The Healing Power of Sound: Exploring Sound Therapy and Frequencies

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Have you recently encountered sound therapy and wondered if it is really effective or just another wellness fad?

I too had my doubts before I first tried it. But as someone interested in mindfulness and relaxation, I was keen to experience this new healing practice everyone was raving about.

And I’m so glad I did!

My mind operates at 100 mph, and the constant thoughts can be exhausting and stress-inducing. But once I laid down, closed my eyes, and welcomed in the harmonious vibrations, everything changed.

Sound healing has now become my go-to practice whenever my “monkey mind” takes over. But the benefits of sound therapy extend much further than mental relaxation.

Read on to discover what sound therapy is, how it works (according to both science and theories), and how it could benefit you. I’ll then share my favorite sound healing techniques, including one you can do at home right now!

What Exactly Is Sound? Understanding How Frequencies and Waves Work

As we cannot see sound waves, understanding the workings of sound can be confusing. So before we dive into the world of sound healing, let’s briefly describe what sound is.

Think of sounds like ripples in a lake when you drop a small pebble in. When something makes a sound, such as a guitar string vibrating, it sends tiny wiggles called “sound waves” into the air. 

These sound waves are like ripples in water, but they travel through the air instead and are invisible to the human eye.


Now, frequencies are essentially the speed of these wiggles. The faster something vibrates, the higher the pitch of the sound. 

For example, think of a small bell and a drum. If you shake a handheld bell, it vibrates quickly and makes a high-pitched “ding” sound. 

But when you hit a big drum, it vibrates more slowly, creating a deep, low “boom” sound. This is the difference between a high and low sound vibration.

Sound frequency is measured in “hertz.” If something vibrates 100 times in a second, it will have a frequency of 100 hertz.

Sympathetic Resonance

Sympathetic resonance is a phenomenon where one object vibrates in response to the vibrations of another, even if they’re not directly connected. 

This happens because the vibrating object emits sound waves that match the frequency of the second object, causing the second object to vibrate as well.

Let me illustrate:

Imagine two tuning forks placed near each other. If one tuning fork is struck and starts vibrating, the air around it carries sound waves that match its frequency. 

If the second tuning fork is tuned to the same frequency, it will start vibrating even though it wasn’t struck directly. 

Sound healing techniques are said to carry the power to restore our inherent vibration via sympathetic resonance. 

So what exactly is sound healing?

Understanding the Science of Sound and Healing

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Sound therapy is a holistic healing practice that uses sound vibrations to promote sleep and relaxation, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve mood. 

Sound healing, also called sound therapy, is based on the idea that sounds can influence our body, mind, and emotions. 

So how does it work?

Well, different sounds and frequencies are believed to have specific effects on our energy and health.

Let’s explore this idea in more detail.

The Impact of Sound Frequencies on the Endocrine System

The endocrine system is a complex system of glands producing and releasing hormones. These glands play crucial roles in regulating various bodily functions such as: 

  • Metabolism
  • Growth
  • Mood
  • Hormone production
  • Organ functioning

It is well-known that sounds can impact our endocrine systems. For example, Australian pharmacologist Mary F. Lockett published a paper on the Effects of Sound on Endocrine Function. In this paper, she found that loud sounds increase the secretion of corticotropin (a peptide hormone involved in stress responses) in the anterior pituitary gland. 

While loud sounds can negatively impact our endocrine system, it is believed that relaxing sounds, such as singing bowls and binaural beats, can have positive effects. Some studies have found links between sound healing and stress reduction, which in turn, promotes hormone balance in the endocrine system.

In addition, like sound waves, human emotions may vibrate at specific frequencies. Positive emotions generally have high frequencies, while negative emotions are typically associated with lower frequencies.

  • Peace – 600 Hz
  • Joy and Happiness – 540 Hz
  • Love and Compassion – 500 Hz
  • Anger – 150 Hz
  • Anxiety and Stress – 100 Hz
  • Guilt and shame – 20 – 30 Hz

Considering this concept, sound therapy is believed to have the power to alter our emotional state by raising our vibrational frequency. 

However, while this is a popular concept in holistic therapies, there is currently not enough scientific evidence to back it up. Moreover, there is no scientific way to measure the frequency of emotions.

Psychoacoustics and The Role of Brain Frequencies in Sound Healing

Binaural beats and other sound healing techniques are thought to influence brainwave patterns, known as brainwave entrainment

As each brainwave frequency is associated with a different mental state, listening to sound-healing music or instruments tuned at a particular frequency might encourage the production of specific hormones related to those states. 

For example, relaxation-inducing frequencies of 600 Hz may encourage the release of calming hormones like cortisol and oxytocin.

Chakras and Sound: The Vibrational Connection

According to ancient yogic teachings, chakras are energy centers in the body. The primary chakra system comprises seven energy centers running up the spine and head. 

Each chakra is associated with different mental, physical, and emotional, well-being aspects. A chakra becomes blocked when energy flow stagnates in that center, causing adverse effects on health and well-being.

Each chakra is linked to a specific frequency. So it is believed sound vibrations matching these frequencies can clear blocked chakras and bring the system into balance.

Currently, no scientific evidence supports the existence of chakras or their frequencies. However, the seven chakras have been matched to the seven main solfeggio frequencies:

  • Root Chakra – 396 hz
  • Sacral Chakra – 417 hz
  • Solar Plexus Chakra – 528 hz
  • Heart Chakra – 639 hz
  • Throat Chakra – 741 hz 
  • Third Eye Chakra – 852 hz
  • Crown Chakra – 963 hz

5 Incredible Benefits of Sound Healing

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While it has only become popular in the 21st century, sound therapy is not a new concept. Sound healing instruments have been used for centuries by various cultures for relaxation and spiritual purposes. 

Here are the five main benefits I have found from using sound therapy.

  1. Promotes Relaxation

Like other forms of meditation, sound healing can promote feelings of peace and relaxation due to the high frequencies of the musical instruments. Moreover, as your brain concentrates on the sound, brain activity slows down, and the thoughts in your mind begin to clear.

When I find myself overthinking and anxious, I lie down, close my eyes, and listen to binaural beats through my headphones. After about 10 minutes, my mind starts to slow down, and the feeling of stress and worry subsides.

  1. Enhances Sleep Quality

As an effective mindfulness technique, sound therapy can help you prepare for a restful night’s sleep. It is particularly effective if you struggle to fall asleep due to too many thoughts in your mind or if you wake up in the middle of the night worrying about something.

Moreover, some sound therapies, like binaural beats, may influence your brainwave patterns. A sound healing meditation may use specific frequencies associated with relaxation and meditation (such as delta and theta waves), which can aid with falling asleep. So, some forms of sound healing are helpful to do at night before bed.

  1. Increases Energy

As mentioned, sound healing can tune you into specific harmonious frequencies. These can help combat harmful Electromagnetic Frequencies. 

Long-term exposure to high levels of low-frequency EMFs has been linked to fatigue and disturbed sleep. There are also increasing concerns that EMFs can cause disease and affect your mind state by amplifying negative thinking.

So, sound therapy may help to clear this negative energy. As a result, you will likely experience increased positive thinking and physical energy after a session.

  1. Improves Mental Health

Tamara Goldsby is a highly reputable Ph.D. Research Psychologist at the University of California and a renowned sound healing researcher featured on CNN. In 2017, she conducted an observational study to understand the effects of singing bowl sound meditation on mood and mental well-being.

After experiencing Tibetan singing bowl meditation, the participants of the study reported significantly less:

  • Physical tension
  • Anger
  • Fatigue
  • Depression

Interestingly, the participants who were new to this style of meditation experienced a significantly greater reduction in mental tension than those who had tried it before. 

  1. Alleviates symptoms of chronic stress

Sound healing techniques may help to lower high blood pressure, a common symptom associated with chronic stress.

It is believed that sound healing stimulates cells to produce nitric oxide, enlarging the blood vessels and increasing blood flow. In addition, sound therapy improves the overall functioning of the body’s cells.

It is also thought sound healing stimulates the vagus nerve (a vital part of the parasympathetic nervous system that calms your body from stress) – the same way classical music is scientifically proven to do so.

Sound Therapy Techniques for Healing and Wellness

Nowadays, you can experience sound healing in many forms, from singing bowls to tuning forks to chanting. You can even access its benefits in your own home. Let’s take a closer look at the different techniques.

Singing Bowl Meditation 

The Healing Power of Sound: Exploring Sound Therapy and Frequencies

A singing bowl meditation is a passive style of meditation where you lie down and listen to sound bowls being played. 

Tibetan monks have also used Tibetan (or Himalayan) singing bowls in Buddhist ceremonies for centuries. These bowls are often made of metal and produce a resonant sound when struck. 

Simply being in a room where sound bowls are being played can have highly therapeutic effects on your mind and body. 

However, many sound healing facilitators like to hold the bowls directly over your body as they play them, amplifying their healing power and enhancing your physical sensation. When a facilitator plays a sound bowl just above my body, I feel a pleasant tingling sensation in the area. 

It is also believed that holding a sound bowl over a chakra can help to release energy blockages and open up that center. So, some facilitators will hover the bowl over each energy center, moving through the primary chakra system. 

In addition to sound bowls, drums, and gongs can also be used in a sound healing meditation. These percussion instruments can create powerful vibrations that you can feel moving through your body, which may help release tension and aid pain.

Tuning Fork Therapy 

Tuning Forks are metal instruments that produce specific frequencies when struck. Initially developed as sound wave generators for musical instruments, in recent years, tuning forks have been found to be powerful tools for mind and body healing.

In sound therapy, tuning forks are typically placed near or on the body to create vibrations that promote balance and harmony. These tools are also believed to:

  • Relieve joint pain
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Relax tense or stiff muscles.

Tuning fork therapy is typically a one-to-one healing technique, so you must book a private session to experience this. However, you can do singing bowl meditation in a group or a one-to-one session.

Yogic Chanting and “Om”ing 

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While many instruments create harmonizing and relaxing sounds, we all have a sound healing tool within us…

Our voice.

Chanting mantras has ancient roots in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. The earliest recorded mantras appear in ancient Vedic texts, such as the Rigveda, which dates back thousands of years.

In Hindu culture, Sanskrit mantras are associated with specific deities. Devotees chant these mantras to invoke blessings, protection, or spiritual transformation. For example, chanting the common yogic mantra “Om” is believed to connect you with divine consciousness.

Spirituality aside, chanting certain sounds or mantras may produce specific tones that positively impact your energy

While scientific evidence around this is scarce, The Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation was involved in a study on Kirtan chanting meditation and its effects on the brain. 

Researchers found that just 12 minutes of chanting mantras activates several parts of the brain, including those associated with memory. They also recorded increased cerebral blood flow and enhanced cognitive function in the participants’ brains.

Binaural beats

Meditating with Binaural beats is one of the easiest ways to experience sound healing at home. 

Binaural beats are a perception of sound your brain creates as it listens to these musical notes. 

Let me explain:

Imagine you have headphones on, and each ear hears a slightly different sound. Your brain listens to these notes and tries to find the difference. It then makes up a new, imaginary sound based on that difference. This made-up sound is called a “binaural beat.

Because your brain focuses on the notes when listening to binaural beats, many people feel a binaural beat meditation helps to clear their mind and relax their nervous system.

There is currently little scientific evidence to support the benefits of using binaural beats in meditation. However, one 2016 study published in Frontiers in Psychiatry found that listening to binaural beats can reduce anxiety and regulate mood. 

Researchers noted a 26.3% decline in anxiety after participants listened to binaural beats. They then tested this with a placebo audio group and reported an 11.1% decline in anxiety, suggesting binaural beats can improve mental health more than other musical notes.

I recommend checking out meditation apps like Insight Timer, which have many free binaural beats tracks. You can also find plenty on Youtube. I often listen to this one to stay focused while I’m working. 

Conclusion: Embracing the Healing Power of Sound

Sound healing is one of the most accessible holistic therapies around. All you have to do is lay down, get comfortable, and allow the power of the sounds to heal your mind and body.

If you’re trying sound healing for the first time, I highly recommend you attend a session with a trained and experienced sound healing practitioner. 

Sure, there are many great binaural beats meditations online. But you can’t beat the real-life experience of drifting into an inner wonderland surrounded by the angelic sounds and powerful vibrations of singing bowls and gongs. Total bliss!

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