Would you agree that ‘sound’ offers a more holistic experience compared to ‘visuals’? Let us try a simple experiment. Play a short audio-video clip, preferably something you haven’t watched earlier. Don’t watch it yet, look away from the screen and pay attention only to the sound (music or voice). Are you visualising corresponding images? Are you emotionally responding to what you are hearing?
Next, watch the visuals after muting the sound, and experience the feeling. Does watching the video without sound make you imagine the sound or voice in your mind? You will feel disconnected from the visuals because of the lack of sound.
Compare the difference in your responses during both instances.
Now, there was a time when no visual medium like television, cinema, computers or android phones existed, be it for entertainment or communication. Our only source of information or entertainment was based solely on our auditory ability through radio.
Now watch the video again, normally, with sound. Now, the visuals will make absolute sense along with the sound. So, sound makes the experience complete, but sound is also complete.
Sense of Hearing
Of all the five senses, the sense of hearing develops first, and it is the last to leave upon death. The data from a research led by Elizabeth Blundon, a PhD student of the Department of Psychology at the University of British Columbia, shows that a dying brain can respond to sound, even in an unconscious state, up to the last hours of life.
“The body is held together by sound. The presence of disease indicates that some of the sounds have gone out of tune”–Deepak Chopra
Our existence with relation to Sound
It is astounding that we have a deep connection with sound. The reason being that the entire universe, including you and me, is born of sound. The Universe began with a very tiny dot that had immense concentrated energy. According to astrophysicists, this dot inevitably exploded with an unimaginable force, producing heat and sound that no human fabricated explosion on earth can replicate. They titled this explosion as ‘The Big Bang’. This explosion hurled energy in all directions, at the speed of light, creating billions of galaxies in the Universe and created matter, including celestial bodies, plants, animals, and us. So, living beings are the physical manifestation of pure sound energy. Sound energy, thus, is the source of our being, which also deeply rules our lives.
Let’s understand more about our existence in terms of particle physics. We all know that everything in the Universe has some amount of mass or energy (or both). Our physical form is mass, made up of trillions of cells. Breaking down these cells into further smaller particles would mean marvelling at the countless atomic particles that we comprise. We would then find subatomic particles – protons, neutrons and electrons. Did you know that protons and neutrons can be broken down further into elementary particles called quarks and gluons? Quarks and gluons are proven to be the fundamental constituent of matter. They don’t have any sub-structure themselves; they simply exist.
Quarks = Energy
Quarks were first proposed independently by American physicists Murray Gell-Mann and George Zweig in 1963. Quarks and gluons bind matter with a strong nuclear force. They permeated the entire universe in a few fractions of a second after the Big Bang. When the universe cooled enough, quarks and gluons froze into protons and neutrons. That the explosion created quarks asserts that ‘sound’ is fundamental to everything in the Universe.
In particle physics, quark is a fast-moving point of energy. Protons and neutrons contain three quarks each. Quarks make protons and neutrons, which in turn make up the atomic structure of the trillions of cells we are made of. Biology defines ‘cells’ as the most basic units of life. Each cell is a complex structure that could theoretically survive, grow, reproduce and die on its own. The cells in our complex multicellular bodies, however, work together with similar cells to form structures called tissues. Tissues make up the different organs and other functional material in our bodies.
We are made up of amazing cells of different types and they need to be fed what’s essential to optimize overall wellness. If the body is the physical manifestation of the formless mind and soul that makes our existence complete, then it is essential to nourish ourselves at physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual levels for holistic living for life.
Various forces act upon every life form and every speck of dust down to the smallest subatomic particle, influencing their existence in this world . To exist, to be in the universe, means that every particle in the universe feels some pull and push from the various forces around it — otherwise, it simply doesn’t exist. Considering that, every object in this universe has a vibrational frequency, including ourselves. It then makes sense that we respond to sound frequencies naturally. We all experience it and the greatest example is the way we respond to music, whether it is Pt. Ravi Shankar, Ustad Zakir Hussain, Bismillah Khan, Hariprasad Chaurasia, A R Rahman, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Yanni or Tchaikovsky.
With the spur of health disorders in the modern world, there’s also a movement of going back to ancient ways of healing our bodies holistically to promote wellness, especially cellular health, using energy healing. Cellular health through Sound Healing isn’t a new concept. Sound has an ancient kinship with meditation and healing. My Sound Healing Master Satya Brat Jaiswal shares, “From mantra chanting and blowing of the conch to bells or gongs in places of worships, or Himalayan singing bowls, there’s evidence of some form of sound healing in spiritual and religious ceremonies for invoking the divine and warding off negative energies in every culture around the world. We can trace it back 40,000 years when Australian aboriginals used ancient didgeridoos for healing.”
Dr. Holly Pollard-Wright, independent researcher and CEO of Wild Ride Wildlife Services, has drawn a theory of mind from classic and quantum physics. He says, “All living entities are intelligent, and those with brains and the central nervous system experience emotion and thus can suffer”. We link poor mood and elevated anxiety to increased incidence of disease. Heart disease, diabetes, addiction, and mental health issues have all been linked to stress and tension.
Energy = Vibration = Sound triggers Inner Self Healing Mechanism
Now we know that energy is the life force behind everything in the Universe. Since energy is vibrating all the time naturally, atoms containing quarks vibrate and therefore our cells are vibrating. Vibration is naturally linked to sound, so our body is like an instrument that needs retuning with the right frequencies when it goes out of sync. According to studies, ultrasonic pressure fields have been proven to be beneficial for cell growth in vitro and in patients. There have been successful reports on in vitro wound-healing and cell-growth studies under the influence of radio-frequency cell stimuli. Modern medicine now uses sound waves to break up kidney and gallstones in the body. The machine used is called Lithotripter. It bombards the stone with a specific sound frequency, usually for one to two hours..
There’s quite a lot that goes on within our cells. As we get older, our cells accumulate damage. Our body eliminates, repairs and rebuilds its 37.2 trillion cells approximately on its own as a part of our body’s self-healing mechanism. For vitality and vigour, we must keep this mechanism activated. The self-healing mechanism is highly active when our body is in a thoughtless state, that’s the meditative state. Healing is not about removing diseases, because our body knows to heal itself. Healing is about returning our body to healthy vibrations, as vibration is fundamental to all matter.
Apart from a nutritious diet that promotes cellular health, saying goodbye to the toxins produced by stress needs to be a regular effort too. According to Hindu mythology, Vedic sages lived healthily almost throughout their long lifespan as they meditated regularly. Attaining this thoughtless or meditative state is a challenge in today’s modern world where we battle countless stress inducing stimuli. Sound healing has the power to take us to this very meditative state.
Syncing with Vibrational Frequency
Our thoughts create a physiological effect in our body. Every thought and emotion has its own vibrational frequency or wave frequency because thoughts are also sound waves. According to Tam Hunt, a philosopher of mind, biology, and physics, “All things in our universe are constantly in motion, vibrating. Even objects that appear to be stationary are, in fact, vibrating, oscillating, resonating, at various frequencies“. When different oscillating things are close together for a time, they vibrate in sync. The synchronisation is a kind of physical communication between entities. This phenomenon is called ‘spontaneous self-organisation’. The simplest example is when we keep two clocks in the same room, their ticking automatically synchronises.
Recent studies in Integrative Medicines have found that an hour-long sound meditation helped people reduce tension, anger, fatigue, anxiety,, and depression while increasing a sense of spiritual well-being. There’s a scientific logic to it, if we study the physics of musical instruments, including the sonic and wave properties, as well as acoustic characteristics. Sound frequency impacts our sympathetic nervous system by synchronising our brain waves.
The World of Sound Therapy
Deep relaxation is one of the most significant and universal benefits of sound therapy. Sound healing has mental and physical health benefits in improving mood and reducing stress. When we are ill, our cells are out of sync. Sound therapy has the ability to identify these out of tune frequencies and when these sounds, or frequencies, are introduced back into our body, our brain then can send these ‘in tune’ or corrected frequencies to the damaged cells, to help facilitate healing.
The goal of sound therapy is attaining vibrational balance, restoring, and tuning the body. Our body is 75% water, and water is a great conductor of sound. Imagine your body as a glass beaker, as you see your cells immersed in water through the transparent surface. Now visualise them receiving sound vibrations by the practitioner playing the sound healing instruments on the outside. You will see them joyfully dancing to the frequencies as they get busy syncing themselves with the sound vibrations. The vibrations massage every cell in the body. Unlike the usual massage therapy that heals through touch, this treatment works all the way through your skin, muscle, tissue, and organs. When vibrations travel through the body, it promotes circulation, energy flow, and rejuvenation by altering brainwaves.
Among the various forms of sound therapy, sound baths by playing the Himalayan singing bowls is the most predominantly practised art. When I was first introduced to the experience by a Dr. Shyam Suraj, fellow practitioner, I could feel the toxins creating havoc in my throat before I went into a trance. The dry cough was quite a discomfort, but I woke up feeling absolutely rejuvenated. In my next experience, I received healing from my Master and my hands jerked the way we do when there’s an electric shock, following a deep meditative relaxation. The effect was blissfully calming, and I wanted to remain in that bliss forever. I realized after those sessions that something intrinsically is inhibiting me from letting anger take over my senses even if I am feeling upset.
Back home, when I performed the therapy on both my children, they went so deep into the meditative state that I had to use the Ting Sha bell over ten times to bring them back to consciousness. The serene look on their face was overwhelming. It intensified when they shared, they felt they had slept peacefully with no dreams after a long time.
This treatment brings emotions too to the surface, resulting in overwhelming responses. Body’s involuntary reactions like coughing, crying, jerks, anger, etc. indicate the presence of stress and toxins as the body tries to push them out of the system during the sessions. People going through the therapy have experiences that’s very personal to them depending on their current emotional state, lifetime of experiences and memories. Sound therapy is catching on in the scenario of holistic wellness, as there are plenty of reports that support this practice for both physical and psychological pain relief.
Gong Master Martha Collard of Red Doors Studio, Hong Kong, says, “Sound can shift frequencies from low energy of guilt and fear to higher vibrations of love and joy. Sound healing is the use of sacred instruments or voice to release energetic blockages inducing a state of ease and harmony in the body.” She adds, “The sound wave passing through the body stimulates red blood cells, and opens up the blood supply to all organs and throughout the body”.
We humans have an instinct for sound therapy. Just think about how your favourite song can lift your mood. It’s satisfying to conclude that we are blessed with the gift of hearing sounds, because sound healing offers a host of benefits that can improve our wellbeing, energy levels, performance at work while gently tuning ourselves to the Divine.
Think about if you care to bring your body to vibrational balance by experiencing sound healing. It’s time you tried it.