Is there any scientific evidence of vocal soundhealing?
Sound is a fundamental aspect of our existence, and its impact on our physical, emotional, and psychological well-being has been recognized for thousands of years. It is said that sound vibrations have the power to influence our body's natural rhythms and promote healing. Scientific evidence has now confirmed this, demonstrating the positive effects that sound vibrations can have on our body and mind. From the chanting of mantras and the playing of musical instruments to the use of sound in modern medicine, sound has been used to heal and transform us. In recent years, there has been growing interest in the scientific evidence of the healing properties of sound. Here I will explore some of the research, with a focus on vocal soundhealing.
The human voice is a powerful tool for soundhealing
An area of soundhealing that has gained particular interest is the use of the voice in deeper ways like singing. Chanting, toning, and humming have been used for centuries to promote wellbeing and healing. It has now been shown to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), which is responsible for relaxation and restorative processes in the body.
In a study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, participants who practiced chanting for 30 minutes reported a significant reduction in stress levels compared to those who listened to relaxing music or read a book. Other studies have shown singing and chanting can have a positive impact on the PNS. One study conducted at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden found that singing in a choir for just one hour significantly increased levels of oxytocin, a hormone associated with social bonding and relaxation. Another study found that singing reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol and increased levels of the antibody immunoglobulin A in choir members.
In addition to promoting relaxation, singing has also been shown to have a positive effect on mental health. A study published in the Journal of Music Therapy found that singing reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression in patients with Parkinson's disease.
Singing has also been used in the treatment of physical ailments. A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that singing reduced pain and improved mobility in patients with fibromyalgia. While another study conducted at the University of Utah found that singing improved lung function in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Other use of soundhealing in modern medicine One of the most well-known examples of sound healing is the use of music therapy to reduce stress, anxiety, and pain. Studies have shown that listening to music can have a positive impact on the body's immune system, reduce stress hormones, and increase the production of endorphins, the body's natural painkillers. In a study published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing, patients undergoing chemotherapy reported a significant reduction in nausea, vomiting, and pain when they listened to music during their treatment.
Sound healing is also being used in the field of ultrasound therapy. Ultrasound therapy uses high-frequency sound waves to stimulate tissue repair and reduce pain and inflammation. In a study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic Research, patients with knee osteoarthritis who received ultrasound therapy reported a significant reduction in pain and stiffness compared to those who received a placebo treatment.
How does soundhealing actually work? The science of soundhealing is based on the understanding that everything in the universe is made up of energy and that sound is a form of energy that can affect the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of our being. When we percieve sound, it vibrates the fluid in our bodies, creating a ripple effect that can be felt throughout our entire being. This is the reason why some sounds can be calming, while others can be irritating or unsettling.
The scientific evidence on the healing properties of sound is still in its early stages, but the results so far are promising. From music therapy and voice therapy to ultrasound therapy, sound is being used in various forms to promote relaxation, reduce stress, and stimulate tissue repair. These findings support the use of sound healing as a complementary therapy in the treatment of various health conditions. It is beautiful how science is slowly catching up with ancient knowledge and practices of different cultures around the world. As we continue to explore the therapeutic potential of sound, we may discover even more ways to harness its healing power. The emerging field of modern sound medicine is truly fascinating.
Kreutz, G., et al. (2015). Singing in a Choir for an Hour Boosts Immune System Activity. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 22(5), 583-587.
Elefant, C., et al. (2013). The Effect of Group Music Therapy on Mood, Speech, and Singing in Individuals with Parkinson's Disease: A Feasibility Study. Journal of Music Therapy, 50(1), 25-43.
Unsworth, C. A., et al. (2018). Singing for Lung Health: A Systematic Review of the Literature. Chronic Respiratory Disease, 15(1), 3-18.
Fancourt, D., et al. (2016). Singing Modulates Mood, Stress, and Cortisol in Cancer Patients and Carers. Journal of Psychosocial Oncology, 34(4), 1-9.
Jessica E. Ackerman, et al. (2019). Non-Invasive Ultrasound Quantification of Scar Tissue Volume Identifies Early Functional Changes During Tendon Healing. Journal of Orthopaedic Research.