Updated April 9, 2014.
Music heals. Watch this short video (2 min) about the healing benefits of sound meditation.
Dr. Mitchell Gaynor, director of Medical Oncology and Integrative Medicine at the Strang Cancer Prevention Center in New York has developed a program for his cancer patients—biweekly meditation and chant sessions using Tibetan Bowls.
Dr Gaynor: Sound Touches Every Cell in Your Body
Dr. Gaynor says, “If we accept that sound is vibration and we know that vibration touches every part of our physical being, then we understand that sound is heard not only through our ears but through every cell in our bodies.
One reason sound heals on a physical level is because it so deeply touches and transforms us on the emotional and spiritual planes. Sound can redress imbalances on every level of physiologic functioning and can play a positive role in the treatment of virtually any medical disorder.”
Dr. Gaynor also says that the benefits of sound based meditation—happiness, centeredness, emotional stability, serenity—can help anyone.
Modern medicine can measure—and confirm—the healing effects of sound.
A vital step in the healing process is that of establishing resonance with the condition in question. Most people resist their condition. You cannot release that which you do not own. Sound is a vehicle that helps us get to healing.
But how? We now know that different sound pulses stimulate different brain wave centers. We also know that we can create brain wave entrainment through a process of sympathetic resonance and that we normally ‘entrain’ or fall into vibrational step with the strongest vibrations in our immediate environment. Further, nerve bundles in our spine transmit vibrational sensory data to brain stem and limbic system (our emotional processing center). When placed on the body the sound vibrations are transmitted directly into our blood, organs, tissues and cellular memory, transmitted via the water that composes each system.
Dr. Gaynor, building on the success of several cases that were using energy healing alongside their cancer treatment, began urging his patients to use meditation, guided imagery and deep-relaxation. Then, in the early 90’s he was given a singing bowl, also called Tibetan or Himalayan bowl. His reaction to the tones he heard from the bowl were profound. From GaynorOncology.com,
“I could feel the vibration physically resonating through my body, touching my core in such a way that I felt in harmony with the universe,” he writes. “I immediately intuited that playing the bowls would change my life and the lives of many of my patients.”
Rosemarie Hernandez, a patient of Dr. Gaynor, whose ocular melanoma is in remission, says, “Ever since I started to use the bowls as meditation, I am much more rooted in the present. I’ve learned to savor each day.”
Another patient of Dr. Gaynor, who joins him for meditation and sound healing is Marisa Harris, who describes:
[singing bowl meditation has] put everything in perspective. My picture keeps getting larger.” This is no small gift, considering that she probably wouldn’t see another spring. “Fear started to well up inside me on the anniversary of that pronouncement,” she remembers. “But during meditation the fear is reduced to a minor irritant, like a speck of dust I can blow away.”
Dr Gaynor is not the only Western-trained scientist who believes in sound healing. In the early 1950s, French physician Alfred A. Tomatis found that certain sounds enhanced or drained the brain’s energy. Working with a diverse array of aural stimuli—a mother’s voice, Gregorian chants, and classical music, for example—Tomatis reversed learning disabilities and attention deficit disorder in his young patients. Today there are some 250 Tomatis listening centers around the world.
Bio: Dr. Gaynor has been listed consecutively in The Best Doctors in New York since 1997. He is an advising board member at many organizations: the Sass Foundation for Medical Research, the Journal of Cancer Integrative Medicine, and Healthy Living Magazine. After receiving his medical degree from the University of Texas-Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, Texas, he was a clinical fellow in hematology-oncology at the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center. He is a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the American College of Physicians.
Enjoy the calming effect of the flute music accompanying this guided meditation.
If you’re interested in comparing several different meditation sounds systems, check out this review from Unify Cosmos.