When we think of healing in today’s Western society, there is normally a strong association with the medication formed by many of the pharmaceutical companies. This has not always been the case. For many thousands of years, man used other forms of healing. Early civilisations such as those found in Egypt, China, and Indian, believed that an outer and inner elixir was the best way to purify the body and prolong life. The external or outer elixir was normally linked to minerals & plants & the inner elixir presented itself within the “chi” or “life force” of the body; primarily used within a practice of movements such as Qigong. Within this quest to find the “elixir of life”, or the purification of one’s spirit (together with seeking answers into the depths of immortality); the foundations of alchemy lay birth.
The early alchemists sought to purify & extend the human spirit. Looking for answers within the realms of nature, philosophy, and spirituality. They believed the answer might lie in the form of gold; which they believed to be the purest & highest form of matter. Based on the assumption that if they were able to purify lowly base metals, into the accolades of gold; they might also, be able to uncover the secrets of the universe and thereby improve the human spirit. The alchemists sought flame colour metals and began to experiment by turning one form into another. Leading the series of chemical processes & culminated into the science, known today as chemistry. Creating synthetic chemicals that are used to address our medical needs today.
Although we are now able to access an array of medications to suit the demands of our body; according to the American Institute of Stress, up to 90% of physician’s visits are stress-related. Whilst this might seem like a relatively low cross to bear, in comparison to so many other medical complaints; if we take this demographic into account, its plain to see that in today’s Western society; stress has become an intrinsic part of our day to day life. Like lots of other creatures; stress is an intrinsic part of us. It is the fail-safe, survival system that works within our flight or fight modes; yet it is how we handle this stress, that bears the most impact.
More information on the body and how it is affected by stress; can be found within the link shown below. The article explains that “if the body becomes injured, or faces a trauma or is in any way at dis-ease.. symptoms will appear in other areas of the body”. If the body feels under attack (whether it a physical /emotional or even imaginary) the effects of this dis – ease; or in-balance, will ultimately cause a chain reaction; which will spread throughout the system. If the stress is not effectively dealt with; the body creates a distress signal, which will then alert the sympathetic nervous system to send a rapid involuntary response.
This fight or flight response is part of the survival system used within many living organisms. It is an invaluable mechanism that allows the body to adapt to the changing environment at lightning speed. If we looked at the scenario of a deer, for example, suddenly being chased by a lion. This unequivocal defense system would allow the deer to either escape; or hang onto its life in some way. The body would be on major alert and all systems would be adapting to accommodate this fear. Yet if the deer withstood the attack, the body would return to normal; and the deer would go back to grazing, within 15 minutes. The emotion or stress would inherently be forgotten and the deer would live to see another day.
If the deer were to effectively live within this stressful situation though, it would be a different story. Collectively, we are simply not designed to live in a survival mode. It might be ok for the short term, but the long term state of imbalance caused by the stress; will in no doubt, affect the body and mind in some way. Forcing it to function differently. Stress signals such as food sensitivities, insomnia, anxiety & allergies will begin to surface, as well as cellular changes that will resonate within. Rather than choosing how to respond, the body will be forced to make changes to be able to cope with the onslaught; of this chronic stress. Often resulting in physical or emotional pain. The body although it may try, will not be able to fully, reverberate back to the natural levels of homeostasis (balance); until the stresses have been removed.
Sound healing as explained; formed one of the first types of healing practice. Mandara Cronwell, in her Massagemag.com article, explains that research into the art and science behind sound healing, goes as far back as records began. She states that “sound, light and magnetics have been inextricably linked” since at least 4000BC. Mandara points out, that there were many architectural sites throughout the world, used to facilitate such sonic architecture. Many, she points out; such as the pyramids; were built close to the river or the sea. Research is still ongoing, but perhaps that was to allow for an enhanced level of sound. Astrological alignment or magnetic frequency; or perhaps simply to allow the audience to welcome the therapeutic sounds of water. Whatever the reasons for the connection, it seems that the ancients were not just aware of the phenomenon that is the sound, light, and magnetic continuum, but that they actively used it to enhance the world around them.
Mandara explains that these visionary buildings, that sought a sonic awakening; were the predecessors to our own hospitals or recovery centres. Places where priests or priestesses served the role of today’s medical staff.
Sound it seems, not only, plays a large part within our historical background, but also resonates within us, at a primeval level. The auditory sense, for example, is the first to develop within the embryo. Creating an inherent life long rhythmic connection; to the internal beat of the heart & its connected organs.
There are many instruments that enable us to not just hear, but also to feel sounds, personified. These differing sound modalities allow us to cross the line between listening and being immersed within a sonic symphony. Allowing us to vibrate on a series of frequencies, to uncover pathways into a myriad of physical, emotional, and psychological realms. From the roots of antiquity, into ground-breaking scientific research; the effects of sound medicine are exemplary. A dulcet connection that resonates within us; in the form of our breath; to create a feeling of security, inner balance, and harmony.
In fact, we do not just, listen to sounds, we experience them. This is especially true when considering the environment of the embryo. Sound travels four times faster when incorporated in liquid. So if we consider that our body is essentially made up of 70% water; it’s no wonder that our bodies instinctively react to therapeutic sound. A dulcet connection that resonates within us; in the form of our breath; to create a feeling of security, inner balance, and harmony. In fact, we do not just, listen to sounds, we experience them. This is especially true when considering the environment of the embryo. Sound travels four times faster when incorporated in liquid. So if we consider that our body is essentially made up of 70% water; it’s no wonder that our bodies instinctively react to therapeutic sound.
Within the same article; Mandara goes on to explain how Jim Gimzewski of the University of California was able to coin the term sonocytology. Which he cited, after noticing that sounds were emitted from cells. Revolutionary as it is, the article also goes onto explain; how a team made up of cutting edge scientists from a Copenhagen university made another the groundbreaking discovery. Based upon their research, they unearthed the news, that nerves; rather than transmitting impulses through electricity (as previously thought) where actually radiating signals through sound.
Research within other forms of medication; also outlined other fascinating capabilities; of sound as a medicine. In exploring how to detect disease, Kathy Nightingale, a biological engineer from Duke University in the U.S. noticed that muscles, blood vessels, and fatty tissues, emit varying acoustic properties. With each changing according to density, the phenomenon has uncovered a whole new area of insight into the capabilities of sound as a medicine. With this in mind, its plain to see how much we still have to learn from both sound and healing. With so much history and potential, the effects of sound as a medicine; could even have the potential to transcend from a therapy, into becoming a vital part of our existence once again.
Sound healing; a modality that enables us to ground, re-align, re-vitalise, resonate, and reverberate without consideration. The virtues and depths; enabling it to cross over from the every day; into the forms of medicine and beyond. Perpetuating to become not just that of healing as an art form, but in having the ability to resonate within so many ways. Sweet melodic sound. Whether it is from a genre, date, culture, or frequency. It has the power to form a connection in time or place; but to also communicate with the external, internal, cellular, and subconscious.
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