Many associate illness and disease with prescriptions and interventions such as surgery. Allopathic medicine and science have traveled a narrow path built on chemical substances and sharp instruments rather than energy.
But the ancients recognized sound, vibration, and frequency as powerful forces that influence life all the way down to the cellular level. The gifted Greek philosopher Pythagoras prescribed music as medicine, asserting that the musical intervals he discovered are clear expressions of sacred geometry. He stated that music is the phenomena of numbers in time, reflecting the structures of nature, and has the power to restore balance in an organism.
Shamanic traditions are found everywhere on the globe — it is the ancient system of, in part, healers entering trance states on behalf of patients to gain knowledge and insight into a condition. The shaman returns from the trance journey with prescriptive measures to return the patient to health.
Ancient and modern shamans employ drums and singing to access trance states — tourists attending Native American “pow-wows” observe drumming, dancing, and singing — evidence of ancient shamanic practices. Researchers believe that repetitive shamanic drumming and singing open a pathway to the subconscious, bringing an opportunity for healing and integration.
Behavioral science is deconstructing shamanic methods to understand their value. This research is working its way to the intersection of science and spirituality, with ground-breaking discoveries in healing with frequency, tone, and music.
Sound Healing Research
According to a study published by the National Institute of Health, “Music effectively reduces anxiety for medical and surgical patients and often reduces surgical and chronic pain. [Also,] Providing music to caregivers may be a strategy to improve empathy, compassion, and care.” In other words, music is not only good for patients; it’s good for those who care for them.
A 2010 Finnish study observed that stroke patients who were given access to music as cognitive therapy had improved recovery. Other research has shown that patients suffering from the loss of speech due to brain injury or stroke regain it more quickly by learning to sing before trying to speak. The phenomenon of music facilitating healing in the brain after a stroke is called the “Kenny Rogers Effect.”
For those struggling with addiction and substance dependencies, learning to play an instrument may play an important role in recovery. A study at the University of Wisconsin showed that exposure to the right music, tones, and frequencies produces dopamine, which is in short supply for the nervous system during the withdrawal process.
“If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency, and vibration.” —Nikola Tesla
Singing bowl bathing is gaining popularity as a method to reduce stress and anxiety and to promote well-being. Laying down with eyes closed, participants listen while different bowls are struck and toned by a practitioner.
Studies show that this practice, called “sound bathing,” directly reduces anxiety and depression; both are related to increases in disease. According to one study, “Sixty-two women and men with an average age of 50 reported significantly less tension, anger, fatigue, and depressed mood after sound sessions. Tibetan singing bowl meditation may be a feasible low-cost low technology intervention for reducing feelings of tension, anxiety, and depression, and increasing spiritual well-being.”
A study published in the Southern Medical Journal (2005) demonstrated the beneficial effects of music in hospital settings. Researchers reported that “For children and adults, music effectively reduces anxiety and improves mood for medical and surgical patients, and for patients in intensive care units.” Researchers also noted that ambient music increased empathy in caregivers without interfering with the technical aspects of treatment.
Can Sound Fight Cancer?
In 1981, biologist Helene Grimal partnered with composer Fabien Maman to study the relationship of sound waves to living cells. Maman was also an acupuncturist and had previously discovered that by using tuning forks and colored light on acupuncture points he could achieve equal and even greater results than he could with needles.
For 18 months, Grimal and Maman worked with the effects of 30-40 decibel sounds on human cells. With a camera mounted on a microscope, the researchers observed uterine cancer cells exposed to different acoustic instruments (guitar, gong, xylophone) as well as the human voice for 20-minute sessions.
Using the nine note Ionian Scale (C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C-D), Grimal and Maman observed that when exposed to sound, cancer cells lost structural integrity until they exploded at the 14-minute mark. Far more dramatic was the sound of a human voice — the cells were destroyed at the nine-minute mark.
Next, Maman and Grimal worked with two women with breast cancer. For one month, the women devoted three-and-a-half-hours a day to “toning,” or singing the scale. One woman’s tumor became undetectable, meaning it simply disappeared. The other woman underwent surgery. Her surgeon reported that her tumor had shrunk dramatically and “dried up.” It was removed and the woman had a complete recovery and remission.
Maman said, “Cancer cells cannot maintain their structure when specific sound wave frequencies attack the cytoplasmic and nuclear membranes. When the vibratory rate increases, the cells cannot adapt or stabilize themselves and die by disintegrating and exploding.”