the last Chakra. Focus your attention on the throat Chakra and project sound there. As you do so, experience this energy center balancing and aligning with the other Chakras. Make this 'eye' sound 7 times.

6th Chakra ~ third eye or brow Chakra. Located in the forehead between the eyes and slightly above them. Corresponds with imagination, psychic abilities and opening to spiritual awareness. Mental activity and brain functions also associated with it.

Vowel sound is “aye” (as in the word may). Begin to intone a soft and gentle 'aye' sound higher in pitch than the last Chakra. Focus your attention on it and project the sound to the forehead area. As it resonates with the 3rd eye, experience this energy aligning and balancing with your other Chakras. Make the 'aye' sound 7 times.

7th Chakra – Crown located at the top of your head. Associated with complete resonance of spiritual energy. Said to control every aspect of the body and mind. Normally not fully open in most humans. Pictures of saints and other spiritual beings with halos are indications of an activated crown Chakra, wherein the individual becomes the embodiment of full enlightenment and union with God.

The vowel sound for this Chakra is the very highest 'eee' that you can make. (as in the word me) Begin to intone a soft and gentle 'eee' (for men it may be helpful to use a falsetto voice to achieve this). Focus your attention on your crown Chakra and project sound into this area. As it resonates the crown Chakra, experience this energy center being balanced and aligned with the other Chakras. Make this 'eee' sound 7 times.

Now remain silent and meditate. 


End of Presentation




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