January 18, 2019

What is Healing Sound? What is entrainment?

Sound has subtle yet profound effects on our body, mind and spirit. We can feel it when we listen to the sound of waves breaking on the shore, a favourite piece of music, or the peaceful crackle of an autumn fire.

Something comes alive in us when we listen to certain sounds. We’re able to connect and move into relationship not only with the sound itself but also more deeply within ourselves. Different sounds have the power to evoke memories and feelings as well as transport us to different realms of consciousness. Joshua Leeds – author of The Power of Sound explains how sound works by

“…creating a frequency and vibration for someone that’s conducive for him or her to heal. Sound healing is trending up. It’s like where yoga was 15 years ago. People are realizing that sound is a viable medium to address distress, enhance learning, even work with an autistic child.”

It was when I began training to become a Gong practitioner that I realised I’ve been working with healing sound for over two decades. As a therapeutic storyteller I’ve come to realise my voice is an  instrument, not just because it breathes life into words but because the shape and tone of it can affect how other people feel.

“Alex has the most soothing and amazing voice. Our residents love her wonderful variety of stories and there is such a relaxed atmosphere when she graces us with her presence.”  (Netherclay House Residential Care Home)

So what is it that produces the healing power of sound? To understand, it’s important first to accept that the universe is made up of energy, we are all energy … and that everything including each cell in our body vibrates at its own unique frequency.  Dis-ease (on any level) is the manifestation of discord within us. If a single instrument (organ, or organ system) is playing its own tune, and not in harmony with the rest of the body then we have fallen out of tune with our true, naturally healthy state of being.

Emotional issues that are unresolved block the healing vibrations or cause the disease state to return. – R Gordon

So how do we bring ourselves back into harmony? How can we re-tune?

The basic law of quantum physics teaches us that everything in the universe is made up of particles or waves, vibrating like strings at different frequencies. From the cells in our own bodies to the light and sound waves that echo through the cosmos. Within these vibrational phenomena, resonating particles will communicate with, and influence each other.

The vibrational frequency of two objects in contact will frequently fall into sync. When the frequencies are the same, its called ‘resonance’. But when a vibrational body of a stronger resonance influences another in its field, leading the beat, its called entrainment.

In the late 17th century, Dutch physicist - Christian Huygens, (inventor of the grandfather clock) famously observed entrainment at work amongst the swinging pendulums of his machines. Setting a room full of pendulum clocks in motion at different paces, Huygen left them, only to find on his return that they had all fallen into sync.

“When two systems are oscillating at different frequencies, there is an impelling force called resonance that causes the two to transfer energy from one to another. When two similarly tuned systems vibrate at different frequencies, there is another aspect of this energy transfer called entrainment, which causes them to line up and to vibrate at the same frequency.” (Richard Gordon)

Our bodies naturally entrain to external rhythms without us really noticing. Phases of the moon entrain hormonal cycles and our own breath influences our heart beat and respiration. Over thousands of years, sound practitioners have discovered healing frequencies, in other words - entrainment and how it can be used to harmonise and heal our physical, emotional and spiritual bodies.

It will therefore come as no surprise to the gong bath enthusiast that the gongs are especially powerful healing instruments. The wide range of harmonics and layers of sound created in the gong space creates a resonance that is not only profound but also has the power to entrain, to raise our vibration and to bring us back into harmony on all levels.  Friend and client, Laurie attends regular Sound-Well gong baths.

She says

“It’s like a complete energy rewiring – a great de-stresser. I come away from  being immersed in the various sounds of the gong feeling that everything hard and heavy I have accumulated in my body and soul have been gently shaken into tiny bits that just floated away, so that I am lighter and more fluid."

As a gong and healing sound practitioner I am constantly surprised and delighted by the healing experience many individuals talk about. In essence, a gong bath can help resolve emotional, physical or spiritual dissonance; helping us rediscover balance and harmony.  During a ‘Gongbath’ the gongs generate waves of sound that intersperse with and bathe our entire body – both physical and non-physical, re-aligning our cells and pressing the re-set button as it were! The gongs are powerful tools for stress reduction & personal transformation.

If you’d like to find out more about the healing power of storytelling or the gong space at Sound-Well please click here. Alternatively email alex@sound-well.co.uk if you'd like to talk about an individual gong bath or visit the 'Events' tab on the website to find out where and when the next  is taking place.

Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. ~Plato

With thanks to Christina Sarich and Anna O'Faolan at Uplift.