In recent years we have seen an increase in interest in alternative medicine and perhaps it is precisely because technology is advancing so rapidly that we seek old knowledge in the natural world to counterbalance this trend.
Applications for meditation are growing, yoga studios open up in every corner, but more importantly, perceptions about alternative forms of medicine have changed and it is now normal to discuss energy flows and quantum principles.
Despite some claims that Sound Therapy, also known as Healing for Sound, is only a New Age hippie movement, healing for sound has been around for a long time; thousands of years to be precise.
The first recorded traditions date back thousands of years, when the native Aboriginal people of Australia used their famous musical instrument, the didgeridoo (or Yidaki-pronounces “Gidaki”), in their healing ceremonies and as a means of entering into an almost hypnotic state.
Later in Asia, when Shinto and Tibetan Buddhism became popular philosophies, the sounds of huge gongs and tiny metal bowls were considered sacred, and these early instruments were obligatory for all religious ceremonies so that the monks could attain this meditative state of inner peace.
Ancient Egyptians who were considered at the time the most healthy race believed that a person can only be properly healed holistically through a combination of medicinal practices, and sound therapy was an integral part of the healing process. Healers often played drums and percussion and sang seven special vowels for the sick in order to complement the medicinal effects of the herbs they gave to their patients.
Contemporary for the Egyptians, in Greece the famous “father of mathematics” Pythagoras was also one of the earliest of the ancient Greek philosophers who wrote about the nature of music. For him, music was not only the purest divine form of mathematics, but also God’s way of healing some anxieties and diseases. Legend has it that Pythagoras was a fan of stringed instruments for healing and warned his disciples to avoid the sound of the flute, which he considered to be evil.
Perhaps it is good that Pythagoras did not have the chance to travel to South America, because at the time the Mayan shamans believed that the flute was sacred – it was one of their favorite instruments for shamanic rituals and healing.
The Basics Behind Sound Therapy
Classical physics states that all material things in the universe are made of atoms and tiny particles that are constantly in motion, a phenomenon we call vibration.
The word vibration comes from the Latin word for “trembling.” In other words, every material object (including ourselves) has its own vibration.
Every vibration has a frequency which is the vibration rate per second. If you are wondering, we can not exactly measure the frequency of our body because each organ works on a different frequency and also varies among individuals.
Also by definition, sound is vibration in the mechanical wave form that propagates through a medium that we can clearly observe in water, for example. It is different when we speak of sound in relation to our physiology, which is the perception of our brain of this mechanical wave with our body acting as the medium of propagation.
Another interesting notion in physics is called resonance, where one wave can modulate the frequency of another wave. Have you noticed what happens if you throw two stones of the same size simultaneously in a pond of water? What if the stones are not the same size?
Frequencies, vibrations, and resonances are some of the key principles that guide sound healing practitioners who study the effects of hearing specific frequency sounds in the human body and brain.
Reality or Pseudoscience?
In the last two decades, interest in sound therapy has increased exponentially.
A growing number of books, numerous scientific studies, and a worldwide boom in sound therapy training schools suggest that healing by sound may not be a pseudoscience, as many skeptics have already convinced.
On the contrary, it may be the only cure for some patients. Studies show that sound therapy treatment succeeds in areas where traditional medicine fails, as is the curious case of tinnitus, also known as ringing in the ears.
Whether we choose to believe in sound therapy or not, we all agree that hearing specific sounds has a very real effect on the body. After all, do not you feel calmer and more relaxed when you’re on the beach listening to the sea for hours and hours?