Today’s blog continues last month’s theme of keeping energy flowing, like oil on canvas. Moving beyond the tools developed by Donna Eden and her husband, this post examines how sound influences energy. It provides an overview of sound, describes the influence of sound on the physical, mental, emotional and energetic bodies and introduces the healing properties of Tibetan Singing Bowls.
An Overview of Sound
Sound is a vibration that travels as a wave through a medium such as air, water or a solid, including our bodies. The ears receive the waves and the brain processes the information. At the same time, the pulsations penetrate the body, vibrate the cells, organs, bodily fluids and tissues, activate emotions, influence brain activity and stimulate the chakras. Unpleasant noises cause stress while harmonious sounds, like music, soothe us.
The Physical Body
In terms of noise, the body reacts to sudden or startling sounds when the brain releases cortisol and triggers the fight/flight/freeze response. In terms of harmonious sounds, there is evidence that listening to music is associated with an increase in immunity-boosting antibodies and cells that protect against bacteria.[i] Depending on the style being played, music can either calm or energize the body. Beats activate motor areas of the brain and propel our bodies to move spontaneously to the rhythm. Disc jockeys frequently play music that throbs at 120 or more beats per minute to elevate each dancer’s heart rate, build energy and create a sense of excitement.
The Emotional Body
Sounds from nature, such as bird songs or a bubbling stream, generate calm feelings while the pounding of a jackhammer creates stress. When listening to music, people sometimes choose a song to match their current emotional state and other times prefer to stimulate a different mood. Music enriches both possibilities. Researchers studying the relationship between music and mood have found that frenetic and harsh classical pieces stir up feelings of uneasiness and anxiety within the listener while low-energy songs significantly decrease systolic blood pressure.[ii]
The Mental Body
Listening to music boosts brain activity. The Be Brain Fit website reports findings from numerous studies investigating mental benefits associated with listening to music.[iii] The cited studies suggest that:
- background music enhances performance on cognitive tasks, improves accuracy and enables the completion of repetitive tasks more efficiently
- software developers produced better work more efficiently when listening to music
- surgeons worked faster and more accurately when listening to music while operating
- music, whether taught in or outside of school, helps students improve language development and test scores, and increase brain connectivity and spatial intelligence
- for seniors, music protects against memory problems and cognitive decline
It’s never too late to receive brain benefits from listening to music.
The Energetic Body
The chakras are centers in the body’s energy field. They relate to and interact with the physical body. Sound is one of the many characteristics associated with the seven major chakras in the body. Figure 1 lists the pitch, vowel and mantra syllable associated with each chakra.
Figure 1. Sounds Associated with the Seven Major Chakras
The Healing Properties of Tibetan Singing Bowls
Tibetan Singing Bowls are made of seven metals that are melted, combined and formed into a ball which is pounded, by hand, until it takes the shape of a bowl. Striking the bowl produces a rich, complex tone consisting of a specific, dominant pitch with multiple overtones. This unity of a single tone from the diversity of many metals creates great power that can be harnessed to soothe and heal your physical body, emotions, mind and spirit.
The sound waves from the struck bowl penetrate the body, vibrate your various cells and organs, and bring all aspects of your physicality into harmonious alignment. Think of a rowing crew. The more synchronized their sculling, the greater the power produced with each stroke. Similarly, the more the parts of your body align with each other, the greater the amount of energy available to activate and maintain optimal health and well-being. Furthermore, the bowls create a resonant coherence that quiets the mind, calms the emotions and smooths the energy field surrounding the body.
A sound bath with Tibetan Singing Bowls can reduce stress, improve concentration, reduce blood pressure, stimulate life force flow in the body, improve immunity, harmonize the chakras, synchronize the brain hemispheres and enhance creativity.[iv] Why not treat yourself to a sound bath? Your well-being is worth it!
For those who live on the Kitsap Peninsula or in the Greater Seattle area, I encourage you to experience the healing, harmonizing sensations of an hour-long Sound Bath with Tibetan Singing Bowls:
Bainbridge Island – 11 AM, Sunday, Dec. 16 at WillowTree Market at 169 Winslow Way NE.
Seattle – 7 PM, Wednesday, February 6 at my home in northeast Seattle.
For more information or to register, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
[i] Ashford University Staff. (2017). How Does Music Affect Your Brain? Student Lifestyle. Ashford University. June 7, 2017. https://www.ashford.edu/online-degrees/student-lifestyle/how-does-music-affect-your-brain
[ii] Kim, M. (2015). The Secret Math Behind Feel-Good Music. The Washington Post. Oct. 30, 2015. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2015/10/30/the-mathematical-formula-behind-feel-good-songs/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.1c5e2d564c17
[iii] Alban, D. (2018). How Music Affects the Brain. Be Brain Fit. Better Mind. Better Life Website. Updated Nov. 15, 2018. https://bebrainfit.com/music-brain/
[iv] Shrestha, S. (2009). How to Heal with Singing Bowls: Traditional Tibetan Healing Methods. Boulder, CO: Sentient Publications.