Although it may sound revolutionary, sound healing is a well-known practice in many ancient cultures like Greece, India, Nepal, Egypt, and Tibet. In addition to healing the physical body, these ancient cultures have long known the power of sound in bringing balance to the various aspects of life.
In this guide, we look at some popular sound healing instruments that most people can use, regardless of experience level. You can use many of these instruments in self-healing meditation sessions, even if you’re new to vibrational sound therapy.
7 Popular Sound Healing Instruments
Originating in ancient Asia, gongs are arguably the oldest healing instruments best known for emotional healing.
In addition to restoring your chakra balance, the sound vibrations of gongs can help the brain reach the slowest brain wave states.
This instrument should be on your radar if you are looking to achieve deep relaxation and improve creativity during your sound therapy meditation.
Keep in mind that it takes a certain level of experience in sound healing therapy to use gongs correctly.
2. Tuning Forks
A tuning fork is a two-pronged instrument pre-tuned to specific frequencies for healing purposes. When played, the sound healing instrument creates a vibration at an exact wavelength that recalibrates the body.
Usually, a tuning fork is placed on various parts of the body when played. This sends vibrations into the body to rebalance the life force energy and bring peace and overall well-being.
Tuning forks are simple to use, and while it takes getting used to, beginners can use them for self-healing therapy with a little practice.
3. Tibetan Singing Bowls
Most people imagine a Tibetan bowl when they think of sound healing because it is arguably one of the most popular sound healing instruments in the world.
Made famous by Tibetan monks, the Tibetan singing bowls (or Himalayan bowls) produce soothing sounds that can be helpful in quickly getting you into a meditative state.
These robust bowls come in various sizes, each reverberating at a different sound frequency. Many people have found that these ancient bowls are effective for relieving modern stress. And learning to play them is pretty straightforward.
4. Tongue Drum
Tongue drums (not to be confused with handpans or hang drums) are small sound healing instruments that produce beautiful tones.
These versatile overtone instruments produce varying sounds depending on how hard you hit them.
To play a note, use a mallet or your fingers to hit the tongue drum. And you can create a chord by hitting more than one tongue simultaneously.
The sounds from this instrument can help nourish the forebrain, improving your decision-making and problem-solving skills.
5. Crystal Singing Bowls
Crystal singing bowls are similar to Tibetan singing bowls and are generally used in the same fashion.
However, crystal singing bowls are more fragile, making them more affordable than Tibetan bowls, which are made from metal. You can purchase a single crystal singing bowl or get an entire set of seven (representing the frequency of the seven chakras).
Crystal singing bowls are often used in meditation sessions, yoga, and various sound healing therapies because of the angelic sounds they produce.
The beautiful tones produced by these crystal bowls can quickly stimulate the brain, causing increased relaxation and enhancing your sense of well-being.
Kalimba is an ancient handheld instrument that dates back as far as 3000 years ago. The small instrument originated in Africa and was originally made with wood. Modern versions feature some sort of hardwood with carbon steel keys.
When played, kalimba produces a relaxing sound similar to a music box. Listening to the sounds of a kalimba is a quick way to calm a racing mind.
The thumb piano, as it is often called, is easy to play; simply use your thumbs to pick at the keys. You can hardly go wrong with this instrument because only you get to decide what notes to combine.
7. Wind Chimes
Wind chimes are another well-known instrument commonly seen in temples or hung outside people’s homes. Chimes are not mere decorations; neither are they meant to only scare away birds from farms.
The Koshi is a specific type of wind chime designed for healing purposes. The instrument is made with thin layers of veneered bamboo and features eight metal rods, each tuned with precision to produce a unique sound.
You can absorb the instrument’s vibrations when you bask in the sounds made by wind chimes. This is particularly beneficial in relieving anxiety and releasing stress.
The Science Behind Sound Healing
The fundamental principle of sound healing can be summed up in the following statements:
- Our mind and body are made up of an underlying energy field vibrating at different frequencies to produce emotions, mental attitudes, and physical behaviors.
- We can change any physical and mental behavior by altering this energy field.
A body that is not at ease or dis-eased (disease) is one whose parts are out of sync with the rest.
Sound healing works by bringing harmony and balance in parts of our lives that are out of sync, including physical and psychological aspects.
A 2018 study found that music or sounds with a 528 Hz frequency have positive effects on the autonomic nervous system and the endocrine system. The study showed that this frequency reduces mood disturbance, tension, and anxiety. According to the study, even five minutes spent listening to the sound of this frequency has a strong stress-reducing effect.
How is sound able to change the body’s energy?
The nature of sound is vibration, meaning it can travel right into the cells of our bodies and alter or rearrange any out-of-sync molecules. By “bathing” in the right sound frequencies, our mental and physical health can be restored without resorting to invasive procedures or ingesting drugs.
Benefits of Sound Healing Therapy
We’ll cover the benefits of sound healing in a bit. But first, it is important to mention that modern researchers agree that sound or music has a therapeutic effect.
A 2009 review showed that music could decrease pulse rate, lower blood pressure, increase cardiac output, and improve the parasympathetic nervous system’s (PSNS) functioning.
Interestingly, all of these were discovered in the 1700s, more than a century before a single piece of sound or music was ever recorded on a machine!
With that out of the way, here are some important benefits of using sound healing meditation.
- Adding this practice to your daily routine can help create physical, emotional, and mental balance.
- Sound therapy can produce instant and long-term relief from stress and anxiety.
- It lowers the risk of stroke and heart disease.
- It plays a huge role in improving sleep quality and sleeping patterns.
- Regular sound healing meditation can improve memory and concentration.
- Sound therapy helps with pain reduction and strengthens the body’s immune system against diseases and illnesses.
- It is effective for decreasing mood swings and boosting creativity.
- It allows you to tune into your higher consciousness.
- Sound healing therapy lowers cholesterol levels and reduces blood pressure.
Music therapy is used in autism treatment, and it can be beneficial for patients with:
- Learning difficulties
- Anxiety disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Behavioral and psychiatric disorders
Tips for Using Sound Healing Instruments
It can be tricky figuring out how to use sound therapy for soothing the mind or releasing tension in the body, especially if you’re new to the practice.
To help you with that, here are a few tips for getting the most out of sound healing therapy.
Practice Using Your Instrument of Choice
Before heading to your sacred space, instrument in hand, ready to play, it is usually a good idea to get the hang of your preferred instrument.
While you don’t have to be an expert to use an instrument for healing and relaxation, practicing before actually getting into a meditative state can help you focus on feeling calm and relaxed instead of fumbling with the instrument during meditation.
Create a Dedicated Environment for Meditation
Choose a private space where you won’t be disturbed during your healing meditation. Remove distractions like phones and block out external noises.
Decide whether you will sit or lie during the meditation session. Whatever works for you, ensure you are comfortable.
Consider adding elements to the environment that help you feel comfortable and safe. You can surround yourself with comfy pillows, crystals, or candles.
Whatever you do, ensure the elements won’t distract or make you uncomfortable. If you are uncomfortable, your mind will focus on the discomfort rather than the sound healing therapy.
Set a Clear Intention
Consider your intention before starting a sound healing session. Think of at least one thing you’ll want to focus on during the sound bath meditation. For example, you could focus on inner peace, harmony, love, or hope.
Remember to focus on that intention throughout the process.
Connect With the Sound of Your Instrument
Once you’re clear on your intention, touch the instrument with your hand to transfer your intention onto it.
Breathe deeply and relax. Play your instrument, and become one with the sound emanating from it.
If you can, hum or sing along with your instrument, letting your intention guide you.
Don’t Worry About Getting It Right
If you are new to sound healing instruments, you will likely get some things “wrong” the first few times, and that’s okay.
Don’t beat yourself up if things aren’t as “perfect” as you’d like them. And you definitely shouldn’t focus on getting a perfect experience the first few times you do a sound healing meditation.
Simply focus on relaxing and concentrating on your intention during the process. Focusing on how well or not the process is going will create more stress, and that’s something you don’t want.
It is okay if your mind wanders off. Instead of beating yourself up for not focusing on what matters to you, simply notice that you’re getting distracted and gently bring your focus back to the meditation.
With time and consistent practice, you will learn to stay present by training your mind to focus on the physical sensations in your body as well as the sounds coming from the instrument.
Everyone is different, so you can’t go wrong when it comes to choosing your preferred sound healing instrument. The most important thing is to pick one (or more) that completely resonates with you.
Remember that the best way to experience the profound benefits of these sound healing instruments is to start using them!
Starting a sound therapy meditation might feel intimidating if you are a beginner. But with the helpful tips in this guide, you can pick your instrument of choice and start practicing today.