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Sound Healing: Therapeutic Tool for the Future

by Zacciah Blackburn

Sound Healing is the new buzz word in complementary therapy. Sound healing therapies are being incorporated into traditional and non-traditional healing practices, more and more, from one’s own meditation room, to practitioners utilizing traditional massage, reiki, acupuncture, shamanism, nutrition, psychology, and standard medical practices. One heart surgeon recently was reported to say, "Any surgeon not using music (therapy) in the operating room is simply being negligent," because he has found it so significantly effective in his patients recovery. Some say ‘sound healing is the new yoga’, meaning that it will soon be practiced everywhere. What is it? Have you heard of sound healing yet? If not, you soon will.

Sound healing can be defined as the intentional use of sound or music to bring about enhanced states of wellness in our physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual being. Therapists and clinicians are using it because sound healing works. Sound methods vary from the simple use of music for relaxation or invigoration, to tuning forks, technological devices, drumming, crystal bowls, chanting, and ‘toning.’

Sound is the vibrational nature of our human structure, from our energetic (subtle) bodies, to our physiological and sub-atomic form. Modern physics is, more and more, coming to the same conclusions that ancient mystics have shared with us for thousands of years; the nature of the cosmos is vibration. Nada Brahma: All is Sound.

Sound therapies work because, at an elemental nature, we vibrate in syncopated rhythm and harmonic proportions to all life. There are underlying principals of energy and life force just coming into understanding through modern medicine and quantum physics. Though not fully accepted, some of the most unifying theorems in modern physics (those which tie together the differing behaviors of form and particles at gross physical {Newtonian} and subtle physical {quantum} levels of existence,) suggest that matter is composed of tiny filaments which vibrate at differing rates, creating the difference in atomic structures of plant, mineral, animal, and all forms of life. The thought that the whole earth is a song is no longer considered far from the truth. Other studies are examining the unified states of existence, and the nature of life and consciousness, which ancient seers and mystics have shared through the study of sacred geometries, music, and other arts and sciences.

The very foundation of western music, attributed primarily to Pythagoras, actually has its roots in earlier cultures, such as Egypt. The Pythagorean school, and its followers, utilized mystical understanding of the nature of vibration and music to emphasize its healing properties. The Hindu, Chinese, African, Australian, Native American, and most other cultures of the world have long understood the nature of sound as a bridge into other worlds, as an invocation of the Divine, as a method for creating deep healing, and for expressing and manifesting that which is desired.

In modern times, growing study and experimentation has been placed on a variety of sound healing modalities. Music Therapy was determined to be a highly beneficial therapeutic tool just after World War II. Today, it is taught in medical colleges and used in hospitals, hospices, and clinics world wide. It uses more traditional music to create an environment that supports emotional processing and healing. Musicians, therapists, medical doctors, scientists and clinicians have found the ability to use sound to increase feelings of wellness, relaxation, spiritual development, and physiological healing. They are re-discovering the ancient secrets of Buddhist chants, indigenous shamanic practices, and a vast number of methods other cultures have used with sound for eons, as well as discovering new techniques and devices. Medical doctors regularly use sound devices to look into the human body (sonograms) and use high frequency sounds to pulverize kidney stones and other non-beneficial tissue. Dr. Guy Manners of England developed ‘cymatherapy’, using sound frequencies from a tone generator directly applied to the patient’s body. His work was based on the research of Dr. Hans Jenny of Switzerland, which proved the incredible effects of soundwaves on physical substances.

Dr. Mitchell Gaynor, MD, an oncologist with Cornell University Medical Center, has found that the use of simple sound tools, such as crystal or Tibetan "singing bowls", chant, and meditative practices, can significantly reduce cancer tissue, and improve longevity and quality of life in his patients, when coupled with traditional therapies (over those using only traditional therapy.) Dr. John Beaulieu, ND, has found the use of tuning forks can instigate balance in the nervous system, and has shown the increase of release of nitrous oxide, a key component for healthy tissue and organs, via simple use of tuning forks. Dr. Molly Scott, PhD, has found that the expressing of "deep story" through ‘felt’ sounds gives relief to psychological trauma, through voicing trauma which has been stored in the limbic region of the brain. She suggests that, in many patients, this trauma may not be accessed through traditional language based therapies, as the experience of the trauma bypassed language centers of the brain when it occurred. Giving ‘voice’ to the trauma through the feelings which occurred at the time can allow the "deep story" to emerge and be processed in healing ways.

This is one form of ‘toning’, which we all have experienced and can easily use. Just as an infant cries when experiencing pain, then is ‘all better’ the very next moment playing joyfully again as if nothing occurred, by giving voice to the pain or trauma we experience, it isreleased from our neurology or tissue and we are healed. Mystics, shamans, and modern ‘intuitive healers’ can see this trauma stored, not only in tissue, but in our ‘energy bodies’. They would suggest that, over time, this keeps the natural rhythm of our energetic system from moving freely, causing blocks and restrictions. Our attitudes and beliefs tie into this, from feeling wounded, victimized, traumatized unjustly, to being taught that we are not worthy of the great significance we hold as human beings, children of the Divine. By giving voice to our pent-up feelings, we can create great release of stress and wounding. By honoring the sanctity of life within and around us, we can come into deep states of harmony, ecstasy and union, or connection with all life.

Some sound practitioners utilize "sacred sound", which varies in meaning, beginning with those who call upon the Divine nature of creation through traditional chants and mantras. Some languages are said to hold the very nature of that which is spoken in the sound of the word itself. Thus, calling upon that which is held as sacred in a devotional manner can bring about a sense of connection to the Divine and create joyous states of wellness and ecstasy. Some of the more mystical sound healers utilize advanced techniques of meditation and ‘subtle’ awareness to couple with those energies they hold as ‘pure’ or ‘divine’ and give voice to them, much like a channel giving a reading of ‘other beings.’ This can cause incredible feeling states of wellness and connection to the sacred, in mystical experiences.

No matter what your belief system, or spiritual discipline, you will find a growing number of practitioners incorporating sound therapies, modalities, techniques, and technologies which can assist you in enhancing your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual wellness. A quick search of "sound healing" on line can bring you in touch with numerous individuals, clinics, schools, and organizations using sound in therapeutic practice.


Zacciah Blackburn is a gifted intuitive, teacher, and sound healer, trained in classical healing and shamanic traditions, and sacred sound cultures. He teaches internationally, and practices in Vermont, at The Center of Light Institute of Sound Healing and Shamanic Studies, where he has created programs in sound therapies, earth mysteries, and personal wellness. He is Director of Education at the International Sound Healing Network, co-founder of the All One Now Network of organizations working for global transformation, and an accomplished musician and instrument maker. Contact: 802.674.9585, info@sunreed.com,  

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