Exploring the Potential Side Effects of Sound Healing: Can It Make You Sick?Feb 26, 2023
Exploring the Potential Side Effects of Sound Healing: Can It Make You Sick?
As sound healers, it's not uncommon for us to receive questions from clients and students about the effectiveness of sound healing. But what about the potential side effects of this modality? In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at the question of whether sound healing can make you sick and explore the evidence and research behind its benefits. This article is meant as a introduction and guide to this legitimate question and not as a complete answer, with of course things omitted and not included that might deserve a place in the discussion. So, let's get to it and dive in and explore some of the potential side effects of sound healing.
While there is some scientific evidence on the positive effects of sound healing, the research is still limited. Some studies suggest that sound therapy can reduce stress, anxiety, and pain, and may even positively impact the immune system. However, the potential side effects and risks of sound healing remain unclear due to a lack of comprehensive scientific research.
Some people may experience discomfort or negative reactions during or after a sound healing session. These reactions are often related to the release of deep-seated emotions or the healing process itself, and may not necessarily be harmful. However, it is important for both practitioners and clients to be mindful of potential risks and communicate any concerns or negative reactions to ensure a safe and effective healing experience.
Sound is a powerful force that can elicit both negative and positive reactions from us. Just like how certain sounds can grate on our nerves, others can bring us immense joy and pleasure. We all have different musical preferences and tastes, with a vast array of genres to choose from. Similarly, in the world of sound healing, everyone's experiences can be unique. While some may find certain sounds pleasing, others may have negative emotional, mental, or physical reactions to them. It's important to acknowledge and understand that the power of sound can affect us all in different ways during a sound healing session.
In the realm of sound healing, not all sensations and experiences are inherently problematic or a health concern. Sometimes they are part of the client's healing journey. However, it is essential for the client not to become overly attached to specific healing outcomes and become discouraged when unexpected situations arise. Similarly, sound healers must recognize that not all of their techniques and sounds will be well-received by everyone. This is simply a part of reality, and it provides an opportunity for growth and learning. We all make mistakes and react in unexpected ways, and this is a crucial aspect of the sound healing journey.
It's unrealistic for any sound healer to claim they never make mistakes and always know exactly what they're doing - we're all human after all. I've spent many years in the Himalayas and have met many masters and spiritually advanced individuals, but even they have their weaknesses, negative patterns, and make mistakes. We all have egos and plenty of room to grow and learn. In my opinion, sound healing is most effective when there's open and honest communication between healers and clients, players and listeners. It's important to acknowledge that not everything will work for everyone, and addressing these issues openly can help mitigate negative or problematic experiences in sound healing.
When it comes to sound healing, it's crucial to recognize that certain sounds can bring up patterns of suffering and trauma that need to be addressed with care and compassion. As healers and clients, we need to remain flexible in our approach and avoid prescribing specific frequencies as a cure-all solution. It's not realistic to expect that one miracle frequency will work for everyone, as the variations in individuals' responses are much greater than we may realise.
The same way sounds can bring deep relaxation to people, they can trigger stressful events in real-time or from the past or both simultaneously.
One common way in which sound can make you ''sick'' is firstly over-listening. Remembering the important watchword of balance, to overdo almost anything becomes or can become harmful. Drink too much water and you can die, listen to sounds too loud too often, in particular pure tones and singular frequency music ( like some of these healing videos you see on YouTube) and yes you can harm yourself energetically, mentally and physically. Balance is the key.
I would like to stress that this ''harm'' usually manifests like minor problems easily dealt with than any serious hurt or life threatening reaction. One of the great benefits of sound healing is that it is non-invasive in comparison to many therapies and healing procedures.
Another way is through the process of entrainment. For example if you sit next to a car engine for 2 minutes its not too bad or upsetting, sit next to that engine on repeat for 2 hours and you will feel awful and perhaps very distressed. This mainly applies to man made or machine noises, mechanical sounds. Conversely sit next to a stream, waterfall or the sea for 2 hours and you will most likely feel amazing. It isn't always cut and dry, some people get triggered into all sorts of negative states by bird noise and many natural sounds. This just further supports the degree with which everyone is so unique and different in their perception of sounds, and the myriad of ways in which they respond.
It is not uncommon to experience a shift in our perception of certain sounds over time. Sounds that we once found enjoyable and beneficial for healing may suddenly become less desirable or even problematic. This is similar to how we may have once loved a particular piece of music and listened to it repeatedly, but years later find it unappealing or wonder why we ever enjoyed it in the first place.
It's important to note that not everything that feels uncomfortable or unsettling is necessarily bad. In fact, these situations can initiate powerful and deep healing. However, it's essential to hold onto your discernment and instincts and be open to moving beyond your comfort zone. Ultimately, you have to decide what's best for you. It's crucial to avoid healers who insist on certain sounds or refuse to stop when asked. As healers, we must learn from these experiences and conduct ourselves in a way that is supportive and respectful of our clients.
The parameters of sound healing are not fixed and can fluctuate like tides. Sound can affect our entire being and evoke challenging experiences for individuals with psychiatric and mental health issues. While some may find significant healing and help, it's important to exercise caution and seek medical advice when in doubt. Sound healers without medical training should refer individuals to experts in the respective field.
In conclusion, sound healing is a powerful modality that can bring about profound transformation and healing. However, it's important to approach it with care and awareness, as not everyone will respond to it in the same way. It's important to maintain balance and not overdo it, to stay aware of our own reactions and responses, and to communicate openly and honestly with our sound healer. If you have any concerns or mental health issues, it's best to speak with your medical professionals to see if sound healing is right for you. Ultimately, sound healing can be a valuable tool on the road to healing and transformation, but it's important to approach it with an open mind and discernment, and to listen to our own instincts and feelings.
Attachments to healing outcomes can be detrimental to both the healer and healee, creating dissonance in the healing space. The key to successful sound healing is setting beautiful intentions, while also being open to releasing them, allowing space for transformation and fluidity.
Sound healing aims to restore, re-pattern, and bring balance and harmony to our being. It supports the body's natural ability to utilize its own wisdom, immune systems, and minds for healing. It's important to find balance and to move away from attempting to do things to people and instead focus on co-creation and collaboration in the healing process.
Ultimately, sound healing can achieve beautiful, potent, and powerful healing outcomes when approached with an open mind and heart, and with the understanding that every individual's healing journey is unique.
Here is a list of some of the potential side effects and issues that may arise from a sound healing session:
- Overstimulation or discomfort from loud or repetitive sounds
Overstimulation or discomfort from loud or repetitive sounds is another potential side effect of sound healing. Some individuals may find that certain sounds, particularly those that are loud or repetitive, cause discomfort or even pain. This can be due to individual sensitivity or personal preference, as everyone's experience and threshold for sound can vary.
Additionally, some sound healers may use specific instruments or techniques that produce particularly loud or repetitive sounds, such as gongs or chanting. While these techniques can be effective for some individuals, they may be overwhelming or uncomfortable for others.
Practitioners should be aware of the potential for overstimulation or discomfort and should adjust their approach or technique as needed. They may need to modify the volume or frequency of the sound, or use different instruments or techniques to ensure a comfortable and effective healing experience for their clients. Practitioners should also encourage open communication with their clients to ensure that they are comfortable and to address any concerns or discomfort that arises during the session.
- Nausea or dizziness from certain frequencies or vibrations
Nausea and dizziness are common side effects that some people may experience during or after a sound healing session. This may be due to exposure to certain frequencies or vibrations that are too intense or unfamiliar to the individual's system. It is important for practitioners to be aware of the potential for nausea and dizziness and to adjust their approach or technique accordingly.
While nausea and dizziness can be related to the release of deep-seated emotions or the healing process itself, they may also be related to a detoxification reaction in some people. Sound healing can stimulate the body's natural healing processes, leading to the release of toxins, which can cause nausea and dizziness.
To minimize these side effects, practitioners should be mindful of the individual needs and sensitivities of their clients. They may need to modify the frequency or volume of the sound, or use different instruments or techniques to ensure a safe and effective healing experience. Clients should communicate any concerns or negative reactions to their practitioner to ensure that the session is tailored to their specific needs and preferences.
- Emotional distress or release of deeply suppressed emotions
Sound healing can sometimes bring up deeply suppressed emotions, leading to emotional distress or release during or after a session. This can be a difficult and sometimes uncomfortable experience for the client, but it can also be an important part of the healing process. Sound can have a powerful effect on the body and mind, and can stimulate areas of the brain associated with emotion and memory. This can sometimes bring to the surface emotions or memories that the client has been suppressing or avoiding. The sound healing session can act as a catalyst to release these emotions, which can be experienced as intense feelings of sadness, anger, fear, or other emotions.
- Flashbacks or re-experiencing of traumatic events
Flashbacks or re-experiencing of traumatic events can be another potential side effect of sound healing. Sound can stimulate the memory centres of the brain, which can trigger the recall of traumatic events or experiences that the client may have suppressed or forgotten. This can be a difficult and distressing experience for the client, and may require additional support and guidance from the practitioner.
It is important for practitioners to be aware of the potential for flashbacks or re-experiencing of traumatic events and to create a safe and supportive space for the client to process their experience. This may involve working with the client to identify triggers or warning signs, and developing coping strategies or techniques to help them manage their emotions.
- Hallucinations or illusions in people with mental health conditions
Hallucinations or illusions are potential side effects of sound healing in individuals with mental health conditions. Sound healing involves the use of sound and vibrations to stimulate different areas of the brain and nervous system, which can have a powerful effect on perception and sensory experiences.
Individuals with mental health conditions may be more susceptible to experiencing hallucinations or illusions during a sound healing session. This can be due to the nature of their condition and the way in which their brain processes sensory information. For example, individuals with schizophrenia may experience hallucinations or illusions as a result of the sound healing, as their condition involves a distorted perception of reality.
Practitioners should be aware of the potential for hallucinations or illusions and should take steps to minimize the risk of such experiences occurring. This may include screening clients for mental health conditions, adjusting the frequency or volume of the sound, or using different instruments or techniques. Clients with mental health conditions should also communicate openly with their practitioner about any concerns or experiences they may have during or after a session.
In some cases, individuals with mental health conditions may find sound healing to be a beneficial complementary therapy to their existing treatment plan. However, it is important for them to work with a practitioner who is trained in mental health and who can provide the necessary support and guidance to ensure a safe and effective healing experience.
- Negative reactions to certain instruments or frequencies
Negative reactions to certain instruments or frequencies are a potential side effect of sound healing, as some individuals may be more sensitive or reactive to certain sounds. For example, some people may have a negative reaction to the sound of a gong or singing bowl, while others may be sensitive to certain frequencies.
This negative reaction can manifest in different ways, depending on the individual. Some people may experience discomfort or pain in the ears or head, while others may feel irritable or anxious. In some cases, the negative reaction may be related to the release of deep-seated emotions or the healing process itself.
It is important for practitioners to be aware of the potential for negative reactions and to adjust their approach or technique accordingly. Practitioners may need to modify the frequency or volume of the sound, or use different instruments or techniques to ensure a safe and effective healing experience. Clients should communicate any concerns or negative reactions to their practitioner to ensure that the session is tailored to their specific needs and preferences.
Furthermore, certain frequencies may trigger traumatic memories or emotions, leading to negative reactions in clients. For example, a person who has experienced trauma related to a specific sound, such as a high-pitched whistle, may have a negative reaction when exposed to that sound during a sound healing session.
- Interference with hearing aids or other medical devices
Sound healing sessions that involve the use of sound waves at high volumes or frequencies may interfere with hearing aids or other medical devices such as pacemakers or implantable defibrillators. The sound waves can disrupt the function of these devices and potentially cause harm to the individual.
For individuals with hearing aids, exposure to loud sounds can cause discomfort or pain, and may also damage the hearing aid itself. The sound frequencies used in sound healing may also interfere with the function of the hearing aid, making it difficult for the individual to hear and follow the session.
Similarly, individuals with implantable medical devices such as pacemakers or defibrillators may be at risk of interference from sound healing sessions. The electromagnetic waves produced by the sound healing instruments can potentially disrupt the function of these devices, leading to serious complications or even death.
It is important for practitioners to be aware of the potential risks and to take necessary precautions to ensure the safety of their clients. They may need to ask their clients about any medical devices they have and take appropriate measures to prevent interference, such as using sound waves at a lower frequency or volume or using different instruments that do not produce electromagnetic waves.
- Discomfort or pain from lying still for extended periods of time
During a sound healing session, clients are typically asked to lie still and relax while the sound vibrations do their work. For some individuals, this can be uncomfortable or even painful, especially if they have pre-existing medical conditions that make it difficult to lie still for extended periods of time.
For example, individuals with chronic pain conditions, injuries, or disabilities may experience discomfort or pain while lying still. This can make it difficult to fully relax and benefit from the sound healing session. Similarly, individuals with anxiety or restless tendencies may find it difficult to lie still for an extended period of time, leading to discomfort or feelings of restlessness.
To mitigate discomfort or pain during a sound healing session, practitioners can provide additional supports, such as pillows, bolsters, or blankets to ensure that the client is as comfortable as possible. Practitioners can also work with clients to find a position that is comfortable and sustainable for the duration of the session. Some practitioners may offer shorter sessions or use a more active approach to sound healing to accommodate individuals who find it difficult to lie still for extended periods of time.
- Discomfort or pain from instruments being played on or near the body without proper communication and consent
During a sound healing session, some practitioners may use instruments such as singing bowls, gongs, or tuning forks on or near the client's body. While this can be a deeply relaxing and transformative experience for some, it can also cause discomfort or pain if not done with proper communication and consent.
Each individual's body and personal space should be respected, and practitioners should obtain explicit consent from the client before playing instruments on or near their body. This involves communicating clearly with the client about the intended use of the instruments, the expected sensations, and any potential discomfort or pain that may occur.
Clients should feel empowered to communicate any discomfort or pain they experience during the session, and practitioners should respond promptly and respectfully to their concerns. Practitioners should adjust their approach or technique to ensure that the session is safe and comfortable for the client.
If a client experiences discomfort or pain from the use of instruments, it may be necessary to modify the approach or use alternative techniques that do not cause discomfort. In some cases, sound healing may not be the right modality for individuals who are particularly sensitive or uncomfortable with instruments being played on or near their body.
In summary, discomfort or pain from instruments being played on or near the body is a potential side effect of sound healing, but it can often be managed and minimized through clear communication, consent, and adjustments to the approach or technique. Practitioners should respect each client's personal space and respond promptly and respectfully to any concerns or discomfort expressed by the client.
The Following which may be useful is a list of contra-indications for sound healing that I have trained with and is good to know for both practitioner and client :
(safest thing to do if you have any of these or any of this applies to you- is seek a doctors advice and basically not have sound healing)
- Pregnancy (first trimester)
- Epilepsy or seizures
- Pacemaker or other electronic implants
- Recent surgery (within 3 months)
- Serious mental health conditions (e.g. bipolar disorder, schizophrenia)
- Acute inflammatory conditions or fever
- Acute physical injury or trauma
- Infectious diseases (e.g. cold, flu, COVID-19)
- Severe hypertension
- Severe migraines or headaches
- Hearing impairment or deafness
- Sensory processing disorder
- Severe tinnitus
- Active addiction
- Severe fatigue or exhaustion
- Serious or terminal illness
It is important for individuals to disclose any relevant medical conditions or concerns with their sound healer to ensure a safe and effective healing experience.
While this list is mainly for in person physical work some of these can be relevant also for online sessions as this article has briefly touched on. As the reader I hope this blog post has given people a flavour of why its important to find trained and professional sound healers, and many out there have not received training, experience and qualifications in dealing with the art and how to mitigate potential issues and problems that may arise for people. As sound healing becomes more and more popular and becomes a very wealthy industry the issues surrounding all of this may in time lead to legislation, regulation and registration - which may not be a bad thing.
I am a fully qualified sound healer with many years experience and I am happy to do my best to answer any further questions people may have. If you would like to join my sound healing community online please Click Here
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