“It is our Soul’s divine journey into a still point, a quality that is filled with a richness of rhythm and harmony,” is how Jennifer Emperador, a SWIHA admissions coach and holistic practitioner, defines the practice of sound healing.
“What’s there not to love?! I was introduced to sound healing back in 2010 and hooked ever since!“ says Jennifer, “All of my instruments emanate energy and I named them based on the energy they hold. For me, they are ‘alive’ and have developed a status of their own.”
Whether our conscious minds are actively acknowledging them or not, our bodies take cues from the sounds and rhythms that surround us everyday; it’s one of the most basic survival instincts that we, and most living creatures, possess.
Sound healing theorizes that our bodies operate at specific frequencies and, through the use of soundwaves, we can manipulate these frequencies; It’s a similar concept as regulating the breath during meditation.
The use of sound as a therapeutic tool is gaining popularity as a preventative medicine and a complement to traditional treatments. It is often incorporated in to yoga classes, alongside massages, during a reiki session or with other holistic modalities.
An Ancient Practice
Healers spanning every inch of the world and many millenia have acknowledged the healing power of sound. Hindi spirituality has utilized mantras for more than three-thousand years, and the Romans, Persians, Mongols, Chinese, and Turkish are just a few of the cultures to incorporate the gong in sacred ceremonies as early as 16,000BC. From Tibet comes the singing bowl, an ancient instrument dating back to a pre-Buddhist, shamanic Bon-Po tradition. There’s also the didgeridoo, developed by the Indigenous Australians about 1500 years ago, which has been shown to have fascinating effects on living tissue.
Even in significant cultural landmarks and holy centers, such as the Egyptian pyramids, the Greek temples and the Gothic-style cathedrals in Europe, we see examples of resonant architecture, which are designed specifically to magnify and project sound. The majority of these ancient sites were also built in close proximity to bodies of water, which produce a natural therapeutic soundtrack.
The Effects of Sound
“In our world filled with stress, sound healing can benefit everyone,” says Jennifer, “Even those who have never experienced it before. I educate my clients on the benefits and use of the tools that I use so that they can focus more on the experience versus what I am doing. All my first time clients are given the opportunity to play with my various gongs, bowls and chimes so that they can feel more connected to these amazing tools.”
Research has suggested that sound vibrations have the ability to steady heart rate, relax brain-wave patterns and regulate respiration.
“There are so many benefits to sound healing,” Jennifer says, “it brings harmony with the Universe and our own Being, promotes sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system balance, recharges all cell tissues, calms the mind, enhances creativity, improves sleep and mood, balances brain activity and stimulates spiritual visions or connection to Consciousness.”
“The effects [of sound healing] vary from person to person. Some may experience a cathartic emotional release, either during the session or few days after,” explains Jennifer, “This can feel overwhelming at first for those who are not comfortable or lack connection to their processing. However, as a practitioner, when integrating sound into your sessions it is important to play more gently. This is meant to be a soothing experience and a gift for your client to reach a state of peace and calm.”
Studied benefits of sound healing include:
- Reducing stress and anxiety
- Lowering blood pressure
- Aiding breathing and circulation
- Alleviating pain
- Improving the immune system
- Uplifting the emotional landscape
Try A Mini-Session on Yourself
Our mind-body-spirit connection naturally strives toward balance. Often, however, we experience excessive stimulus and “noise” with little time to dedicate to recooperation. This cycle prevents us from achieving balance and finding a state of harmony.
Chanting is one of the oldest forms of sound healing, and many of us have experienced an “Om” chant in a yoga class. But did you know that “Om” is useful off the mat as well? It vibrates throughout the body, working to reconnect and ground us to ourselves and surroundings.
The wise Rumi said, “I want to sing like the birds, not caring who listens or what they think.” Here’s a step-by-step guide to a relaxing refresh that can be done anywhere, anytime:
- Find a comfortable seated position.
- Close your eyes and take in a deep, full inhale.
- With the exhale, direct an “Aah” sound to your belly, the “Ooh” to your heart center, and “Mmm” to your crown chakra.
- You’ll soon feel your heart and your throat open up. Challenge yourself to chant with your whole being. Incorporate any organic movement that your body calls for.
- Continue with deep, full inhales and complete exhales at your own pace,
Become a Healer
Sound healing is a versatile and marketable tool to build or add to your holistic business. If you’re “hearing the call”, consider these classes at Southwest Institute of Healing Arts:
- Intro to Sacred Sound & Meditation – Singing Bowls & the Gong
- Sound Healing, Crystals and Trance States
- Reiki & Beyond – Sound & Vibration
- Hatha Gong Certification
- Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay up-to-date on specialty workshops and class offerings.
Get inspired to create your own holistic practice by checking out Jennifer’s thriving venture, Sol Discovery, through which she performs trauma-sensitive healing sessions on a wide range of clients.
With her signature earnesty, Jennifer concludes: “Through sound healing I’ve had the most intoxicating experiences and find that I can tap into a realm much bigger than this. In this place of serenity, I am able to cultivate a sense of well-being and experience an unfolding of love and forgiveness that I had never experienced before. Because it touched my heart and soul with such infinite depth, I was compelled to touch the hearts and lives of so many with the same gift.”