Ever since I was a child sounds have been an intricate part of my life, especially my inner healing. Life itself can be likened to music with its highs and lows, fast and slow pace, and ups and downs. It’s no wonder music is called the universal language. So many of us rely on music to keep our spirits up on a regular basis – why is this?
Besides the fact that music of all kinds sounds great, music is good for our health. Music therapy is one of several sound methods that is used for healing.
The effects music has on the human body ranges from calmness to energy to immune system boosting to easing tension in the muscles. Think about the effects music has had on you over the years. It can be soothing. It can give you a rush.
We live very stressful lives and while we find it hard to relax many of us will put music on in the car, at home, or at work to help us get through our day.
According to an article on About.com on stress management through music, research has shown that music therapy has a tremendous healing effect on our bodies and minds. One study showed how music has an effect on our brainwaves – faster beats can improve our concentration, while slower beats can create a calming effect. These benefits improves our health by decreasing stress levels, lowering blood pressure, and lowering our risk of developing depression and anxiety issues.
All of this knowledge makes me smile at the old saying, “Music soothes the savage beast.” We live in a society that is fact-paced and overloaded with stress-building issues that can take its toll eventually.
For the past two years, I have practiced chanting. The most popular chant is OM. I use this one also. However, I have found that the sounds that can rise from ones’ voice can prove to be just as therapeutic as listening to music. Quite often, I will combine chanting with soft meditative music in the background.
Chanting is the repetitive speaking of a word or a mantra. A mantra is a phrase or a statement which affirms something specific and positive and is repeated several times during a meditation session. When most people think of meditation, they think of silent reprieve, and although this is true, it is not the only form of meditation.
Right now, you can try to say ‘OM’ several times in a row. Say the word slowly concentrating on the sound of it and how it vibrates through your body. The proper pronunciation of ‘OM’ is ah-oo-mm. So there is ‘ah’ like a relaxing or refreshing sigh, ‘oo’ that rhymes with ‘who’, and ‘mm’ like an exploration of eating good food. Say each sound one after the other bringing it together like a whole word, but pronounce it slowly. It is interesting to notice how each part of ‘OM’ feels within the throat and the rest of the body as it spreads.
You can also chant other words like ‘love’, ‘peace’, or ‘God’, depending on your personal preference and what you’re trying to accomplish with the chanting. You can chant phrases too such as, ‘All is well’, ‘Life is good’, or ‘I am at peace.’ These are positive affirmations that many people are using these days to keep themselves in a good state of mind throughout each day.
Remembering that you are speaking these words and phrases repetitively, which is what makes it chanting.
Other Helpful Sounds
*Sounds of nature – wind, rain, thunder, birds chirping, leaves on the trees, etc. You can listen to these sounds outside or purchase a CD with these sounds on them.
*Sound of someone else’s voice – a friend over the phone or in person who has a particularly calming voice, an audio book of poetry or positive thought being read by someone with a calming voice, etc.
*Humming – take some time each day to simply hum a few times. Drag the humming sound out for as long as you can each time and notice the calming effect on your nerves.
Enjoy the sounds all around you and improve your health!