One of the first explorations that arose in my practice was with sound and mantra. As I sat in a room filled with unfamiliar people chanting phrases that I didn’t know, I was overwhelmed with intense emotion and tears rolled from my eyes. I couldn’t put words to the experience. I just knew that something profound was happening to me. My brain may not have registered the meaning of the words, but my heart understood the power of sound.

Sound is vibration transmitted through air, heard through the ear and felt through the body. The body is a vibration of atoms, or energy in motion, and different parts of the body have different frequencies. When under stress or illness, those frequencies can be out of tune. Sound can actually be used, as in music therapy, to bring the body back to its proper frequency.

One well-known study by a Japanese doctor showed that water formed complete or incomplete crystals based on the type of sound to which it was exposed. Positive sound, and even uplifting words spoken to the water, formed complete crystals. Negative sound energy, on the other hand, showed malformed crystals. Since the body is made of nearly 2/3 water, one can see the relationship between sound and health, and why intention of words is a powerful force.

I was recently at a sound class where we put this information to the test. Participants randomly formed groups and improvised playing instruments together for the others. One group felt that their music was disconnected and chaotic while some listeners found the sounds to be like a sort of purge or cleansing. Another group chanted and sang in unison, and most listeners found the vibration to be soothing.

Studies and feedback are wonderful tools for believing the effects of music on the body. For me, my body already understood its effect. I still don’t know the meaning of some of the words I chant, but I know I feel happy and uplifted from them. The positive intention and healing vibration are all I need to understand the power of sound.