September 23, 2020

Minute read

This Is Your Brain. This is Your Brain On Sound

There’s no question that music has a mysterious healing power. 

Listening to the words of your favorite song can boost your morale and give you the warm fuzzies, time warping you back to a specific moment. 

We are naturally rhythmic beings. The beating of our heart, our breathing, and the frequencies of our brain waves are all rhythmic. Even our inclination to move when music is turned on demonstrates how we are wired to respond to rhythm, repetition, and sound frequencies. 

Science agrees. Our brains do this thing called entrainment, which means that our brains actually match the frequencies that we experience!

You may have even heard about the practice of “sound healing” or the now-über popular binaural beats. Sound is healing, at least in the psychosomatic way. It makes us feel good – but it can’t actually heal, right?

As a practitioner who prefers the title sound therapy, I’d say healing is… a stretch. However, sound can facilitate shifts in our brains and our nervous system, therefore, permitting natural healing states. 

So let’s dig in. 

If you hook your brain up to an electroencephalography machine (more commonly known as an EEG) you would see that your brain naturally registers at a Beta frequency (12-35 Hz) in your awake/alert/thinking state.

When we’re not in this “natural” state, our brain can be in one of several others:

  • Gamma (25-100Hz) Hyper-focus/ concentration
  •  Beta (12-35Hz) Thinking/awake & alert brain 
  • Alpha (8-12Hz) Occurs when we are daydreaming or consciously meditating 
  • Theta (4-8Hz) Deep meditation/ flow state 
  • Delta (.5-3Hz) Slowest brain waves and occur mostly during our deepest sleep

Now while being in a Beta or Gamma state isn’t bad and are incredibly helpful for things likestudying for an exam or focusing at work, your body won’t reap the beneficial powers that lower, slower frequencies offer.

When we are in an alpha state, this level of vibration stimulates the production of serotonin — the same magical stuff that anti-depressants, like SSRI’s, are responsible for increasing! It is also found to be the most common frequency in those who most regularly find flow states. 

When we are in a theta frequency, we are also helping our body release nitric oxide, which sends a message to the smooth muscles to R E L A X.

In turn, our blood vessels dilate, our circulation and blood flow increases, and we enter our natural homeostasis of “rest and digest.”

When our bodies are in this state, we are letting it know that all systems can do their thing, and need not protect themselves. Thus, natural healing occurs. 

Ready to give sound therapy a try? 
Here’s a great playlist to get you started (but don’t forget to use headphones for the full effect!)

Sound Therapy Playlist

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