Meditation, Sound Tools and The Scientific Research of Sound and Vibration:
What is Meditation?
Meditation is a way to train your mind to cultivate more beneficial states or attitudes. By repeating practices that you resonate with, you create imprints that can be called upon to quickly retain these states. Examples could be being more relaxed, less tense or worried, more focused, quieter, calmer with no mental or visual chatter.
Another could be a state of mind with more understanding of ourselves, of life, of happiness or joy. Or more love and compassion to ourselves and others. All are beneficial and attainable. There are many ways to meditate. Some involve silence, breath, some use visualizations, others repeated Mantras, spoken word, as well vibrations that use sound tools.
There are varied reasons. One is it feels great when you find a zone that is effective for you. Is very refreshing. As well, when our mind is not calm we can be troubled, create negative emotions, or patterns of unhappiness which prevent us from functioning at our best and enjoying being. These aversions can cause stress, illness within ourself or our relationships or just in our day to day events. The practice of meditation generates awareness, observation and gives us tools that can help. We can achieve states that are more relaxed, clear, calmer, reflective and introspective, kinder to ourselves and others. As we begin to notice what is going on inside us, and in the space around us, we develop understanding of the inter-being that connects all things.
What is Sound Meditation?
Sound meditation is the use of specific and unique vibrational instruments of which the sounds produced are great for stress and anxiety reduction, personal transformation. Often they are found objects with healing properties when played with the proper intent. Sound meditation is based on one of the fundamental threads in the universe, that all things are vibrating. These vibrations are traveling, creating resonance. What makes sound meditation unique is the frequency and timbre of the instruments that are used , the sounds they produce and in the case of voice, the way it is utilized. The pure crystal, special metallic, dreamtime or acoustical overtone content that sound vibrational instruments produce has lineage deep rooted in the oldest cultures on earth. The sounds that are produced tap into our primordial and innate knowledge and allow both a platform and basis for self healing. Sound is absorbed through the mechanics of the ears, as well through the skin, where there are even more receptors, through bone conduction, and also on a deep molecular level through vibration, so the whole body "listening" to these sounds creates sympathetic vibrations that are felt in our central nervous system. I refer this as waking your 'Sound Body'. If you find a sound that you resonate with you can re-align as needed, like you are tuning your body. This reduces cortisol levels, stimulates the production of beneficial nitric oxide, and allows you to reach relaxing brain waves states. Sounds can be used as a focus for meditation as well, they stimulate prana, or life energy and have similar psycho acoustical and spiritual properties as Mantras. Both the sounds and the stillness that the sound resolves into are beneficial.
THESE ARE LARGE BRUSH STROKE CONCEPTS AND AREAS OF CURRENT SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH ON SOUND THERAPY:
Engaging breath through mindful breathing and meditation improves aerobic capacity and brings more oxygen to the blood
The mind has the power to correct physiological imbalances through a mind body connection
Psychoacoustics, the scientific study of sound perception, is the branch of science studying the psychological and physiological responses associated with sound
The use of sound for therapeutic and medicinal purposes includes toning, mantra chanting, harmonic and overtone chanting, sympathetic sound vibration, wave and bone conduction, use of sound tools, rhythm, melody. As we are both vibrating and vibration sensing beings, we react to these stimuli in positive ways
The use of positive sound resonation boosts endorphins, the brain's natural painkillers, which in turn help build a stronger immune system
Sound can be heard through the ears as well as felt through the skin
Bone Conduction is an example of this, for instance using tuning forks, or toning with gently body connection touch
Reorganization of the body's tonal structure, on a cellular level, can occur by sound vibrations penetrating cells. This in turn re calibrates the bio-physiological system
Our Autonomic Nervous System regulates involuntary action, such as that of the intestines, heart and glands. Meditation accompanied by certain sound vibration creates a drop in stress hormones that activate our body's fight or flight response
Sympathetic autonomic response is associated with acceleration of the heart rate, constriction of blood vessels, rise in blood pressure, - is activated by stress and triggers the release of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, this in turn triggers FOFL, as the body and nerves get ready for action, tenses muscles. Through the mindful use of meditation and sound therapy, parasympathetic response occurs, which slows heart rate, increases digestive and glandular activity and relaxes the muscles, as well reduces the release of cortisol.
Through this relaxation response brain waves take on distinctive patterns characteristic of relaxation, and further causes beneficial physiological changes, have positive effect in relieving symptoms of illness and helps promote healing via chemical hormonal and cellular changes including Increased levels of immune-cell messenger molecules that help regulate the activity of other immune cells.
This results in stimulating healthy brain cells, lowering blood pressure, promoting deep breathing, boosting the immune system, regulating heart rhythm, lowering heart beat rates, lowering respiratory rate, which in turn produces greater relaxation, reduced stress, enhanced concentration, focus, elevated mood, lowered anxiety
Harmony and overtones have integral roles in how sound is perceived by the body.
Binaural beats have a positive effect on entrainment of left and right brain hemispheres and the ability to enter deeper levels of brain wave states which enhances relaxation and sleep
Tuning Forks, in a single tone or through harmonies, like a 5th, produces Nitric Oxide (NO) . When body is under stress, body's production of this diminishes, which causes various levels of illnesses. When puffed back up, which is what tuning fork vibrations do, creates enhanced cell vitality, vascular flow, heart healing, stronger immune system, more resistance to stress, greater levels of energy and stamina, sharper mental clarity, diminished states of depression, improved digestion.
By using certain rhythmic patterns we can recreate sensation of the womb. At approximately 72 beats per second, our body is at rest. These rhythmic patterns at this tempo create what is called heartbeat entrainment
Rhythmic entrainment has been shown to have positive effects on the study of and therapy for Parkinson's
Chinese medicine -states each organ has a unique energy structure, vibration and movement - certain sounds can shift these in therapeutic ways
Neuroplasticity - ability of brain and nervous system to change structurally and fundamentally as a result of input from the environment
Melodic Intonation Therapy (MIT) - uses melody and rhythm to repair language expression in the brain... also improves memory, coordination, cerebral function and health
The vestibular system can be stimulated through bone conduction of specific sound vibration. This tones the tiny muscles in the ear
Focused therapeutic ultrasound, non invasively beaming sound waves into brain tissue, oscillating super fast, open up the blood-brain barrier, clearing out toxic beta-amyloid clumps that are responsible for the worst symptoms of Alzheimer's.