— by Steven Halpern —
I first came to Vancouver in November 1976 to be part of the first international gathering of spiritual leaders and seekers at the World Symposium of Humanity. It was a life-changing event for me as it was there that I presented my healing music to an audience that recognized and embraced the new incarnation of a most ancient of the healing arts.
While there, I was invited to present my discoveries at the premiere Festival of Body, Mind and Spirit in London in the spring of 1977, which launched international coverage of the New Age of healing music. Virtually every radio, TV and print interview included the host saying something like, “I’ve never heard anyone speak about this before.”
Forty years later, the context is widely known; millions of individuals are tuning in to various aspects of sound healing. It seems like every day there’s another article, website or YouTube video to feed the growing interest. Not surprisingly, in addition to the useful information, there’s a lot of erroneous information and opinions masquerading as facts.
How can you make sense of all of this?
Insider’s secrets of sound healing
What do we mean by ‘sound healing’ and how can you choose the sounds that work best for you to enhance your life? Here’s a brief overview that can help you make more informed choices.
Sound healing is an inclusive term for the use of sound and music to support the natural healing intelligence of our ‘human instrument.’ Sound healing is not limited to tuning forks, crystal bowls or computer-generated frequency generators; it also includes specially composed instrumental music, chanting and vocal toning.
While I honour and value the power of music with lyrics to bring us together in times of tragedy, the emotional resonance of the words represents another aspect of music and has been the subject of many books.
I have been guided to focus on the exploration of how certain sounds can support and empower the innate healing intelligence locked within our cells and DNA. Because this occurs naturally when we’re in a state of deep relaxation, most of my recordings are composed with the intention of helping you shift effortlessly and enjoyably into that state. My sound healing music is based on the principles of resonance, entrainment, and intention.
I will be sharing my insights in person on December 7 and 8 at Unity of Vancouver. I invite you to join me in creating sacred sound space together. (See the event details at the end of this article.)
In the early days, I thought this modern application of art and science would be widely accepted as a legal, non-addictive and drug-free addition to the resources we have available to keep us in optimal well-being. I quickly learned that was a naïve perspective because a lot of people and industries did not want this information to become widely known. That was true in 1975 and it’s still true today. That’s why it’s important for each of us to test, for ourselves, whether the claims made by others really work for you.
One of the easiest ways to know if the music you are listening to is relaxing is simply to observe your breath and heartbeat. If you are breathing slowly and deeply, that’s a good thing. If the tempo of the music is faster than 60 beats per minute, your heartbeat will entrain to that speed, which is above the range of physiological relaxation, and thus, unsuitable.
Relaxation and the reduction of stress is now proven to be a fundamental building block to health, healing and well-being and a healthy lifestyle in general. For more information, read The Relaxation Response by Herbert Benson MD and Super Genes by Deepak Chopra MD and Rudolph Tanzi MD.
Most music is not composed for relaxation or healing. From Bach to rock, most music contains hidden stressful factors, built right into the compositional structure of the melody and chord progressions. This evokes an unconscious, analytical response that keeps you anticipating where the music will go next; it keeps you focused on the future. But true relaxation only happens in the present, in the Now.
And that’s where the more subtle aspects of entrainment come into play. Our heartbeat and pulse entrain to the rhythm of ‘the beat’ of most music. On a more subtle level, our brainwaves entrain to the brainwaves of the musician who is playing the music. On some of my recordings, like Deep Alpha or Deep Theta 2.0, I add an additional level of sonic entrainment tones to amplify the effect. I consider these as “vitamins of the airwaves” and find, as many listeners also do, that making a conscious choice as to what I listen to can be as important as what I choose to eat.
Now that the concept of mindfulness has permeated our culture, we see a commonality that can help explain the underlying healing phenomenon. To learn more, see my YouTube video Scalus Interruptus. https://youtu.be/-Ml8KiWH_1E
The beauty of choosing healing music is that it works automatically. You don’t have to think about it. Here are some key benefits:
- Increased feelings of well-being, happiness and inner peace
- The capacity to fall asleep more easily and awaken refreshed
- A more robust immune system
- Greater concentration, focus, creativity
This last benefit is becoming increasingly important to the millions of individuals who have some degree of ADHD or ADD. Parents and teachers of children with ADHD report significant improvement when they began using some of my albums, as do individuals with adult onset ADHD.
When our body, mind and spirit are aligned and in tune, we feel better. From that inner place of peace, we radiate peaceful vibrations out into the atmosphere. That is, I believe, the greater vision of sound healing and why we need more of it in our world.
Steven Halpern is a Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum selling recording artist, composer, researcher, author and pioneering sound healer. www.StevenHalpern.com
December 7: Concert
Healing Body, Mind and Spirit.
December 8: Workshop
Empowering Your Life with “Sound Medicine.”