Sound Healing with Binaural Beats


Sound has a long history as a healing modality. In ancient Greece there is documentation that it was used for mental health and other cultures such as Tibet and Australia have used sound healing instruments for over 40,000 years.  Sound therapy, which it is often called today, uses varied musical instruments including didgeridoos, gongs, drums, chimes, bells and even the voice through chanting.

A new version is vibroacoustic sound therapy. This technology uses audible sound vibrations. Sound frequencies within the range of human hearing are directed to the body through a system of transducers. At this time, only a handful of clinical trials on the effects of vibroacoustic therapy have been published.

One kind of sound meditation that is popular is called “sound baths.” These session utilize gongs, Tibetan singing bowls, quartz bowls, and bells to guide the participant or listener. These practices reveal how the experience of sound manifests not only through hearing, but through tactile physical vibrations and frequencies.

A review of over 400 published scientific articles on music as medicine found strong evidence that music has both mental and physical health benefits in improving mood and reducing stress. One study examined the effects of simply lying down and listening to the high intensity, low frequency combination of gongs, singing bowls, and bells in a sound meditation session. Following the session, participants reported significantly less anxiety, tension, anger, fatigue, and depressed mood than before the session.

How does sound therapy work?

Sound healing is based on the principle that all matter is made of energy and is in a state of vibration. This includes that every organ, cell, bone, tissue, and liquid of the human body carries a frequency. These make up what is our overall or resonate frequency. This is changeable and dependent on what we do, feel, think, eat and so on. Some things are not always of a high vibration and when this happens our resonate frequency will drop. This may open us up to sickness. Sound can be used to correct the low frequency and assist in bringing someone back into harmony.

Sound is measured in terms of Frequency or Hertz (Hz). These healing frequencies and sounds can be delivered in live sound therapy sessions such as yoga classes or stand alone. Sound healing instruments can be in the room or applied to the body. When instruments, such as tuning forks and singing bowls are played on the body, it is a form of local vibration therapy.

Good vibrations

You may ask, how does this work?  One theory is that sound healing instruments generate sound waves. Each molecule in the body absorbs a small amount of energy from these waves and then passes the wave on to the next molecule. When molecules are hit by sound waves close to their inherent frequency they will oscillate or resonate. The sound vibrations cause alternating compression and relaxation of cells. It is like a form of massage at a cellular level deep within the tissue.

The interesting thing is that when the cell is compressed it loses some of its fluid, along with waste products and toxins. We definitely want that to happen!  As the pressure relaxes, fresh nutrients are drawn into the cell and hormones within the tissue are also stimulated by an oscillation effect that will improve blood flow to the area for hours.

Healing with “binaural beats”

Binaural beats” is another sound therapy. The concept is that listening to certain frequencies can synchronize and change one's brainwaves. Electrical activity in the brain is displayed in the form of brainwaves, measured using a device called electroencephalogram (EEG).

There are four categories of brainwaves, which range from frequencies that occur when your brain is most active (beta) to the least activity, such as in deep sleep (delta). Different states of alertness and consciousness in different parts of the brain generate varying frequencies of brainwaves.

The theory is that the brain synchronizes its brainwave frequency to the difference in hertz between tones played in each ear. When each ear hears a tone at a slightly different frequency, your brain tries to compensate by creating the perception of a third sound. To hear the binaural beat, you must have sound coming in each ear and this is why you use earbuds or headphones. When binaural beats are sustained over a period, they can synchronize with your brain waves. As a result, binaural beats can alter your brain wave activity as well as your levels of arousal.

More research is being done to understand more the mechanism of the healing benefits of sound. In the interim, give it a try yourself. Visit the Wellness Room at the RFC and try “binaural beats” and see what you think.  While you're there, enjoy our PEMF mat, infrared massage mat, massage gun and/or our compression boots. Give yourself a little self-care.


About Author

Celeste Cooper

Wellness & Fitness Manager

Celeste has been in the science, health and wellness field over twenty-five years. She began as a research chemist with a concentration in genetics and nutritional biochemistry. After working in the medical field, she saw the need to follow a path of proactive wellness and prevention. After receiving her Masters in Health Education, she ventured into the mind/body world receiving training in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Yoga. Shortly after, she received the 2003 Wellness in the Workplace Award for a large health system in the state of Virginia. In 2004, Celeste joined SAS Institute, Inc. and continues to be passionate in her position overseeing Wellness and Fitness. She believes curiosity and collaboration bring insight and new ideas which bring out the best in everyone from team members to those who are making healthy lifestyle changes. Believing that the body knows how to heal if given the proper tools, Celeste earned certifications in Aromatherapy and Essential Oils, Classical Chinese Medicine and Homeopathic & Naturopathic Medicine. She earned her Doctor of Naturopathy degree in 2020. Celeste is a published author and practices what she preaches and teaches. She is a nationally recognized Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES) and has advanced certificates in Integrative and Functional Nutrition, Genetics and Genomics. She is an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT) with the National Yoga Alliance, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Instructor, Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach (FMCHC) and Certified Yoga Therapist (CYT).

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