What’s the first thought that springs to mind when thinking of musical instruments? A band – marching, garage, jazz, rock, swing? I could keep naming the many ways which musical instruments play a part in life, but seldom is the first thought about their use in the healing arts.
Recently, I was invited to a Native American drumming ceremony that was being held to remember, honor and restore a parcel of land that had been neglected on the Tesuque Indian Reservation just outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico. My husband works as a residential paver and had a full schedule working with the land in his own way, so could not attend. I was on my own. A few men began the ritual with murmured chants and slow drum beats. I was told the beat of the drums was to mimic and resonate with the heartbeat of the earth. In the beginning, other participants were silent, just listening, but once the resonance was felt to be established, rattles, flutes, and voices all joined together. The musical conversation with Nature lasted about fifteen minutes followed by offerings of tobacco, corn, sage and water. First connecting with sound, then the offering of material goods.
Healing with Sound
Indigenous people from all over the world have used sound and mystical instruments in healing practices for thousands of years. Music played on harps, to didgeridoos has been used to ease the suffering from physical, emotional and mental ailments for as far back as humankind has occupied the planet.
Different instruments transmit diverse vibrations and therefore can influence us on different cellular levels. Obviously, you don’t feel the same when listening to rock and roll than you do when listening to soothing jazz. In simple terms; different vibratory levels are being stimulated. Sound can take us from “Beta brain wave activity” where we feel anxious, upset or angry to the calmer frequencies of Alpha, Theta, and even Delta, which are associated with relaxation, meditation and trance states.
On the other side of the world from my Tesuque friends, another drum is used for healing. Used to induce a calm trance-like state, the West African instrument is made of hard wood, rope and stretched goat skin. Its primary use is to relieve stress and anxiety.
Native American Flute
Dating back to the days before the white settler stepped foot on the North American continent it is now used extensively in modern day sound healing. When played the Native American flute promotes psychological harmony, reduces resiliency to stress and calms a fast heart rate.
Pythagoras is credited with this invention. Even back before modern day stresses humans were seeking sounds to re-energize body and spirit. This instrument can be soothing or can get people on their feet.
When it comes to music there is no end – just more beginnings, as is the case of this instrument. The Hang was developed in 2000 by two Swiss guys with a love for the harmonic. It’s a spherical shaped metal dome with eight different tuned notes. Watch the video and then leave a comment below this post and tell me what you think.