I lie on my back on an Oriental carpet in a room ringed with gongs, some hanging and others bowl-shaped. Eyes closed, I breathe deeply into the silence and feel myself relax. Then a faint metallic resonance fills my ears. Like church bells or the singular tone of a chime, the sound of the gong fills the space, getting louder and louder. It pulls me further inward, until I, too, am one of these gongs, my body vibrating from within. By the time I leave this sound healing session, I feel completely tranquil.
The Right Frequency
Listening to gongs is one of many ways to experience vibrational healing. According to Jon Reinschreiber, a sound healer in Portland, OR, “We know that everything in the universe has a frequency; everything vibrates and makes a sound, whether it’s in our range of hearing or not. And any object that vibrates can be affected by another object with a different vibration.”
Peter Sonnenberg, co-director of the School of Vibrational Healing in New York City, adds, “Your life condition is a reflection of the quality of the vibration of your energy. Stress and illness vibrate in a state of conflict, resistance, or disharmony. Good health vibrates at the frequency of harmony. The energy from vibrational healing can influence your own vibration, slowly realigning it into harmony, like a tuning fork used to tune a musical instrument.”
The most immediate benefit of vibrational healing is stress reduction. “There are sound healers who do a fair amount of work with cancer patients,” adds Reinschreiber. He himself once suffered a severe heart attack. “I spent two hours a day with a Tibetan singing bowl on my chest, playing that and a cluster of gongs in my sound temple. Three months later, my heart returned to normal function, with very little sign of damage.”
The benefits of healing sounds may come to you from singing “Om;” from listening to gongs, tuning forks, or drums; or from the sound of iPod favorites, bird songs or ocean waves. “As you allow yourself to connect to a healing sound, and feel it,” says Sonnenberg, “it begins to realign you.”
Avenues of Vibrational Healing
One of the simplest forms of vibrational healing is breathing; it directs the flow of energy in your body. Begin with an awareness of your breath and “through that, you can adjust your breathing rhythm to create a positive feeling,” Sonnenberg continues. Meditation, yoga, and qi gong can help you breathe more fully and empty the mind “to expand the heart,” giving you greater access to healing energy.
Vibrational healing can also be received from another person. With methods such as Reiki and craniosacral therapy, the practitioner uses a light touch to transmit healing energy through the hands and into your body.
According to Jackie Bensinger, LAc, an acupuncturist in San Diego, CA, “Any therapy that uses a vibration to create healing” can harmonize your own energy. She lists acupuncture, flower essences, and other complementary modalities. “Each has its own special vibration that assists in the healing process,” she explains.
Just being in nature can be vibrationally therapeutic. So can doing something creative, such as playing music, singing, dancing, drawing, writing, or painting. These activities can open us to healing energy because they employ the right side of the brain, the feeling side, says Sonnenberg. Even color can activate healing energies. To know which hue to focus on, be still and notice what color comes to you. Or lay out a sheet of colors and select the one that speaks to you most.
Feeling, not thinking, is key to gaining access to the restorative energies of vibrational healing. “The more you trust your feelings, the more you take actions based on your instinctual self, the more harmonic energy is flowing,” Sonnenberg says. Self-criticism and negative thoughts can hinder you from receiving healing energy.
“Of course, creating the intent that healing is occurring is a huge part of any healing process,” says Bensinger. As you take in vibrations, “visualize yourself or a specific area of the body in a state of complete health.”
That day with the gongs, I imagined myself being as free as sounds rippling into infinity—and let my body do the rest. “The healing is not in the gong. It’s in the person,” says Reinschreiber. “If you want to heal, and you have the proper mindset, oftentimes you can.”