Healing with Sound:

What Is Healing and Where Does It Come From?

“Sound affects healing in several ways: It alters cellular functions and biological systems through entrainment, to function more homeostatically; it calms the mind and the body; affects the emotions, which influence neurotransmitters and neuropeptides, which in turn regulate the immune system” the healer within.”
– Mitchell Gaynor, M.D., Medical Oncologist, Director of Medical Oncology and Integrative Medicine. Strang-Cornell Cancer Prevention Center, New York Hospital, author of "Sounds of Healing"

The First Sounds We Hear: Mother's Heartbeat, Breath & Voice

In the development of our uterine brain-mind, the auditory system forms very early. Language learning begins around the fifth month, when we begin making muscular responses to the phonemes (or phonics) of the mother's speech.


How Do Sound & Music Heal?

Music Affects Us Physically

Studies demonstrate physical reaction to sound by changes in the speed of muscle reactions, and flow through the fingertips, increases in serotonin and growth hormone levels, decreases in stress hormones levels. Vibrational therapy can affect blood pressure, pulse rate, circulation, brain waves, muscle tension, metabolism, emotional responses and help relieve nausea.

Music can move you through the brain states:

Beta (waking)
Alpha (light trance) when you are most receptive to healing
Theta (deep trance)

Example from Dr. Alfred Tomatis, an ear, nose & throat surgeon who became a pioneer in Applied Psychology:

"In the late 1960's, Dr. Tomatis investigated a strange illness at a Benedictine monastery in southern France. The monks daily chanting, diet, and routines had changed slightly. Seventy monks became depressed, fatigued, and unable to do their tasks. There was no explanation for this phenomenon. Dr. Tomatis noted the only major change, was the elimination of chanting, ordered by the new abbot. The illness started when the chanting stopped. Dr. Tomatis recommended the brothers resume chanting. Dramatic results occurred within five months. Well-being restored, they returned to their work schedule, sleeping only a few hours daily."

Music for Entrainment in Healing

Entrainment is the tendency of two oscillating bodies or rhythmic cycles to lock into phase and synchronize. The principle of entrainment is evident in all scientific fields. Entrainment is very evident in music, just watch the dance floor. It can move the cells, pulsating with the music, to a state of joy and healing.

Example from Fabien Maman, French composer, acupuncturist and bio-energeticist, who explored and documented the influence of sound waves on human cells:

“The most dramatic affect came from the human voice. He studied the affects of low volume sound on various types of healthy cells, which became more vibrant and radiant when exposed to music, and cancerous cells in which, ‘The structure quickly disorganized, the cancer cells were not able to support a progressive accumulation of vibratory frequencies."

Music As A Diversion in Healing

Music is used in therapeutic situations as "audio-analgesia" to reduce anxiety and pain, transporting the listener to another reality during the healing process. When music is used "as medicine" it directly affects the health of the patient as a necessary component in the outcome of the treatment.

Example from Don Campbell, author of "The Mozart Effect":

“The University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worchester uses harp music in lieu of tranquilizers and painkillers for cancer and other seriously ill patients. President Clinton, in 1997, chose to forego general anesthesia in place of country-western music during his extensive tendon operation."

Daily Practices to Heal Body, Mind & Spirit...

Chanting is an ancient and universal practice, sometimes done while drumming, hand-clapping or playing other musical instruments. The objective is to achieve an altered state of consciousness. Chants can be composed of names, words, or syllables, including nonsensical ones. Hindus and Buddhists use Om, the first sound. Shamans use drums and vocals as part of their healing practices. Chanting, combined with active, attentive, disciplined listening, energizes you physically, mentally and spiritually.


Don Campbell says:
"Toning is simple and audible sound, prolonged long enough to be identified."
John Beaulieu, author of "Music and Sound in the Healing Arts" says:
"Toning is the conscious elongation of a sound, without precise meaning, using voice... the purpose is expression and attaining balance... resonating areas of your body. Every part of your body has a healthy frequency. Disease is dis-harmony with those frequencies. Toning creates sounds harmonious with your body’s healthy frequencies, and entrainment coaxes you back into balance.”

We are rhythmic creatures...
All matter is vibrating – from the sub-atomic, to the macroscopic levels. Our breath, voice, pulse, brainwaves and various electrical currents combine to make us what we are. Our brain runs throughout our body, in the form of our nervous system. There is no separation!