This summer I spent a little time at the beach with my family. As I sat back watching the ocean, I spent some time thinking about sound. Sound is an important component to the BrainTap experience, but I’m sure many of you are wondering if sound really helps you relax and heal.
We know some sounds are soothing, like the ocean waves I was watching at the beach; while other sounds are jarring, like a traffic jam or sirens blaring around you. I think we all know which sounds we’d prefer to be listening to, but how do those soothing sounds affect our bodies?
Sound healing is a practice that uses vibrations such as those produced by gongs, singing bowls and tuning forks to relax the mind and body. Healers say the effects occur because the body relaxes and blood pressure is lowered, which improves circulation and respiratory rates. This practice has been used for centuries by cultures like the Aborigines in Australia and Tibetan monks. As you know, we at BrainTap are big proponents for anything that aids in relaxation, mindfulness and stress reduction, so maybe those cultures are on to something.
Sound therapy isn’t just about hearing sounds that are pleasant. Science has proven you can use different sound frequencies to hack your brainwaves and heal your body. By using certain rhythms, you can take your brain from beta to theta and even into delta where healing exists.
According to Dr. Mark Menolascino, an integrative and functional medical practitioner, “Everything in the universe has a vibrational frequency. We are hard-wired to have sound be part of us. In the brain, all our neurons fire at different frequencies based on the data they receive from things around us. These vibrations interact with every cell in your body.”
The biology behind sound healing
Biology also offers an explanation for how sounds can heal. Your ear contains the vestibulocochlear nerve, which connects to the vagus nerve. This vagus nerve is the major parasympathetic nerve in the body. The parasympathetic nervous system controls rest and digestion, stress levels, and relaxation. The vagus nerve controls hormones, digestion, glucose levels, inflammation and heart rate. The vagus nerve also has a branch that goes to the tympanic membrane that vibrates in response to sound. That means every sound that you hear sends that information to the vagus nerve. Stimulating the vagus nerve in the right way can bring your body into relaxation states which helps the body heal naturally.
Says Dr. Menolascino, “Using different sound frequencies can stimulate cell production of nitric oxide, a vasodilator that opens up blood vessels, helps cells be more efficient, and mediates your blood pressure at a cellular level. Anything that helps nitrous oxide will help your healing response; and anything that calms your mood down will reduce inflammation, which also benefits your health.”
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