Sound Healing has been around for thousands of years. Put simply, it is the use of sound, in many and varied forms to bring about a change in the vibration of the cells of the body, which in turn promotes healing. Our bodies are wonderful creations, and they need only a little stimulation in order to start the process of self-healing. Any medical practitioner will agree that the actual act of healing is all done from within the body, although it is often necessary to support and encourage the body to begin the process. For example, extreme pain will block any attempts by your mind to relax sufficiently for healing to take place. Therefore, pain relieving drugs and procedures are often necessary.
Everything in the known universe has been proven to be in a state of constant flux and motion. This movement, or vibration is energy. Our thought processes produce energy: our bodies produce electromagnetic energy; We produce sounds with our voices, and in other ways as humans, through the playing of musical instruments for example. The sound-waves resulting from any activity represent kinetic energy, or potential energy. Sound therapy works by aligning the vibrations of the body and mind with the energy of the universe. We use phrases like “being in tune with…” or “walking to the same beat as…” without really looking at the meaning of the phrase. This is because humans seem to instinctively know that when the vibration of the cells in their own bodies matched the vibrations around them, they feel good!
Sound healing is especially beneficial for our emotional and mental health and has far more, and further reaching, effects on this than simply putting on an uplifting tune to improve your mood. Neuroscience has shown that it is perfectly possible to create new neural pathways in the human brain, which is how Hypnosis works. A lot of our thoughts and behaviors take place initially in our subconscious minds, and one of the benefits of sound healing is that its tones and resonances reach into this area without any effort on our part.
There are many articles available on sound healing but if you want a brief overview check out this post.
What Instruments are used for Sound Healing?
The Human Voice
The most obvious “instrument” used in sound healing is the human larynx or “voicebox”. Studies have shown that humming through the nose can increase the production of nitric oxide, a key component in a healthy immune system and also in the relief of nasal congestion.
You do not need to have any musical ability in order to be able to use your voice to produce sounds that are healing. Chanting, including the well-known Gregorian Chant, utilizes six tones, known as Solfeggio, to align and balance various areas of the body, which also, incidentally, correspond to the Chakras of Ayurvedic and Yogic traditions.
Tibetan Singing Bowls
The Tibetan Singing bowls or Himalayan bowls are robust, being made of a combination of between five to seven precious metals that correspond to the planets of our galaxy. They come in many different sizes and most people find that they learn the technique of playing them quite quickly. Buddhist monks have used the deeply calming rich resonance of Tibetan Singing Bowls throughout the ages as an aid to deep meditation. You can check this guide on how to choose your first singing bowl. Follow my channel for videos on the use of various healing sound instruments.
Crystal Singing Bowls
These bowls are more delicate and fragile than the metal ones, and can be purchased individually or in sets of seven, with each one tuned to the frequency of each of the seven chakras, or singly if you prefer. The Crystal bowls are made of pure quartz and produce a very soothing, angelic sound. The purity and sweetness of the tones produced by a Crystal singing Bowl induces deep relaxation and feelings of well-being. Due to the strong and intense sound that they create, Crystal bowls together with the gongs are one of the most widely used sound healing instruments in sound baths.
There is nothing quite long the experience of being totally immersed in the deep resonance of a gong bath! Most people describe the effect as a “shaking up and clearing out” of negative energies from both mind and body. Gongs are ancient instruments as they first appeared in the 6th century CE, in the area of Tibet and had been used in spiritual ceremonies and religious rituals. Gongs come in various shapes and sizes.
Most people find that, even if they have no musical training, cannot read music or play any other sort of instrument, they love beating a drum. Shamanic Drums, Native American Drums, Tongue and Ocean Drums can all be used in sound healing, either by the individual or by a sound healing practitioner.
Tuning Forks, which emit sound at specific frequencies are often used by therapists to address energy blockages in the meridian and chakra systems, thus enabling the body to begin healing itself.
Koshi wind chimes are tuned to perfection to enhance the healing power of nature. They create a positive flow of energy which enhances the benefits of the Universal Life Force energy which is all around us.
Used by Australian Aboriginal peoples for thousands of years, this strange looking instrument is sometimes described as a natural trumpet or “drone pipe”. Generally, the longer the pipe the deeper the tones emitted, and its effects on the mind and body can be likened to those experienced during a gong bath.
The monochord is an ancient, stringed instrument, allegedly invented by Pythagoras, who was intrigued by the mathematical correspondences of the sound waves it emitted, and how they corresponded to vibrations within the body. A Monochord session is best described as a sonic massage, encouraging deep relaxation and the release of tension.
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Handpan / Tongue Drum
Sometimes referred to a Tongue Drum, the Handpan in its basic form consists of two metal half-shells glued together. The center tone field is called a Ding, and this is surrounded by a circle of at least seven different tone fields on the upper side, or shell, and an opening on the underside called a Gu. These Hand pans or drums come in a wide variety of sizes and can be played alone or in concert with other drummers.
Native American Flute
The music of the Native American Flute is widely used in meditation compilations and for deep relaxation. The tones of the flute slow down brain wave frequencies and bring both mind and body into a state of trance. It is during this state that healing begins to take place as the conscious mind lets go of conditioning and negative thought patterns so that new, more positive, ones can take their place.
A rainstick is a long, hollow tube partially filled with small pebbles of beans. Inside the hollow tube small pins or thorns are arranged in a helical pattern and when the stick is upended or shaken the pebbles or bean bounce off the internal protrusions and a sound like falling rain is produced. It is both easy to play and soothing to listen to.
The Crystal Harp consists of a series of crystal tubes, usually quartz, arranged in accordance to their proposed function on two rails, usually of wood. The Harp itself is played somewhat like a xylophone, with a rubber ended mallet. The crystals resonate in a similar way to Crystal Singing Bowls.
Find Crystal Harp on Amazon
Crystal Singing Pyramids
As the name implies, a Crystal singing pyramid consists of Crystal tubes arranged in the form of a pyramid. It is similar to a Crystal Harp, but is tuned to one note, whereas the harp has at least 8 notes, making it easier to play.The sacred form of the Pyramid is well known in healing circles, just as it was known to the Ancient Egyptians who were well aware of the preserving power of the pyramid shape.
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A Kalimba is, in effect, a hand-held miniature piano. It is played with the thumbs and produces delightful, uplifting tones. Kalimba comes in different shapes, sizes and styles.
Another miniature version of a larger instrument is the Energy Chime. Tubes of metal are placed either singly or in groups on a wooden base and played with a mallet. Both Kalimba and Energy Chimes are easily portable and can be used when travelling to clear the energy of your hotel room or mode of transport.
Tingsha can produce a surprisingly loud sound for such a small instrument. The better quality Tingsha produce tones that resonate for several seconds before gently falling away, and, like the Kalimba, can be used when on the move.
A Djembe is a goblet-shaped drum that has rope wrapped around the base. Tuning is achieved through these ropes so that the amount of rope used depends on the desired pitch of the drum. A rough translation of the term Djembe is “everyone gather together in peace”.
Also referred to a jaw harp, Jew’s harp or vargan, the Mouth Harp produces sound in a similar way to the Kalimba, by vibrating a flexible metal plate to produce sounds, but in this case the instrument is placed in the mouth, leaving both hands free.
What is the Most Soothing Sound Healing Instrument?
The answer to this question depends to some extent on your own personal preferences. Most humans are soothed by light, tinkling sounds, such as the sound of gently running or trickling water. The deeper, rhythmic sound of ocean waves crashing onto the shore is also soothing to many people. It is difficult to say which sound healing Instrument is the most soothing and you will no doubt try out various instruments until you find your ideal sound. Cymbals and gongs vary in tone and resonance and sometimes it can depend on what mood you are in as to what you prefer to listen to, or to be treated with if you go to a Sound Healer.
Try different wind chimes and decide whether you find their sound irritating, disturbing or relaxing. Try bells and bowls, wooden, crystal or metal instruments and explore how the different tones affect you.
If you are looking for a soothing sound instrument to use at home you could begin with simple, hollow wooden sticks, or perhaps a Tibetan Singing Bowl.
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What Instruments are used in a Sound Bath?
The most commonly used instruments in a Sound Bath are gongs and Tibetan Singing Bowls. Sound Baths are also often offered to groups of people as well as on a one-to-one basis. Other instruments employed in a Sound Bath include the Crystal singing bowls, Hand pans, and wooden wind chimes, although this will depend on the practitioner, the venue and the number of people attending.