Sound healing, an ancient practice with modern relevance, harnesses the power of sound to promote physical and mental wellbeing. This holistic approach, rooted in centuries-old traditions, offers a unique path to achieving harmony, balance and ultimate wellbeing for women. The Women’s Journal spoke to Sound Therapist and author of Sound Healing: How to use Sound to Beat Stress & Anxiety, Farzana Ali about sound therapy for women. Here’s everything you need to know…
Understanding Sound Healing
What is Sound Healing?
Sound healing, also known as sound therapy, involves using various aspects of sound to improve emotional and physical health. This can be achieved through listening to music, singing, chanting, or using instruments like gongs, singing bowls, and tuning forks.
“Sound healing is a holistic treatment that uses sound, vibrations and different frequencies to relax both the mind and body,” Farzana Ali told us. “Think of it as meditation without the effort.”
The roots of sound healing can be traced back to ancient civilisations such as the Egyptians, Greeks, and Indians, who recognised the therapeutic benefits of music and sound. In these cultures, sound was integral to ceremonies and rituals, believed to have profound healing properties.
Is there any science behind sound therapy?
Modern science has begun to explore the effects of sound on the human body. Research suggests that certain frequencies and rhythms can influence brainwave patterns, promoting relaxation and stress reduction. This can lead to improvements in various health parameters, including blood pressure, heart rate, and stress hormone levels.
Farzana said: “While it’s an area that is still being researched, there is increasing more science that proves the benefits of sound healing – a lot of which I explore in my book. So, it’s nice to see modern science catching up with the knowledge our ancestors intuitively had.”
How Sound Healing Works
Sound healing operates on the principle that everything in the universe, including our bodies, is in a state of vibration. When these vibrations are out of balance, it can lead to physical or emotional disharmony. Sound therapy aims to bring these vibrations back into balance.
The Role of Frequency and Resonance
Can sound frequencies heal the body?
Each part of our body resonates with different frequencies. Sound therapy employs these frequencies to interact with our body’s vibrations, promoting harmony and health.
What does sound healing do to the body?
“Sound healing works by calming and helping to regulate our nervous system,” Farzana stated. “It stimulates the vagus nerve – a cranial nerve that makes up a large part of our rest and digest system. This helps to lower our heart and breath rate, reduce our cortisol levels (that’s the stress hormone), and leaves us feeling rested and relaxed. That’s why sound healing is so great for anyone suffering from any type of anxiety.”
She added: “Through a process called ‘entrainment’, sound therapy also works to slow down your brainwaves so you’re able to mentally switch off. This also helps us feel rested and therefore better able to deal with any stress that might come up too.”
The Impact on Brainwaves
Sound therapy can shift our brainwave state, utilising rhythms and frequencies to move from a more active state (beta waves) to a more relaxed state (alpha or theta waves), aiding in meditation and deep relaxation.
What are the side effects of sound therapy?
Farzana assured us: “The are no negative side effects of sound healing or sound therapy (which involves sound healing with a reflective practice). It’s a wonderful modality that takes you as far as you are comfortable to explore what you need too.”
Types of sound session instruments
Sound sessions use a variety of instruments, each with unique properties and effects.
Traditionally made from a mixture of metals, singing bowls produce rich, deep tones that promote relaxation and healing.
Gongs create powerful, resonant sounds that can be felt physically, offering a deep state of relaxation.
Tuning forks, when struck, produce a pure sound wave that can be used for aligning the body’s energy.
Benefits of Sound Healing
The practice of sound therapy offers numerous benefits, both psychological and physical.
One of the most significant benefits is stress reduction, as sound therapy can lower stress hormones and induce a state of calm.
The relaxing effects of sound can also contribute to better sleep quality, helping with issues like insomnia.
Enhanced Emotional Wellbeing
Sound therapy can also have a positive impact on emotional health, aiding in the management of conditions like anxiety and depression.
On a physical level, sound baths can help with pain management and stimulate the body’s healing processes.
What are the healing powers of sound?
Farzana said: “Sound baths (what sound healing sessions are called) slow down your brainwaves taking you into either a relaxed alpha-dominant or dreamy theta-dominant state. That means, you feel calmer, more positive mentally too and therefore less stressed or anxious.
“In fact, often being in a theta-state (which is where creativity and insight happen) can provide you with the answers needed to resolve a stressful situation.”
Incorporating Sound Healing into Your Routine
Incorporating sound therapy into your routine can be simple and can be done through attending sound baths, using sound healing apps, or practicing with instruments like singing bowls at home.
Can you sound heal yourself?
Farzana told us: “You can use sounds in nature to sound heal yourself. For example, the sound of the ocean or even the rustling of the leaves in a woodland can help you tune into a more relaxed and peaceful state.”
What sound promotes healing?
“Different sounds have different purposes so it’s not as easy as picking one type of sound,” said Farzana. “Higher pitches are activating and move energy, lower pitches encourage deeper relaxation, but you need both and at different degrees depending on what someones needs are.”
Sound healing for women presents a unique and holistic approach to women’s wellness, rooted in ancient tradition yet supported by modern science. Its ability to harmonise the body and mind makes it a valuable tool in today’s fast-paced world. Try sound therapy today.
Farzana Ali’s book Sound Healing: How to Use Sound to Beat Stress and Anxiety is out 2nd January 2024.