The other day I was having an interesting conversation with somebody who gave me a little introduction into the world of ‘sound healing’. He explained to me how a certain piece by Beethoven -to be more precise: the first 3 minutes of Beethoven’s symphony No. 7, 2nd movement- would be of great help with regard to letting go and forgiving ourselves.

Uh what?!

That sounds pretty bizarre right? At first I was quite sceptical, but after the conversation I realized that it might not be as bizarre as I initially figured. Frankly, music does more than ocasionally trigger an emotional response with me. There’s music that makes me sad and there’s certain pieces of music that make me feel on top of the world. And I’m surely not the only one who feels that way 😉

Following that line of reasoning I started wondering… If music resonates with my emotions (which are physical), it might also with other bodily processes… Maybe there’s also something out there for people with respiratory disease such as asthma?

And so I performed some research…

The fundamental principle underlying the theory of sound healing is that all matter vibrates at a specific frequency through which it can both influence and be influenced by all other matter (Gaynor, 1999; Roosth, 2009). Therefore, everything on the planet and beyond can be considered interconnected through resonance.

In medical settings, ultra- and infrasound are commonly used to diagnose and treat different diseases. But how about other sounds or more specific, music?

Well,  you only have ‘ask’ YouTube for some ‘asthma sound healing’ and you’ll be hit by many video’s promissing that their theta waves, binaural beats and Qi Gong healing sounds will get your lungs up and running. That’s all very nice and well, but is there also some proper research out there?

There is some…

A small Australian study investigated the benefits of didgeridoo playing and singing in aboriginal Australians with asthma (Eley & Gorman). The study demonstrated that the intervention has great potential for supporting asthma, especially in adolescents. However, the small number of participants in this study indicates a need for further research.

A somewhat bigger study was performed in 2013 with about a hundred participants. This study successfully demonstrated that ‘music has a great potential for engaging participants and improving their self-reported health’.

Oooooooooommm?

I had a hard time finding concrete studies looking into respiratory disease/asthma and sound healing, but I did come across this interesting study from 2014 that looked into the effects of OM chanting and ‘bee-breathing‘ on pulmonary function:

There was a study group (41 people) and a control group (41 people). The study group practiced the ‘bee breathing’ and OM chanting for 10 minutes a day for a period of 6 days a week for 2 weeks and the control group did not practice so. The results showed that the Bhramari pranayama (‘bee breathing’) and OM chanting are effective in improving pulmonary function. 

As it seems, producing sound may even be more beneficial than passively listening to it.

Where to go from here?

As far as I can see there’s no strong evidence out there (yet) regarding sound healing/music therapy and respiratory disease such as asthma. But I’m triggered to experiment with it anyway. I like music and it can’t do any harm! ‘Worst case scenario’ : I’m taking my time to relax, whether just listening to music or humming along with it;-)

That’s it for now! If you have positive experiences with certain music in relation to your lung condition: I would be curious to learn about it, so feel free to drop me a line.

p.s. Here’s Beethoven for you with his 3-minute-self-forgiveness-fix:

Enjoy 😉