How sounds move us
Sound is powerful. What we hear can instantly transport us to a different space, it changes the energy and emotion of the present moment.
Have you ever noticed how your heart rate changes to match the beat of a drum?
Or how a melody can soothe you to sleep, hype you up to work, or send you on a walk down memory lane?
Or how energy shifts inwards and the noise of your surrounding fades away when you tune in to the sound of your breathing?
Sounds, whether externally generated or inward focused, have that ability to trigger relaxation. You may have personally experienced what was described above, and this has been backed up by science!
In Finland, researchers have found that the brain employs a variety of neural networks when it processes the rhythm, tone and timbre of different types of music. "Our results show for the first time how different musical features activate emotional, motor and creative areas of the brain," says Prof. Petri Toiviainen from the University of Jyväskylä.
If we take music to its simplest forms, singing bowls and gongs are amongst the oldest musical instruments to exist in our current day. These instruments produce "overtones", notes that are different from the fundamental tone of the instrument. These overtones are what gives the instrument its timbre (sound colour).
Harmonic overtones are healing. When they come together, they produce sounds that are unearthly, helping to free the mind and reach a different state of awareness. The unearthly musical quality of overtones can help increase relaxation and self-awareness as the mind drops into a meditative state. With the complexity of the multiple tones emitted from singing bowls and gongs, they can help to promote feelings of well-being, and reduce tension, depression and anxiety.