Whenever I’m stressed, I turn to music. Specifically, I’ll play the piano and meditate on it. I never considered this to be sound healing. But it is. Many instruments are wonderfully therapeutic, as are many sounds.
Sound Healing has been scientifically proven to heal the mind and body. Indeed, research from Daniel J. Levitin  shows that sound healing is more effective than meditation. And Jung Ah Lee says that it can significantly reduce pain .
I personally recommend using instruments if you are attempting self-healing meditation. So, let me show you the best instruments to use.
Sound Healing Instruments
1: Hammered Dulcimer
The Hammered Dulcimer is a lot like an open piano or a harp. However, it is played with a drum. Therefore, it is a percussion instrument. And it sounds stunning.
To play this obscure rectangular music box, the instrumentalist sits crossed legged on tbe floor and strikes the strings with spoon-shaped mallets. It sounds like a cross between a piano and a lute and genedally plays jolly little jitties.
Meditation gongs are one of the oldest instruments in the world. Archeologists have found gongs from four thousand yeaes ago. And for ovef a millennia they have been used in meditation, such as by Buddhist monks, who use them as a marker at the beginning and end of sitting session.
Gongs create a rich and resonant sound that we can meditate on. Plus, you there are chakra gong sets that will open your seven chakras, the energy centres in the body.
3: Wind Chimes / Koshi
Wind Chimes are perhaps the most popular instrument used for sound healing today and I myself have a few hanging on my veranda. Millions of people hang wind chimes outside their homes and listen to the soothing sounds they make.
We use a specific type of wind chime for healing: The Koshi. They create a warm and rich sound and use four scales, one scale for each instrument (earth, fire, wind, water). There are two main types, the Zaphyr and Koshi chime.
4: Pan Flute
The Pan Flute is synonymous with South America, where it has been used for over 6000 years. They actually originate from ancient Greece where they were played by shepherds in the third millennium BCE. Interesting fact: the name is derived from the Greek god Pan, who is often depicting holding a flute.
These instruments produce a sweet sound that is incredibly soothing.
5: Singing Bowl
Singing bowls are arguably the most effective of all instruments. They create frequencies of sounds that open and balance the seven chakras. This leads to overall wellbeing. They have been uses for millennia and are traditionally used by Buddhist monks as part of their meditation practices. They are made with a bronze alloy containing bronze alloy containing copper, tin, zinc, iron, silver, gold and nickel.
The Hang is the newest sound therapy instrument and was created less than 20 years ago by two Swedish inventors, Felix Rohner and Sabina Schärer.
The hang produces an incredibly rich sound that is similar to a steel pan. We use this instrument by closing our eyes and simply focusing on the sound.
7: Tuning Fork
A Tuning Fork is a fork-shaped instrument that is struck with a hammer. The fork then vibrates, which disturbs the surrounding air. This causes sound. The fork is then placed next to the body. This causes vibrations actually inside the body. The rate of those vibrations is said to recalibrate the body, healing it in a way that is similar to accupuncture.
Didgeridoos are Australian instruments that originated approximately one and a half thousand years ago and were traditionally used in ceremonies.
Scientific research shows that playing the didgeridoo does indeed have some amazing health benefits. For instance, it reduces snoring and relieves the symptoms of asthma and sleep apnea.
Many of the best instruments originated in Africa. For instance, the Kalimba. This is a small handheld instrument that is a little bit like a piano but played with the thumb.
Kalimbas produce a soothing sound similar to a music box. I find them wonderfully relaxing. And they are very easy to play.
Just like the Kalimba, the Djembe is an African instrument. It is basically a drum created using rope and goat hide. Today, they are often made of alternative materials.
The Djembe is an instrument used for putting people into trances that remove negative energy and illnesses.
11: Native American Flute
The Native American Flute is a very sweet sounding instrument that takes us back to a more primitive state of mind. Research shows that they reduce stress, lower heart rate, balance blood pressure, and reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
When we use this instrument in sound healing therapy, we restore the mind and body to their natural harmonies, creating inner balance.
The monochord is said to have been created by Pythagoras. It is an incredibly simple-looking instrument that is basically a piece of word adorned with strings.
The vibrations produced by the strings produce positive energy that heals the mind.
Perhaps the most ethereal musical instrument man has ever known, the harp is a sweet-sounding melodic instrument.
I challenge anyone to listen to the sound of a harp and not feel relaxed.
How Sound Therapy Works
Sound is vibration. Vibration touches every part of our physical being. 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 Mitchell Gaynor, .
The Miracle of Sound Frequencies
Sound healing instruments are tuned to very specific frequencies that are said to heal us.
Expert Diane Mandle says:
“Tibetan singing bowls are ‘struck and sung’ in specific rhythmic patterns to create vibrational sound harmonics at the frequency of “AUM” or “OM”.
“This sound frequency is the sound of Perfection. It impacts the sympathetic nervous system as your brain waves synchronize to the vibrations of the bowls.
“The harmonic vibrations engage the relaxation reflex and slow down the respiratory, brain, and heart rate, and disrupt the pain reflex, creating a deep sense of well-being.”
Benefits of Sound Healing
When we meditate on sound, we take advantage of the effects that different sound frequencies have on the body.
Illnesses can be thought of as a disharmony of the body, an imbalance.
All energy is in a state of vibration, including energy in the body. When that vibration is tampered with the body falls out of sync, resulting in illness.
Meditating on a sound restores the body to its natural frequency. And this in turn cures illnesses, both physical and psychological.
You can quite quickly test this for yourself.
Simply listen to a singing bowl, gong, or other healing instrument, meditate on it, and observe how your energy frequencies change.
Bodhisattva Gwalwa Karmapa says sound healing instruments produce the sound of nothingness, the primordial sound, resonating at the same frequency as “Om,” the frequency of creation. This is why early models of Tibetan Singing Bowls have been in use by Shamanistic cultures since as early as 560BC.
The Solfeggio Frequencies
Most sound therapy instruments use the Solfeggio frequencies .
Solfeggio frequencies are the original musical scale that was used to compose old spiritual music.
Have you heard the Gregorian chants? They make me feel like I’m floating on a cloud. And they were composed using the Solfeggio frequencies, as were many other older Christian chants and similar spiritual music.
The Solfeggio frequencies are important because they produce specific sound frequencies used for healing. That’s why when you listen to those old chants you get a deep sense of inner peace right through to your core—you know the feeling, right?
The Solfeggio frequencies also correspond to the chakras:
- UT – 396 Hz – Liberating Guilt and Fear (the 1st Chakra)
- RE – 417 Hz – Undoing Situations and Facilitating Change (the 2nd Chakra)
- MI – 528 Hz – Transformation and Miracles (the 3rd Chakra)
- FA – 639 Hz – Connecting/Relationships (the 4th Chakra)
- SOL – 741 Hz – Awakening Intuition (the 5th Chakra)
- LA – 852 Hz – Returning to Spiritual Order (the 6th Chakra)
To produce these frequencies, instruments are made of different materials, specific to each chakra:
- Lead – Saturn – 1st Chakra
- Iron – Mars – 2nd Chakra
- Tin – Jupiter – 3rd Chakra
- Gold – Sun – 4th Chakra
- Copper – Venus – 5th Chakra
- Silver – Moon – 6th Chakra
- Mercury – Mercury – 7th Chakra
Sound Healing Meditation
1: Meditate On Music
- Start playing some of the free music above.
- Lie down or sit with good posture (do not slouch or lie down in a lazy way. You should feel the positive energy in your body).
- Close your eyes and take ten mindful breaths to relax
- Begin to tune-in to the music. Listen to it. Meditate on it.
- Make your mind one with the music. Let all else fade to nothing.
- Invite the music inside your body and feel its soothing energy.
- Continue meditating for 20 minutes.
- Express gratitude for the music and for the peace you are feeling.
2. Play An Instrument
- Choose a piece of music that you already know how to play well.
- Sit (or stand) comfortably with good posture.
- Take a moment to be mindful of your physical body and of your connection to the instrument.
- Feel the energy of intent running through you and start to play your instrument.
- Meditate on the connection between your mind and the instrument. You should feel a sense of oneness between your mind and the instrument.
- Feel free to explore while you play. Play with feeling and observe how the music is flowing out of your mind. It is your intent creating the music. The music is the product of your own mind.
3. Vibrational Sound Healing
Vibrational Sound Therapy is a form of therapy in which we place an instrument on the body and play it.
This creates very specific energy vibrations in the body that heal specific bodyparts.
To do this properly you will need to visit a sound healing studio where they will have both the instruments and the skills to use them properly.
This is one of the most powerful forms of sound healing and has massive benefits for the mind and body.
Sound healing therapy can have a huge impact on the body and mind.
Plus, most of us love sound and music. So why not make the most of them?
I challenge you to pick up one of the instruments we have looked at above (the Kalimba is a great choice for beginners). Play the instrument. Meditate on it. And observe how it makes you feel.
Sound is healing. Let’s make the most of it.
Giving Is Caring
Paul Harrison BSc is a qualified meditation teacher who believes in genuine, authentic meditation. He has more than 15 years experience in teaching meditation and mindfulness both to individuals and to corporations and is the author of four books on meditation. He has been featured in Psychology Today, Breathe Magazine, Healthline, Psych Central and Lion’s Roar.
Paul studied meditation in beautiful Oxford, UK, and Hamilton Ontario Canada, and earned his degree at Staffordshire University.
Paul’s biggest inspirations include Thich Nhat Hanh, Jon Kabat Zinn, and Jack Kornfield.
“My goal is to provide the most authentic meditation sessions so you can harness the power of your own mind for personal transformation” – Paul Harrison