By Steven Halpern
Psychoacoustics involves physical, psychological, and emotional responses to sound and music. To gain a fuller appreciation of the healing powers of sound we must, I believe, consider the ways that sonic stimuli work with our innate intelligence toward balance, coherence, and self-healing.
We know that every atom, molecule, cell, organ, and chakra has a characteristic frequency at which it vibrates. As such, each resonates to incoming frequencies as well as radiates those same frequencies out to the planet. Leading researchers now understand that our bodies are self-healing organisms, if we give them a chance. Using sound and music can provide the “sound nutrition” and vibrational building blocks to support the innate intelligence of our body to keep us healthy.
Recently, in Super Genes, Dr. Deepak Chopra and Dr. Rudolph Tanzi documented that we can actually communicate with our cells, genes, and DNA to instruct them to express higher levels of optimal well-being. This opens up new horizons of self-healing as we participate in our own healing journey.
Stress and Music
Hidden stress factors inherent in most music add to an individual’s overall stress level, without the person’s awareness, which can amplify or undermine the benefits of the music itself.
Most music unconsciously hooks us into following the melodic and harmonic patterns. One’s attention is focused on where the music is going in the future. This “paralysis of analysis” creates stress in the present moment for the listener. In addition, the emotional state of the composer or performer affects the way the listener experiences the music. It’s not just the notes, it’s the energy that comes through the music. If the composer/performer is feeling stressed, or coming more from ego than from love and being in service to the healing needs of the listener, those vibes are encoded into the music. We are also entrained by the musician’s brainwaves, as well as beneficial sonic entrainment tones.
Relaxation, Healing, and Mindfulness
Relaxation takes place in the present moment. Likewise, the essence of mindfulness is to become mindfully aware of the present moment. Dr. Herbert Benson’s research into the “relaxation response” documented that stress is a contributory or aggravating factor in at least 80 percent of diseases. Therefore, reducing stress should be a valuable and viable goal for a musician/healer/practitioner. With less stress, the body’s innate intelligence, biological, and energetic systems can work together.
Research by quantum physicists like Dr. William Tiller has demonstrated that intention can be measured. Even without scientific apparatus, we can sensitize ourselves to the subtle effects of a musical selection by observing how it affects our breath, our heartbeat, and our awareness of the present moment.
As we tune in to the implications of the multi-dimensional music and audible tones, we are reminded that the most ancient uses of music were ceremonial, to promote inner peace and strengthen our connection with the Divine. Appreciating the many subtle levels at which music affects us opens the doorway to more effective modalities to help manifest higher levels of health, healing, and wellness.