Sound awareness is the conscious recognition of the effects of sound intentionally in our lives to create healing environments, for balance, for enhancement of learning- mental function, and increased productivity. It is a shift from holding music as only entertainment to a sonic tool that can charge and discharge the nervous system. The cornerstone concepts in psycho-acoustics are resonance and entrainment.
Resonance is the effect of one frequency upon another as it vibrates and changes it. Each object has a frequency in which it most vibrates. If one tuning fork (A=440 cps*)is struck the second tuning fork (also A=440 cps) will vibrate even if “unstruck”. This is because it was “struck” by the sound waves in the air from the first tuning fork and is attuned to it. As people we experience this within our energy fields. Our inherent wisdom state tells us if we resonate with the environment and those around us, or not. If the energy around us is tense, excited, fast-paced; we internalize this and respond by matching it. Likewise, if the environment and people around us are calm, peaceful, and slower-paced, we act in kind-even unconsciously. Our language even addresses this. We say, "I 'm getting a bad vibe here" or "We're really in sync."
Entrainment is the process where consistent rhythms cause our internal pulse systems to synchronize with the ongoing surroundings. Our heart, breathing, and brainwaves speed up or slow down. As those interested in the healing process, it is important to know that the tenth cranial nerve attaches to both sides of our eardrums which in turn attach to the thoracic and abdominal viscera. Therefore, the rhythms that vibrate our eardrums will vibrate our whole body-literally. The high performance mind and optimal levels of consciousness for healing work that we experience are attributed to the theta and delta brainwave states. Neurophysiology tells us that these brainwaves, combined with our rational sequencing beta waves, can be carriers of positive intentionality to our pulse systems-affecting our overall wellness of being. Sound is like food and by choosing what we imbibe, we can harness the power of sound to our advantage. Sound is a nutrient of the nervous system, charging and discharging our energy levels, thought processes, and physical functioning. Understanding it is of vital importance in any healing process.
Alfred Tomatis, a French physician, tells us “ that sound waves are transmitted through the bones in the skull to the brain cells. One cranial nerve that is affected by sound waves, the vagus nerve, emanates from the lower part of the brain and passes through the larynx- the voice box- and then extends widely throughout the body. It winds its way through all the internal organs, including the entire intestinal tract, back muscles, the lungs, and heart. It supplies the motor and sensory fibers that control the release of gastric and pancreatic secretions, as well as, inhibitory fibers of the heart. The sustained vibration that toning sets off throughout the body has a dramatic energetic impact on the body.”
In a sound therapy session, I use tuning forks (on and off the body), breathing techniques (pranayama)to open channels, sound Tibetan bowls to which the body may align, chant Bija (seed) sanskrit syllables or chant mantra. I may play a monochord instrument or CD’s with binaural frequencies or have the ocean waves sounding in the background. Sound therapy helps the client access and move the transverse currents ( as do EMDR techniques) , as well as, spiral and long line currents of the body. These currents tap into the parasympathetic nervous system, our digestive system and the many stories that are held in our physical tissues and subtle bodies.
Sound is capable of piercing through our fields of energy, penetrating the layers of emotional blockages and physical pain. Sound affects us on all levels: emotional, physical, mental,, and spiritual. It vibrates the core of our being and can transform our mindbody instantly and profoundly. It can move us to tears (film scores to accompany a movie). It can move us to anger ( incessant barking of a dog). It can irritate or cause aversion (nails raking across a chalkboard). In fact, the work of Hans Jenny, a Swiss medical doctor, has shown sound capable of shaping and forming inorganic substances. Jenny photographed liquids, plastics, powders, etc... as they were being vibrated by sound. They show organic shapes being created by exposing them to different frequencies. The inorganic blobs formed into geometric shapes similar to human cells and microscopic life. In his book, Cymatics, he writes, " Now it is beyond doubt that where organization is concerned, the harmonic figures of physics are in fact, essentially similar to the harmonic patterns of organic nature...we have the certain experience that harmonic systems such as we have visualized in our experiments arise from oscillations in the form of intervals and harmonic frequencies. That is indisputable."
If you have ever seen the ancient mandalas, then you have seen the visual display of sound. What is amazing to see is that as one frequency is played and the visual mandala made of sand is revealed, a new mandala will be created when a frequency is changed. When "OM" is sounded it will make the Sri Yantra formation. If this is what takes place with sand or other inorganic substance, what is happening in our bodies when these frequencies are introduced? When we sound various sounds, they even vibrate more is specific regions of the body. For example, the NG sound is more in the ear. The GA sound is more in the throat. HA vibrates more in the stomach. The MA vibrates more in the sinus cavities.
All of nature is made up of vibratory structures of activity (molecules, crystals etc...). So living organisms are actually complex rhythmic structural pattern of vibrating activity. The human being is made up of breathing cycles and heart beat cycles. There are rapid cycles seen in the brain shown by electroencephalographs and we have biochemical cycles. Vibratory patterns of proteins are within these biochemical cycles. There are vibrations within the atoms. We are a nested hierarchy of vibrations within vibrations. At every level there is a structure of vibrational activity.
Modern science confirms that at the cellular level, we are all vibrating atoms and sub-atomic particles. Remember, every organ, bone, or tissue in our body has a resonating frequency at which it most naturally vibrates. In a healthy body, molecules work together in an harmonious relationship , using the same pattern. If different sound patterns enter the organ, the harmonious relationship is disturbed and may establish it's own disharmonious pattern in a tissue. This is the beginning of what we call dis-ease. Part of the treatment in a sound healing session is to re-introduce an harmonious frequency which will reinforce the compromised organ and neutralize the disharmonious frequencies,. In this way, sound is healing the vibratory rhythmic structural patterns bringing us back in balance to our optimal healthy state.