the history of sound healing

The History of Sound Healing

Sound Healing Before Christ 

Sound Healing before Christ has a rich history that dates back to the beginning of creation. The roots of sound healing are found in many cultures, but they all share at least one thing: the belief that sound is the creation of energy, and because of this, it holds healing powers. While Hinduism and Buddhism both have their own unique approaches to sound healing, some similarities span not only these cultures but through almost all cultures throughout time. Both the aforementioned religions believe that chanting can lead to enlightenment and peace by cleansing the mind and body of negativity. For example, “Om” is said to be an ancient Sanskrit mantra which translates into “I am Brahma” or “I am divine love.” Hindus believe this word has power because it contains three sounds (Aum), representing three levels of existence: physical plane, mental plane, and spiritual plane. These three levels are believed to come together when you chant this word, so it balances out your chakras (energy centers). The Bible also shares the magic of sound and creation. John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

Sound Healing in the New Testament

It’s well known that Jesus healed the sick with his touch and performed many miracles. But did you know that he also used sound healing to show the power of God? Sound healing was a major part of Jesus’ ministry, and he often used it to bring people closer to God. Sound healing was a way for Jesus to help others understand just how much God loved them. He would use different sounds at different times, depending on what he wanted to say or show them. And because Sound can carry so much power, it could also be used as a way for him not only to heal people but also to tell them things about themselves that they had never realized before.

It wasn’t just disciples who experienced these kinds of power from Christ; even their enemies were sometimes held by his words alone. Though Jesus used the power of sound in the form of words and powerful phases, sound is commonly referenced inside of creation and healing. A few examples: Mark 5:41, Mark 7:34, Col. 3:16, Eph. 5:19

Sound Healing in the Middle Ages 

During the middle ages, sound healing was used primarily as a form of prayer. In fact, many monks and nuns were known to have excellent singing skills. But it wasn’t just about choral singing– Sound was used for healing in many ways:

  • Chanting and singing over people who were ill.
  • Making music to drive away evil spirits.
  • Blowing on horns or rattling gourds to drive away your evil spirits.
  • Beating drums during religious ceremonies parentheses even before battles parentheses.
  • Ringing bells at certain times of the day 
Ayurvedic and Islamic medicine and sound therapy

Ayurvedic medicine and sound therapy are two of the oldest forms of healing, with sound being used as a means of balancing and treating health conditions. Ragas were used at different parts of the day for different ailments. Yet, it was also believed that illness was a condition of a “sick soul.” Because sound and music, in general, were understood to be a language for the soul, these Ragas were a source of medicine used to reach the soul and bring the spirit back to joy or the living–Back to experiencing life.

Yet the Ragas are not the only sounds noted for curing illness. The Sufi mystics also mention that mental and nervous disorders are cured by music. In the book, “Musiki-ul-kebir,” Farabi attempted to set forth the relationship between music and physics and astronomy. According to Farabi, the effects of the makams of Turkish music on the soul were beneficial for a variety of which could aid in sleep, bring back laughter, give a person strength, bring them to action, and awaken pleasure, just a name a few. 

The makams and ragas are (to my knowledge) the only prescriptive sounds documented. Both the abovementioned speak on times of day and aliments treated for effectiveness, as well as treating the conditions of the spirit as part of the cure.

Sound Therapy in the Buddhist Culture

Buddhism uses sound as a form of prayer, chanting, and toning. In this culture, bells, gongs, and chimes played a part in the culture. Bells discovered dating back to Confucius (and before), which are so sophisticated, when rediscovered in our era, they could not replicate them without first studying the originals. Chimes were placed in gardens to help the harvest grow and keep negative energy away. Resting bells, tingsha, and gongs were used during different parts of the ceremony to signal the transition. Even the architecture shows reverence toward the sacred law of vibration. Sound was the beginning of everything, the connection to the ancestors and the method to connect to spirits. 

Sound Therapy Today 

Sound Healing today is nothing like what our ancestors practiced. Though it is true that sound was a revered form of healing and connecting to spirit, there is currently no history to support the emerging technology of sound baths. Many like to share how this new technology has been practiced for thousands of years. However, history proves that it was reinvented in the 70s when the need to connect to other cultures began to merge. Yes, Gongs, bells, chimes, and many other instruments have been around for thousands of years. Yes, sound has been used for ritual and healing for even longer; the practice we use is relatively new. Yet, this doesn’t mean the effectiveness of sound healing today is diminished; just ask anyone who has been to a sound bath. There is undoubtedly magic afoot in this evolving technology.

Today, sound healing is a holistic approach to health and well-being that uses the power of Sound to promote relaxation, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve sleep and overall health. Sound healing can also improve your immune system, reduce pain and inflammation in the body, increase creativity and productivity at work or school, accelerate weight loss, and strengthen relationships with others. 

Conclusion

Sound healing today has certainly evolved. However, the understanding that illness is only a symptom of a restless soul, and that sound is a langue of the soul, is wisdom passed along for thousands of years. And, in a time with so much spiritual unrest, we can understand why sound healing has become more mainstream in recent years as science supports what our ancestors have always known… its effectiveness. Though the way we look at sound healing today is very different than how it was practiced in history, the healing effects appear to be alive and well.

Sound can support the healing of many conditions, such as stress, depression, insomnia, and pain relief. It may also help those who suffer from chronic illnesses or ailments like arthritis or migraines. We know this because history shows that all of these conditions are not of the body but the spirit, and when we use sound to reconnect to spirit, we reconnect to the living and the feeling of aliveness that the soul desperately craves. It is why we are here; to live, to feel alive, to grow, and to evolve through living. If you’re ready to connect to living again, sound may be the path of least resistance. Give it a try. It certainly can’t hurt.