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  • Andy Steele

How sound effects us: Warm hands, warm heart

Updated: Aug 3, 2023

This is likely going to be the first in a series of posts looking at how sound affects our minds and bodies. So buckle up folks, if you're interested in the science behind what you're hearing then this one is for you.

One of the things that’s always fascinated me is hearing people sharing their experience of a soundbath afterwards. One of the most common sensations that I often hear people experience after a sound treatment is a warm sensation spreading across part of the body.

There is a great study* that talks about “Vibratory Rhythmicity” (Bartel & Mosabbir 2021) and other effects further. Measured in events per second, this is an effect from music that becomes audible to human cells once more than 16 events per second occur. Unlike other studies which look at other compositions of music, this one concentrates of the vibrational qualities of sound in a similar way that they occur in sound therapy.

“Body rhythm cycles … may still be response to entrainment by recurring events at this frequency and influence these Mayer waves to release endothelial derived nitric oxide”

Nitric Oxide is a chemical within the body that is associated with vasodilation. In other words, certain rhythms were found to increase a chemical that encourages your blood vessels to open which lowers blood pressure. Not only would lowering blood pressure help you feel more relaxed, but it may also mean it’s likely to aid blood circulation in that area of your body if it was in a state of constriction when the sound began.

We’ve long known that increasing blood circulation can aid healing, so I thought this was just another piece of that jigsaw as to how it had that effect. When blood flow increases, we might feel a warmth or tingling in our bodies as more blood becomes active in that area.

So don’t be alarmed if you experience a warm sensation; this is a very common sensation and curiously it tends to appear where someone might have been using that part of their body more than usual or injured it in some way.

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