Sound healing is the use of chanting, music, and other types of noises to stimulate the body to repair itself. The power of this modality lies within sound, which is transmitted as vibrations of energy through matter in the air at a particular wavelength. Within the worldview of sound healing, everything in the universe is recognized to be in a state of vibration, and thus giving out sounds. When a person is sick, they are considered to be "out of tune." In sound healing, musical instruments and the human voice are two of the most frequently used tools to bring a sick person back "in to tune." Although sound healing is a topic of increasing interest in complementary and alternative medicine, there is not yet a body of literature on this modality.
The belief system of this modality maintains that all forms of human illness occur when the body is not in sync with a state of health, which is defined as a vibratory frequency of the body that is "in tune" with the surrounding environment. During a sound healing session, the vibrations from instruments, noise makers, or even human voices shift a person's energy to exist in harmony with the health embodied as therapeutic sound. These frequencies may help a person heal, for instance, from emotional problems or a reoccurring infection.
Although the exact origin of sound healing as a modality is unknown, people from a variety of cultures have used chanting, music, singing and unusual sounds to soothe the sick for thousands of years. Contemporary sound healing is a combination of very old techniques of healing combined with modern research and world view.
In contemporary times, sound healing is used in a variety of therapeutic settings, such as birthing centers, detoxification clinics, and hospices. The sound may occur in the form of soothing music, but it also might include other noises, such as chanting or banging on gongs. Sound healing is sometimes also used in conjunction with other modalities. For instance, music may be played in the course of a therapeutic massage or during a session of acupuncture.
In recent years, the medical community has directed an increasing amount of attention to the role of music and soothing sounds in patient quality of life and pain threshold. However, no higher quality studies have been conducted to evaluate the role of sound itself in healing any medical condition.
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