The Hidden Power Of Sound & How To Access It Daily
Why does a baby's cry instantly flood a mother's body with a myriad of stress hormones?
How can a song on the radio stir up powerful emotions, from joy to anger, regret to desire?
Why does sound itself evoke such primal and deeply felt emotions?
What are the other untapped properties of sound as a technology for human wellness?
Sound is a vibration that travels through air, water, and solids and therefore through the human body. It has the capacity to shift neurochemistry and neurobiology in a profound and unprecedented way as a therapeutic tool. It's produced by all matter and is a fundamental part of survival for every species because our brains are wired to immediately shift in response to sound. There is a hidden power within sound that has only begun to be investigated.
There is a hidden power within sound that has only begun to be investigated.
Today, medical science is using music therapy to help stroke patients recover their speech; sound vibrations to break up stones in the body such as gallstones, as well as solid tumors such as uterine fibroids; and sound frequencies to stimulate collagen to slow down the skin's aging process. We are on the brink of a "sound medicine revolution," but we are still only slowly sorting out the science behind why sound is so powerful. We need a new scientific model of biology to usher in the field of vibrational medicine.
How "biofield science" is linking modern science to ancient traditions
The word biofield was officially coined in 1992 when the Office of Alternative Medicine at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) convened an ad hoc committee of complementary and alternative practitioners and researchers to discuss their work.
The biofield reincorporates the ancient concept of the human body as a system of energy fields. The formal definition for biofield given at that time was "a massless field (not necessarily electromagnetic) that surrounds and permeates living bodies and affects the body." Beverly Rubik, Ph.D., the biophysicist who instituted the term aptly describes it as "nature's original wireless communication system."
Ancient medical systems embrace the vibrational nature of life and therefore have a deeper understanding of using vibrations, such as sound and light, as medical tools. In Western medicine, we mainly use inaudible frequencies for some limited uses, such as the case with ultrasound and lithotripsy. But there is much more that can be done with both audible and inaudible sound frequencies to benefit humanity.
With the emergence of biofield science, we will be able to explore sound and other vibrational technologies as important medical tools.
How to use sound medicine in your own life
- The easiest and most widely practiced form of sound medicine today is probably mantra meditation. In this practice, a primal sound such as a bija mantra—which is a sound without meaning—or a phrase, is repeated either silently or out loud. Mantras are present in different civilizations around the world and are part of the medical heritage of many ancient cultures, several of which have preserved this practice in the modern world.
- Another way to adopt sound medicine is through the use of sound baths. Although sound baths have become popular to attend in yoga studios and other venues, they are just as easily created at home using music that carries a resonance with natural frequencies, such as singing bowls, gongs, bells, the ocean, etc.
- Don't forget that walking in nature also offers you a free sound bath by listening to the healing vibrations of the natural world.
Practicing a mantra meditation
The mantra practice that I most commonly prescribe for my patients is the chakra mantra meditation (an audio version is also available online):
Step 1: Chant the following mantra orally for 5 minutes for 3 days; then 10 minutes for 3 days; then 15 minutes for 3 days; then 20 minutes each day thereafter. Eventually, chant it silently once it becomes familiar:
Step 2: Focus on the following chakras as you are chanting the mantra:
Nam, Lam (Root Chakra)
Mam, Vam (Sacral Chakra)
Sim, Ram (Solar Plexus)
Vam, Yam (Heart Chakra)
Yam, Ham (Throat Chakra)
Shiva Om (Third Eye)
The basic principle behind this practice is that mantras are primordial sounds from nature and they carry a specific frequency that connects us to a more expanded part of ourselves that is often hidden within the white noise of our hurried lives. These mantras quiet our noisy minds by reconnecting us to a higher internal frequency.
When we generate these special sounds, they create a resonance frequency that is translated into a specific biochemical response in our cells. This creates a shift in our biochemistry, which creates greater balance in our mind and body. Nature knows how to create a state of natural homeostasis. With mantras, we are using the same intelligence within nature to bring our internal environment of the body and mind back into balance.
I was even surprised, during my research of sound medicine, to discover that sound is an actual technology—one that is almost unknown in much of the modern world. It is like discovering electricity for the first time and realizing the different ways in which it can be used to benefit our lives.
Because sound is such a common part of our life, we assume we understand all of its uses, but that is not the case at all. We are blinded, just like a fish in water, by the fact that we are swimming in a sea of audible frequencies used daily for simple things like communication and entertainment. But there is so much more we can do with sound as a tool and only as our science catches up to the vibrational nature of the human body will we begin to embrace sound as an important technology in life.
Dr. Kulreet Chaudhary, MD, is a neurologist, neuroscientist and an internationally recognized expert in the ancient practice of Ayurvedic medicine. She earned her medical degree at Loma Linda University School of Medicine; completed her internship at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and neurology residency at University of California San Diego (UCSD).
Chaudhary is the author of “The Prime” (Penguin Random House, 2016) and “Sound Medicine” (Harper Collins, 2020); is a pioneer in the field of integrative medicine and is a highly sought-after speaker, researcher and adviser for Healthy Directions. She is the former director of Wellspring Health in Scripps Memorial Hospital, where she successfully combined conventional treatments with Ayurvedic practices of detoxification, diet, and lifestyle management to help patients effectively manage chronic neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and migraine headaches.
Her program was so successful that it is now used for a wide range of health concerns, including weight issues and chronic disease. Through her integrative approach, Chaudhary teaches her patients about the connection between mind, body and spirit, which impacts every aspect of health both physically and mentally. Learn more at www.DrKChaudhary.com.