You know that feeling when a song plays, and you are transported to another place in time? Or maybe to another state of being? It can be almost magical when this happens. Music may serve to recall a memory, instantly bringing all the feelings of joy, or maybe sadness or regret, or elation or gratitude, right back into the forefront of your mind. It’s almost like you can smell the air, feel the people who may have been with you, vividly remember the place you were, and taste the foods you may have eaten when you developed the memory of that song. This is powerful! Sound and music course through us, coming into a synced vibration that our bodies remember, and in that instant, we are right back to that moment in time.
The reason this happens (cue ‘ta-da!’) is because sound and music form energetic imprints. Science explains music as the structured (mathematical) sequencing of sound waves from vibration.1 All vibrations, and all sound waves are energy. Our bodies, and all matter in life, are also energy, structured into patterns of atoms vibrating in harmonic sequence to create shape and form. Because everything is energy, when we hear sound, that energy vibration syncs with our human vibration and the two blend, uniting to form images or sensed feelings within the mind, which results in the creation of a memory. Not only does this syncing get stored in the mind, but the emotional connection also gets stored in our fascia tissue, the connective layer holding together all organs, bones, muscles, blood vessels and nerves. This creates a somatic, full mind-body, link between a simple song and the flood of associated memories.
There is a mental and emotional connection with music and specifically sound, most easily expressed when a baby hears its mother’s voice at birth. After 9 months in-utero, hearing its mother speak throughout the pregnancy, the memory and comfort of her voice is familiar and instantly soothing to the baby when it is born; this sound, energetic vibration, was imprinted and encoded within the baby long before it physically entered the world!2 We also see the impacts of music supporting dementia-care and Alzheimer’s patients. Replaying songs associated with significant time periods or events in patients’ lives can be helpful to trigger memories and aid them to remember who they are and the people in their lives.3
Sound and music have long traditions of being associated with maintaining health and wellbeing. From as long ago as the Vedic period (1500-1200 BC), at the dawn of Yoga, mantra has been used to bring one’s dimensional being into balance, aligning body, mind, emotion and spirit. The repetition of syllabic sounds or Sanskrit words helps to tone the vagus nerve and bring the body into a state of calm and peace, triggering the release of serotonin (feel-good hormone), and raising one’s energetic vibration into a higher state of consciousness. Gregorian Monks perpetuated this practice in the Middle Ages, which led to the naming of the Solfeggio frequencies, a series of 6 vibrational frequencies associated with physical and emotional healing, and deepening spiritual connection. From Native American and Shamanic-based cultures, the tradition of drumming is used to bring the body and spirit into vibrational sync. Beyond this sacred spiritual practice, science supports that ‘drumming induces deep relaxation, lowers blood pressure, and reduces stress. Moreover, drumming promotes the production of endorphins, the body's own morphine-like painkillers, and can help control pain and those suffering grief.’4
In today’s age, we see sound used in both clinical and holistic practices to support and promote overall health and wellbeing. From sound baths to drum circles, the use of tuning forks to playing Solfeggio frequencies or binaural beats, sound plays a significant role in how we can regulate and access emotional and mental states. In the music therapy field, music can be used to purposefully shift mood, starting with a song which represents your current mood and gradually shifting to songs which bring you to your ideal state of being.5 As you look at the type of music you regularly listen to, it’s also important to notice the quality of the lyrics or sound, understanding ‘we are what we eat,’ surpasses food on the plate and includes everything we absorb through our body, including musical vibration.
There is no denying the influence music and sound play in our lives. Whether hearing a passing song which transports you into remembrance, actively listening to music to support your mood, chanting or singing, or using Solfeggio frequencies to activate targeted vibrational energies, music has remarkable power to impact how you show up. As energetic beings, we constantly come into vibrational harmony or dissonance with everything around us. We have great capacity, though, to entrain our energies and suffuse them with supportive sound and music, essentially shifting our health and wellbeing. Music transcends the simple pleasure of hearing sound; it is embedded in our being and helps us relate in life, both individually and collectively, and over mind, body and spirit!
By Jen Rizza, Founder of Newtown Wellness Collective, Reiki Master Teacher, RYT Yoga Teacher, Internationally Certified Wellness Coach and soul journeyer
1 - https://www.pbs.org/parents/thrive/the-science-of-sound-learn-through-music#:~:text=The%20Science%20of%20Music%20and%20Sound&text=Music%20is%20also%20based%20in,listen%2C%20and%20feel%20the%20vibration.
2 - https://nypost.com/2016/10/23/how-babies-know-their-mothers-voice-even-in-the-womb/
4 - https://www.percussionplay.com/rhythm-healing-and-the-power-of-drum/#:~:text=Drumming%20induces%20deep%20relaxation%2C%20lowers,they%20permeate%20the%20entire%20brain.
5 - https://www.tmh.org/healthy-living/blogs/healthy-living/how-music-affects-your-mind-mood-and-body
Energy Medicine Yoga Amplify the Healing Power of Your Yoga Practice, Lauren Walker, published 2014