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 Natural Awakenings Lancaster-Berks

Sound's Overlooked Healing Effects

Nov 30, 2022 09:31AM ● By Sheila Julson
Sound healing is a vibrational immersion in deeply soothing sounds from the voice or acoustical instruments. When provided by the hearts and hands of seasoned, well-trained sound practitioners in a serene, professional setting, it can help people achieve a deep, relaxed state and soothe the nervous system.

Lana Ryder, founder of the Soundwise School of Harmonic Therapy, built upon her background as a massage therapist and professional musician to offer sound meditation and train sound healing practitioners using instruments such as singing bowls and gongs. “Any healing endeavor always involves the participation of the client or the receiver,” she notes. “It’s partly guided meditation; my students work with breath, as well as sound.”

She emphasizes the importance of seeking sound healing or meditation from trained practitioners. “Anybody can watch online videos, buy a couple of metal or crystal singing bowls and say they’re a sound healer,” Ryder notes. “But what needs to be understood and known is how sound affects the body and the psychoacoustics—the study of how sound affects us, animals and the environment.”

Sarah Myer, a graduate of Soundwise, suffered a traumatic dog attack while operating her pet sitting business. Sound healing helped her process and let go of these past traumas and find peace. With this new state of mind, she created The Lotus Pad, a place for others to experience sound healing.

“Some people call themselves sound healers, and while these instruments do not require musical training, you still have to be in tune with yourself. Just banging on a gong is jarring, and will ruin an entire session,” Myer explains. “You have to be in tune with yourself. If you’re worked up and not in a space of love and joy, that energy will play through your instruments.”

Myer uses Tibetan metal bowls, crystal singing bowls, gongs, chimes and tuning forks that work in contact with and away from the body. She notes that in today’s go-go-go society, people suffer from sleep disorders without allowing the body time to shut down and heal.

“There are a number of studies in recent years about how when sound healing is received through a trained practitioner with knowledge of specific instruments, it can induce the relaxation response,” Ryder says. “That, in turn, can lower blood pressure and respiratory rates, engage the parasympathetic nervous system, take us out of the fight-or-flight response and reduce pain and inflammation.”

Ryder works integratively with instruments such as Tibetan singing bowls, tuning forks and gongs to meet each individual’s needs. She observes many people getting involved in learning about sound healing for their own private use or to give sound healing sessions. She keeps classes small for noise reduction and to offer individualized attention and says, “Sound healing can be part of integrative health care, but it’s important to understand not just the art and musicality of offering a sound session, but why it works.” She hopes that the United States will follow Europe’s lead by incorporating sound healing into healthcare programs and reimburse practitioners.

Healing Through Singing

It’s been said that voices are as unique as fingerprints, and Jennifer Lobo Rose, owner of ResonateYou, is trained in vibrational sound therapy. Singing bowls are placed on the body for relaxation and she accompanies each session with her singing voice, along with drums, chime and crystals.

“Because my background is in voice—both as a singer and voice training—I primarily use sound healing through the singing voice. I also help people learn that their own voice can be used as a calming effect,” she says.

Lobo Rose helps people realize their vocal abilities in order to create their own unique sounding practice. “When you’re able to create sounds and tones in your own body in a releasing way, you are able to raise the parasympathetic part of the nervous system,” she notes.

Voice healing requires no special instruments and can be done just about any time, anywhere. “The vibrations in our own voices and bodies can create that calming effect. So many people have baggage with their voice,” she explains. “I assist them with breathwork and in helping them clear the chakras within the body, especially the throat chakra.”

Lobo Rose equates understanding and learning to use the power of ours own voice to turning on a faucet that hasn’t been used for a while. “When you first turn on the tap, the water first comes out dirty, but eventually runs clear.”

She offers vocal courses such as Intoning on the Chakras and the Sing Your Heart Out singing circle, a non-performance-oriented singing circle in a small group setting. A special session will be held on December 21, 2022, to coincide with the winter solstice.

“I challenge people to ask themselves when the last time was that they truly relaxed and repaired themselves—and that doesn’t mean sitting down to scroll through a phone,” Myer counsels. “If we’re plugged into the wrong outlet, we will soon burn out. By plugging into nature and natural sound frequencies, it will resonate and we can become our true selves that we were meant to be.”

Soundwise School of Harmonic Therapy, 313 W. Liberty St., Lancaster (610-301-4356, The Lotus Pad, Womelsdorf ([email protected], ResonateYou, 780 Eden Rd., Lancaster (