Posted on 25 June 2019
Sufi master Hazrat Inayat Khan once said: ‘Sound is the force of creation, the true whole. Music, then, becomes the voice of the great cosmic oneness and therefore the optimal way to reach this final state of healing.’
Most of us know how it feels to be moved by a piece of music. But fewer of us appreciate the profundity of the healing power of sound. Despite its relatively recent rise to popularity in the West, the use of sound as a healing modality dates back to prehistoric times. Today we are only just coming to realise and respect the role sound can play in improving our physical, mental and spiritual health, with many modern men and women alike exploring the sacred ritual of sound healing journeys.
Speaking to the benefits of the modality in an article published by The New York Times, Dr. Helen Lavretsky, a psychiatry professor at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behaviour, said that those who receive sound healing often experience deep mental and physical relaxation. A study published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine also found that singing bowl meditation reduced stress, anger, depression, and fatigue, all factors that are known to impact physical health and raise the risk of disease. Given that the underlying root to many illnesses is stress, the relaxation benefits delivered by sound are reason enough alone to explore where you can experience a sound healing journey.
Thankfully in Melbourne, you don’t have to look too far. Driven by their desire to help individuals exhale the stresses and limitations of modern life, Warrior One yoga studio routinely hosts healing sound bath journeys led by skilful practitioners such as Mark Cedro of Inner Soul Sounds. Devoted to guiding participants through each sound session with openness and understanding, journeys facilitated by Mark offer the perfect fusion of music and meditation. As someone who has personally experienced the transformational power of traditional alternative therapies, Mark is no stranger to the healing that can occur when one surrenders to sound.
KATHRYN CARTER: If you had to describe a sound bath to someone who had never heard of such a thing, what would you say?
MARK CEDRO: A sound bath is a meditative experience where you arrive in a cosy space, lie down and let me take you on a journey through live acoustic sounds. These beautiful sounds will guide you into a deep state of relaxation where all the healing work can begin.
KC: The use of sound as a healing modality dates back to prehistoric times, and in ancient mystery schools of Greece, India and Egypt the use of sound for healing was considered a highly developed sacred science. Can you tell me a little more about the history of sound healing?
MC: Sound as a healing tool is used by many cultures around the world. The history of sound healing dates back to our beautiful homeland Australia; the first known culture to use sound for healing originates back to Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. It’s been suggested that the didgeridoo, which is often used for healing purposes, is over 40,000 years old, making it one of the oldest instruments in the world. Drums and rattles are also two of the earliest known sound healing instruments. Their low frequency sounds have been known to accelerate healing. The Tibetan singing bowls have been estimated to be around 5,000 thousand years old, and their resonance helps synchronise the left and right sides of the brain which in turn brings your body back into complete harmony. Every culture has its own unique way of using sound for healing, but every culture has the same goal. To bring us back into harmony with our body.
KC: Can sound bathing positively impact all areas of health—physical, emotional, mental and spiritual?
MC: It definitely can. A sound bath has a way of taking you deep within yourself, just as meditation does. The vibration of sound is a powerful healing tool which helps us to connect with ourselves, and to enter a deep meditative state where all the healing work begins. Sound has a powerful way of shifting and releasing blocked energies, blocked emotions or even just helping our tired muscles relax and heal. Its is the vibrational way to finding a deep sense of inner peace.
KC: The number of people experimenting with experiences such as sound healing therapy is on the rise. Why do you think that is?
MC: More people are becoming aware of the healing benefits of spiritual practices as a tool to help with their mental and physical health. With the popularity of the alternative health community on the rise, more people are aware of the healing benefits that sound has to offer.
KC: Can you tell me more about the science behind healing with sound?
MC: Sound is not solid in nature but expressed as vibration. It has the ability to enter deep within our cells and thus heal within. Correct sound frequencies can enhance the frequency of our own bodies, in turn restoring balance, health and harmony to our physical, emotional and spiritual selves. When the frequency of our body begins to vibrate out of sync, we start to feel a disconnection to ourselves. When this happens, an imbalanced vibration has happened within one or more depths of our being. Sound Healing can help us to restore our bodies vibration via sympathetic resonance, in essence bringing our body back into complete harmony.
KC: In 2015 The New York Times published an article entitled ‘Sound Baths Move From Metaphysical to Mainstream,’ by writer Sophia Kercher. The piece explored the rise in popularity of sound baths, and how people in the West are becoming more familiar with the modality. How would you describe the sound bathing scene in Melbourne in 2019?
MC: The sound bath scene has definitely grown in recent times in Melbourne. As more healing spaces open up in the area more people get to receive great information on the healing power of sound and its uses in many cultures. In turn, more people are opening themselves to alternative modalities of healing.
KC: Can you tell me more about your own personal journey with sound healing?
MC: My journey through sound started many years ago when I first learned to play music; I have always been interested in world music and instruments. Over the years, playing music has always been a healing experience. I can let my soul speak through my music and release any emotions that I’m truly holding onto. It has helped me to overcome many of life’s challenges that I have faced over the years. When I began meditation many years ago, through the deep practice it came to me that I could share my sounds with the world so they too could feel the healing benefits of sound just as I have. It has been an amazing tool that has allowed me to form deep connections with everyone I meet on this journey.
KC: What health benefits do you think sound healing offers men in particular?
MC: I think it offers men an opportunity to come into a safe space that allows them to explore their inner self without any judgment. Sound has a way of energetically bringing you back into connection with yourself without the need for any prior experience.
KC: More and more men are starting to realise the benefits of meditation, but sound bathing is still seen as something a little too alternative for some. What would you say to a man who wasn’t sure about whether or not they should give the experience a go?
MC: I would first ask them if they enjoyed live music. I would then explain that healing sounds have been used for centuries throughout different cultures to aid in healing and relaxation. They can receive the benefits of this medicine whilst listening to live music and meditating.
KC: Warrior One in Melbourne hosts sound bath journeys facilitated by yourself and others. What can a first timer expect from the session?
MC: They can expect to arrive at a beautiful cosy space, where everything is provided for them to be comfortable whilst being immersed into the sound bath experience. The sound baths go for anywhere between an hour to an hour and a half. Afterwards, participants always have the option to stay back and chat with me about their experience.
KC: Is the experience interactive—involving movement or chanting—or is really just about letting the sound wash over you?
MC: There are many ways to experience sounds baths, it depends on the workshop I am offering. If it is a sound bath on its own, then yes it really is about letting the sounds wash over you. I also offer workshops that do combine sounds with movement and other healing modalities.
KC: Can you feel the vibrations of the instruments physically in your body during a sound bath journey?
MC: You definitely can. There are certain instruments that allow you to feel all the vibrations running through the floor into your body. Other instruments allow you to feel the vibrations traveling through your chest.
KC: What kind of feedback do you receive from those who participate in your sound journeys?
MC: I’ve seen so many people embody the true healing power of sound and the benefits it has delivered to them. I constantly receive immense gratitude from participants whose sound journeys have helped them to accept and release all kinds of blocked energies. Whether you want to heal past traumas or just relax and improve your wellbeing, sound is a useful tool to help your creativity flow, and to bring you back to your authentic self.
Image courtesy of Warrior One Yoga
KC: You can engage in one-on-one sound healing sessions with practitioners, but what are the benefits of participating in group sound journeys in a studio setting, such as at Warrior One?
MC: The main benefit of participating in a group setting is creating that space of connection and community. As well as on an energetic level, creating a collective vibration of harmony.
KC: Would you describe a sound bath journey as more of a communal healing experience, or does it remain quite personal for each individual in their own separate space?
MC: Whilst It can be a communal experience, once you are in your own space it is quite a personal experience, as each individual will experience what is needed for them at any given time.
KC: It is said that by exposing the mind and body to the Solfeggio frequencies, you can easily achieve a greater sense of balance and deep healing. Can you tell us more about these frequencies and why they are so powerful?
MC: Solfeggio frequencies are the original frequencies used by Gregorian monks when they chanted in meditation based on six notes. The notes penetrate deep into our conscious and subconscious mind bringing powerful emotional reactions.
Each note has a certain frequency and each frequency helps align you to the rhythms and tones that form the basis of the universe. The frequencies are 396hz, 417hz, 528hz, 639hz, 741hz, 852hz. There are also another 3 new frequencies which have been found and added to this list. You can listen to each of these frequencies on their own, as each one has certain properties that can heal the body in different ways.
KC: What is it you love most about healing with sound?
MC: What I love most is being able to share something I am truly passionate about, in a way that creates connection and healing. No matter how many people are in my sound bath, they all experience their own unique journey.
Nowadays it’s pretty hard to avoid stress, but meditative modalities such as sound healing help you to (literally) wash away your worries with soulful vibrations. If you’re looking to add a dose of deep mental and physical relaxation to your life, booking yourself in for a session with sound will be seriously worth your time. Trust us when we tell you that your mind will thank you, and your body will, too.
To learn more about sound bath journeys run by Warrior One Yoga visit warrioroneyoga.com.au or call 03) 9596 5401