Sound and music have been used since ancient times for healing and transformation in various cultures. Today, there is a growing re-emergence of interest in this field of sound healing in the western world with many different paradigms and philosophies about the effects of sonics and their use as a transformative and healing energy. Though many of the major questions about sound healing are still unanswered, we uncovered some very interesting facts and philosophy around the healing art of sound therapy.
Glad.is did some research on sound healers in Los Angeles and interviewed Chris Seitz from Axis Evolving in Culver City. Sitting down with Chris is an experience in it’s own. Just a couple of minutes with her and the world seems calmer and more relaxed. She is clearly a natural healer, and when we asked her about this, she said she knew from a very young age that she had a special sense, that she could tap into energies that other people were not aware of, and that she was fortunate that she had parents who encouraged her to nurture her gift.
Seitz shared that gift with us and we got the chance to experience the sounds of her crystal bowls. As in a typical session, you sit or lie comfortably, with eyes closed, in an alert but relaxed state. Chris and the bowls do the rest – she skillfully moves her mallet around the outside of her eight different sized crystal bowls. The bowls are harmonically tuned crystal, can sound continuously and at the same time, and the distance between the bowls allows the sounds to blend and weave. Different motions such a striking them, or rubbing around the outside of the bowl changes the intensity of the sounds and vibrations. The affect on our bodies (and minds) is quite incredible. The vibrations can quite literally be felt in your core, and the sound feels like an amphitheater between your ears. Expect to not only hear – but to feel sounds that you’ve never heard before. The experience seems to have the relaxing effects of a week’s worth of vacation.
But the question ‘What exactly is sound healing?’ turned out to be quite an ambitious question — the use of sound as a healing modality dates back literally thousands of years, and there are many different types of sound healing tools or instruments to explore – Tibetan bowls, drums, tuning forks, voice didgeridoo and bells, oh my!
Those church bells in small villages? Yep, in addition to announcing start of a service or to provide the time of day, those tones are also a form of sound therapy for the surrounding village. And from bells to drums and bowls, all of these tools have been used in different cultures and modalities to achieve the same end result: balance of the body, mind and soul. And, like much of the “New Age” exploration happening around us, the re-emergence of sound healing is in large part a rediscovery of ancient technique or practice combined with modern scientific research and our personal openness to alternative ways of non-invasive healing.
Seitz advises that as a society we’ve unfortunately been educated out of realizing how able we truly are of accessing our innate resources for healing. Sound therapy assists in awakening these latent potentials while providing a slew of benefits that come with the deep relaxation that results from being immersed in the sound of the practitioner’s preferred instrument. When practitioners like Seitz talk about sound healing, she is working with sound frequencies, “a power that has the ability to re-configure molecular structures in the human body”. Makes one consider where phrases like “good vibes” or “rings true” might have had their origins.
Sound healing acts as a catalyst for healing when the frequencies created by the instrument oscillate through the room and into the body affecting, for instance, tissue, bones, lymphatic system, central nervous systems and the brain.
Water is considered a natural conductor of sound due to its density, as opposed to, say, air. With the average human adult body made of nearly 60% water, we are considered by sound therapists to be perfect sponges for sonic waves.
There is a lot of research on how sonic waves also interact with brain waves and essentially alter brainwave states. The brain registers sound and sends a signal through the body. Sound therapy provides a path to unlock full-brain integration and provides conscious access to the 4 primary brainwave states. It has been said that we use only 10% of our brain – Seitz asks us to imagine the possibilities of accessing our whole brain.
Our 4 primary brainwave states, which sound therapy helps us access, are delta, theta, alpha and beta:
delta (0.5 – 4 HZ). Associated with deep levels of relaxation such as sleep.
theta (4 – 8HZ). Associated with tranquil states of awareness in which vivid internal imagery can often occur.
alpha (8 – 12 HZ). Relaxed nervous system, ideal for stress management, accelerated learning and mental imagery.
beta (12 – 30 HZ). Associated with waking or alert states of awareness k-complex (30 – 35HZ). Clarity and sudden states of integration, the “ah-ha experience”.
Healing takes place in the theta and delta states and once right brain and left brain activity are balanced and anxiety and stress are decreased. The left hemisphere of the brain governs logic and the ability to be analytical and objective, while the right hemisphere is said to govern intuitive, thoughtful and subjective processes. Traditional formal education has set us up to stimulate the left brain, so with the right brain lacking proper stimulation to fully develop we aren’t traditionally educated on intuitive processes such as basic survival skills in how to tend to our own psychological needs, Seitz explained. Sound healing, however, brings us back in touch with our own resources – or what is often considered wisdom from a higher vibration, what we call our soul.
Einstein’s Law of Vibration is a law of nature that states that ‘nothing rests; everything moves; everything vibrates.’ And much like the external world around us, all of our bodily cells are moving and vibrating constantly. EVERYTHING has a vibration. (Yes, even cement and steel have their own vibration.) To function and perform at optimal levels of health, our body needs to be tuned, like a car. This tuning refers to tuning/balancing the energy centers of our body, which are known by the Sanskrit word chakra. There are seven major chakras and each is known to vibrate at a note that resonates with the musical scale: C, D, E, F, G, A, B.
In holistic healing, dis-ease is a manifestation of blocked energy in the chakra system. Seitz offers sound healing to oscillate through those blocks creating a fluid state of energetic equilibrium, which results in physical ease and comfort.
Since vibrations and sounds are considered to make up the universe, then logically speaking (left brain here), everything in this universe must have a vibrational level or frequency, and if that frequency can be measured then we can use the medium of sound vibrations to communicate or create change throughout the universe.
Seitz says sound healing works whether or not the person is fully conscious, even if a person dozes during a session, the frequencies are omnipresent in that session and interacts with the person’s auric field, penetrating the physical body as the sounds come to interact with the whole person and elevating them to an entirely higher rate of vibration.
You can get a virtual feel for the Chris’ Crystal Bowl Healings here.
Find out more about Chris and how to contact her here.
Examples of sound healing success stories have been written about children and adults who live with impairments from reading to Parkinson’s. Seitz works in Evolutionary Human Development, Relationship Fulfillment, Life Mastery, Stroke recovery and Autism behavioral support. She is often called the Autism Whisperer; having worked with families impacted by autism, and is married to an Autistic adult. Chris has also worked with families and teens at risk, and is a presenter at national and international Autism conferences. Chris has a Masters in Psychology and has been practicing sound therapy for over 20 years. She is most grateful for her parents, expressing gratitude for being fortunate to have parents who acknowledged her gift and encouraged her to pursue it.
Deep inside I feel that this world we live in is really a big, huge, monumental symphonic orchestra. I believe that in its primordial form, all of creation is sound and that it’s not just random sound, that it’s music. – Michael Jackson