Delving Into the Psychology and Power of Sound

Sound waveSound is all around us in some form or another.  Rarely do we ever experience complete quiet and even then the sound of our breathing and heartbeat are faintly heard.  But sound is so much more than just a background for life.  It can be used to balance a body, heal diseases, alter moods and communicate.

Music for Your Mood

Music and song are almost a surefire way to alter your mood.  Mostly that change is for the positive – an upbeat tune that cheers you, a soothing rhythm that relaxes you or an energetic song that gets you moving.  There are also times when music will make you sad, lonely or even angry.

Why do the sounds of instruments and voices have such an effect on our emotions?

Research has found that music has a noticeable effect on our bodies and mood, even as young as a fetus in the womb.  It was discovered that playing music, particularly Mozart and Vivaldi, to a pregnant woman produced positive changes in the baby’s heart rate and movement.  In contrast, rock music caused the baby to move almost violently inside the womb.

Don Campbell, author of the Mozart Effect, put together this research in an effort to open our eyes to the power of sound and music.  He notes that listening to the music that we prefer might actually trigger a hormone release along with a “profound positive emotional experience,” helping our bodies to be healthier.  It’s especially interesting to note that classical music seems to affect both sides of the brain, while pop music works on only one side.

Wind chimes are a traditional and beautiful way to add music to your home.  Available in a selection of scales (high, middle and bass) and in a variety of lengths and styles, the aluminum wind chimes  offer soothing or stimulating music with just a breeze.

Chanting has long been used in religious ceremonies as a way to concentrate, bring clarity to the mind and chase away distraction.  Nearly every religion in the world uses a form of chanting, whether to music or not.  The solemn tones and rhythmic pattern of chanting is calming and there is scientific evidence to show that “toning” is a powerful way to balance your own body.

Toning is known as a combination of exercises involving both the voice and breathing.  It is recognized as a way to release pent up emotions and balance the frequencies in our body.

Vibrations for Your Body

At its root, a sound is simply a vibration.  Vibrations have both a rhythm and frequency.  For thousands of years people have used those frequencies to change the state of a person’s health.

Following the principle of resonance, there are a variety of healing clinics and professional healers who use vibrations to change the body, returning it to a healthy state.  The basic idea is that by recreating a sound in its purest form (through musical instruments and voice), you can cue the body to resonate that particular frequency, bringing back the purity and strength of health.

History has plenty of examples where vibration and sound were used to bring about healing.  Ancient Greeks used the flute and lyre to treat both gout and sciatica.  Ancient Egyptians used incantations to treat rheumatic pain and infertility.  Biblical accounts include David playing his harp to lift King Saul’s depression.  An ancient Greek saying states that “Men have song as a physician for pain.”

Drums and string instruments provide simple ways to incorporate vibrations into the homes and routines of today.  A functional gong in your garden or on the porch can be used to bring focus and during meditation.  Garden bells are another decorative fixture that can easily provide vibrations to either soothe or excite.  Outdora carries a selection of gongs and garden bells designed to complement your yard and deliver the power of sound in a subtle way.

Nature Sounds for Stress Release

Another powerful use for sound involves the noise of nature.  From rainfall to thunder storms, ocean waves and bird song, the sounds of the natural world are often used to evoke emotions and action in us.  Many of these sounds are recorded and included in meditation music or used for relaxation before bed and even post-surgery.

Why do these sounds work?  Perhaps they invoke a memory or vision, helping to distract you or draw you away from an out of control emotional situation.  They are often rhythmic and constant, acting as a blanket of relaxation.

Rainfall is used to help a person fall asleep, the sound acting almost as white noise to cover distractions and let the mind wander.  Ocean waves also promote relaxation and serenity.  Running water, like a river or brook is used in meditation, to mask other noise and to evoke a lively spirit.  The natural and soft sounds of bamboo or shell wind chimes also provide the powerful, yet soothing sounds of nature.

Sound for Communication

In this age of email and instant messaging there are rumors that we are losing the art of conversation.  And sound has an enormous role to play in conversation.  The tone and volume of our voices relay emotions and intent.

Think of a lullaby or storybook read by a parent to their child.  The love and care in the voice is what truly draws the child in.  And in sporting events the almost tribal cheers that resound through the stadium can communicate joy, fury, intimidation and strength.  Treasure the value and power in conversation and verbal communication.

Listen carefully and pay attention to the effect that sounds have on your body, mind and spirit.  With intentional and positive changes we can create healing, joy and a more balanced lifestyle using the psychology and power of sound.


Diana Dart was born into the patio design business.  Working in her family contracting business for years, she’s now part owner and loves spending her time helping homeowners create an oasis in their backyards.  She’s also published countless articles about gardening, curb appeal and landscaping online and in various print publications.

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