Sunreed's Simple Guide To Sound Healing
From our 45 years of experience
Table Of Contents
Sound Healing is a branch of the meditative therapeutic arts, whose promotion and clarification is the central intention of Sunreed Instruments and The Center Of Light. The use of sound is ancient with history in every culture around the world: to intensify experience, to manifest creation, to explore the mind, transform consciousness and invoke healing. From the medicine elder drumming, chanting and rattling over his subject, to the Tibetan monks enhancing their meditations and rituals with the sounds of drums, horns, bells, and precious metal bowls, to the ancient chants in Christian Cathedrals, and the Australian aborigine playing a didgeridoo to invoke his Ancestors, sound is and has been utilized since the earliest of times to heal, instill wellness, make connection, and enrich communion.
Sound Healing can be broadly defined as the application of sound intentionally within the meditative and therapeutic arts. A doctor recommending to listen to music to help relax after surgery, as well as a therapist playing a metal bowl for a client, or a massage therapist playing soothing music during a massage, can all be viewed as forms of sound healing. Sound Healing can be defined very specifically as the intentional use of sound to create a vibrational environment which becomes a support for healing in the physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual aspects of our being. Sound is a powerful tool, because it is vibrational in nature. It affects us subconsciously, bypassing the thinking cognitive mind, making us react and listen, and effecting our moods without our conscious knowing. When sound reaches us, it disrupts our cognitive patterns of stress, redirects our attention, and shifts our feeling state all with little to no effort on our behalf. When this vibrational effect is coupled with clear intent (a focusing of awareness and ‘direction’ or ‘expectation’, to attune to or transform one's consciousness) we indeed have stepped into a powerful place. When sound is used our being comes into co-resonance with that vibration. Our thinking process stills, and the mind comes into present focus, in which we can intentionally move attention. With proper attention and intent, vibratory sound then allows access to coherent emotions (examples being loving kindness, empathetic joy, bliss and compassion) to stabilize the mind and body for enriching wellness. Through aligning with the fundamental, inherent quality of the sounds being generated, and coupling that with clear intent and coherence of emotion, heightened states of awareness can be reached, and 'expectations/intentions' made manifest. Whether we are praying for Divine intervention, or calling upon a holy being or medicine ally in the subtle realms of consciousness, it is the coupling of sound, with proper attention and intent which creates the portal, or dynamic, for elemental consciousness to, move, stir and manifest. Thus, sound is a powerful ally in the meditative arts for clarification, for transforming one’s life and for manifesting. When one understands the true nature of this "healing," alongside of the use of sound, one sees the great potential for wellness and growth.
Zacciah Discusses The True Meaning Of Spiritual Healing
There are many methodologies and many tools used for sound work, from highly technical medical & scientific instruments to simple ancient tools of the shamanic, indigenous, and 'wisdom' cultures of the world. Sound is being used therapeutically throughout the human life cycle, from creating a calming and soothing atmosphere at birth, to enhanced modalities to assist in the peaceful transition at death. Sound practices are blossoming in fields of personal growth, spiritual wellness, and yoga, as well as, in medicine, complementary and alternative medical practices, psychotherapy, physical therapy and therapeutic body work. One can find vast and varying bodies of information on the therapeutic use of music. There is so much information, we highly recommend finding reputable dealers and educators in the field that can help refine your vision, and provide for you quality tools to use effectively.
Yes. Sound healing works. The intentional use of sound can support wellness both mentally and physically. Both scientific and experiential evidence supports this claim.
The scientific correlation between the use of sound and the potentials for physical health are present and growing. To begin, there are an abundant number of studies that show that there is a strong correlation between stress reduction and the process of physical healing. Hospital studies suggest that those with less stress have a simpler time physically healing from operations, and have an easier time managing chronic pain. Stress reduction is proving itself to be a valuable tool when considering physical health, and is already strongly considered in hospitals around the country. So too, sound is a powerful tool in stress reduction. This can easily be viewed in your own life through times listening to music. Sound helps regulate mood, focus attention and relieve tension. Studies too have shown that sound directly supports stress reduction. Hospital studies show that listening to music before and after an operation, reduces stress in patients, and beneficially supports the healing process, easing the pain and the need for pain medication. There have been multiple studies that show a strong correlation between the use of singing bowls and stress reduction. There have as well been many studies showing the relationship between music therapy and stress reduction. Because of the scientific evidence, we have even begun working with hospitals around the country, offering both training and instruments used for stress reduction in their facilities.
Experientially we can understand how sound can bring us into an easier state of wellbeing. As we exist in a state of stress, our awareness is resonating with that tension and the purpose of that tension. We are consumed by the beliefs associated with the feeling of stress, and seek the intentions of those feelings. If we are angry, we try to remove the obstacle making us mad, or if we are sad, we try to get back what is lost. If we are scared, we are tense and our attention and thoughts are obsessed with solving the issue. We can move through these states with meditation. If we sit and practice paying attention to our breath, for example, we can naturally calm down and these stressful states can pass like clouds moving through the sky. This takes skill and time though, and can be difficult and frustrating for those not adept to the process. Sound works directly, because it directly and subconsciously effects our feeling state, redirecting our attention, and helps us then move the mental obscuration and stress we are experiencing. You can consider sound a gateway to easement. You have to take the steps through the doorway, though sound will offer a pretty straightforward path.
Does Sound Healing have any side effects? Can sound healing make you sick?
Listening, relaxing, and meditating alongside sound should provide no greater danger to you then listening to a good song on the radio, providing you are taking caution to not listen to sound too loud. Sound by itself should not be taken as a means of curing disease, though can be used to support a process of letting go of tension which can support physical wellbeing.
Is Sound Healing safe during pregnancy?
Listening to sound is generally safe during pregnancy, as far as the sound is not too loud for your hearing. Consider for example the trend of exposing infants in the womb to Mozart or Beethoven in the womb. The direct application of vibration through an instrument to the body, like a tuning fork, should be done after consultation with a medical professional.
3) What Are The Origins Of Sound Healing? What Is Sound Healing’s History? Sound Healing And Nada Yoga
There are no real origins to sound healing. Sound healing has a very broad history. Sound has been used by different cultures around the world since the beginning of history, used alongside ceremonial, therapeutic and meditative pursuits. It has been used as a mechanism alongside ritual or meditation, as a vehicle for meaning and concentration. You can see examples of this in every spiritual tradition, in most cultures, across thousands of years, and in this way the history of sound healing is too broad to track in a simple article. Consider the use of bells, rattles, flutes, didgeridoos, metal bowls and drums that are all centuries of years old. There has perhaps never been a time where people have not implemented sound as a means of easement.
Interestingly, the Indian tradition of Nada Yoga does offer a more concrete historical example where sound takes the central role in the path to Enlightenment…not just as a tool, but as an essential aspect. Nada Yoga, sometimes called the Yoga of Sound, has some ties to the Mahayana scripture the Shurangama Sutra. The sutra speaks of turning your listening inward, to be perfectly unified with the intrinsic sound of your essence to attaining Supreme Enlightenment. It is through attunement to this unstruck sound, that we may align with the Higher Self.
“Sound Healing”, as a concrete term, does exist today as an umbrella for many different disciplines. It is as much of a movement as it is diverse group of practices. Across the United States and the World, people are taking on the identity of being sound healers, playing instruments for groups or individuals with the intention of physical and mental wellbeing. Sound is being implemented into almost every therapeutic discipline, from massage, to psychology, to acupuncture, to yoga, to even medicine.
Music Therapy began developing in the 1940s, utilizing the therapeutic potentials of music. Though the use of intentional sound that has culminated into modern day “sound healing” can really be seen coming about in the 1980s and 1990s. In the 80s there were many different people who incorporated intentional sound into the therapeutic arts, in different ways. Though working before this, in 1983 Tom Kenyon, one of the most respected sound healers started Acoustic Brain Research exploring the therapeutic potential of sound on the brain. In 1982, Jonathan Goldman started the Sound Healers Association. There was the development of music thanatology (playing music for the dead) where harpists play for dying patients in hospice. Beginning in the 80s, this movement developed in the 90s with different training programs and eventually culminated into the National Standards Board for Therapeutic Musicians in 2003. In 1988 Don Campbell established the Institute for Music, Health and Education promoting the use of toning, or sound, as a means of relieving stress. Chloe Goodchild, developed her toning technique, which in 1990 she named The Naked Voice. In 1987 John Bealieue published Music And Sound In The Healing Arts, and has since spread the therapeutic value of tuning forks to thousands and thousands of people. Zacciah Blackburn, in the early 1990s, formally began instructing the use of sound in therapeutic modalities through The Center Of Light. Crystal singing bowls, which has become a central tool, as well began to be sold in the early 1990s for meditative purposes. These were all foundational people and events which has led to modern day sound healing.
Since the late 2010s there has been a great expansion of awareness of sound healing. Sound Healing has even been given time on television, in shows like Good Morning America. Since the late 2010s, our business partners have seen incredible growth of interest in the use of all sorts of instruments, and there has been a great number of new instruments made. This popularity is as well partially due to “sound baths” where participants lie down and relax, and a sound healer plays instruments intuitively and leads them in meditation. Sound baths are now being offered at yoga studios commonly across the country. They are even being offered in hospitals and schools.
A sound healing tool can be anything that makes sound. It does not need to be anything special, expensive or very specific, unless the methodology you are using is very specific (for example, tuning forks with acupressure). Sound bypasses the thinking mind, redirects attention and shifts feeling states, and through this sound is a gateway for releasing tension, focusing, and manifesting coherent states of wellbeing. This can be done through tapping a beat on your knee, or blowing across a glass bottle, or (what is a very powerful tool) simply toning sounds with your voice. A sound healing tool is sound, which is simple to say though easily forgotten with such as variety of sound healing tools available.
More specifically, there are a variety of tools that have historically been used ceremonially and meditatively for the sound they create -- rattles, drums, metal singing bowls, wind instruments, chimes, harps, organs, and in a more modern sense tunings forks and quartz crystal singing bowls. Each of these categories create a different vibrational landscape that effects the mind and body differently. For example, a metal singing bowl creates a rich multi-tonal sound that disrupts mental patterning very quickly, though it is not practical to use continuously in long meditations. It is good at clarifying awareness, though not the most practical for focusing. A quartz crystal singing bowl however creates a stable single tone that can be droned for a long time, so is used as a continuous anchor for attention, to then have an easier time focusing on an extensive meditative process. Tuning forks are very quiet, but they bring vibration to very precise locations in the body, which then can be worked with greater focus. Please review our purchasing guides, linked below, which go into greater depth on the use of each type of instrument.
Sound Healing does not need to be a mysterious experience, though can definitely be experienced as such. We hear stories all the time of people have an experience with a gong, or crystal singing bowl, and having that sound affect them, move energy, and clarify their awareness, in surprising ways they have never experienced before. The use of sound, as a tool to support wellness, can be very simply understood and practiced. This is the purpose of our Foundations Of Sound Healing course. It is a four part class, taught by Zacciah Blackburn from his 40 years of experience with this discipline. The course covers the history and theory of sound healing, it’s experiential effect on consciousness, the use of sound healing instruments and the application of sound within a therapeutic practice. It is a great choice for professionals already working in the fields of therapy or medicine who would like to add sound to their practice. It is also a great choice for people who would just like to add sound to their life with a sense of skillful means. Click the link below to learn more about the Foundations Of Sound Healing, or watch Zacciah speak about the course in the videos below.