Both Qi Gong, a Chinese health-keeping exercise, and Balinese health tradition use vibrational sounds that correspond to certain organs.
When I found this commonality, I was very intrigued and decided to do some research.
Sound Frequencies For Healing
Sound (the word) is the original creational tone. Everything is made up of energy at various frequencies. All things in nature vibrate to sound, light and color. Sound frequencies effect everything about us. The correct vibrational frequencies can be used to heal and balance our bodies.
Sound healing is the practice of using sound to realize and correct imbalances in the body. Sound healing works on the belief that the human body is not solid. Rather it is energy that is held together by sound. Any disease therefore indicates that some sound has gone out of tune.
Each color corresponds to one of the chakras in our body. Sound is used in many forms to heal and balance energies. Each chakra relates to a musical note. […]
Vibrational medicine is based on the idea that all illness or disease is characterized by blockage in the channels on some level, either in nadis, arteries, veins, nerves.
When there is a blockage, the organ in question stops vibrating at a healthy frequency and thus it results in some kind of illness. (SerenityCenterofLight.com)
While Joshua Leeds book The Power of Sound: How to Be Healthy and Productive Using Music and Sound, talks further in depth about how it works:
One of the most fascinating facts about hearing is the relationship of the ear to the pneumogastric, or tenth, cranial nerve. This nerve is also called the vagus (wandering or vagabond) nerve because is meanders through the thoracic and abdominal cavities. The enormous task of the vagus nerve is the functional regulation of a host of organs, from the larynx, heart, lungs, stomach, liver, gallbladder, kidneys, small intestine, and colon all the way down to the anus. And the vagus nerve attaches to the outer and inner eardrum on its way south from the brain. What is the significance of this interconnection? An important conclusion asserts itself: Vagus nerve communiqués to the rest of the body are affected by the ear! This vagus nerve-acoustic interaction means that mixed into the parasympathetic instructions to our major organs are vibrations from the eardrum. And what makes the eardrum vibrate? Sound. And who determines the sounds we put into our ears? Or, getting intimate, who determines the vibration we put into our internal organs? (pg 35)
Although we now have scientific explanations for it, vibrational sounds is not a new concept:
Many cultures recognize the importance of music and sound as a healing power. In the ancient civilizations of India, the Orient, Africa, Europe and among the Aboriginal and American Indians, the practice of using sound to heal and achieve balance from within has existed for many years. […] The Priests of ancient Egypt knew how to use vowel sounds to resonate their energy centers or chakras. There is a direct link between different parts of the body and specific sounds. Such a technique appears extremely old, yet healing through sound goes back even further at least as far back as Atlantis where the power of sound was combined with the power of crystal. (PeacefulMind.com)
Vibrational sounds in Qi Gong date as far back as 400-500, when first mentioned by Tao Hongjing in his book On Caring for the Health of the Mind and Prolonging the Life Span.
Science √ History √ Why √ . Now a bit more about how it works and how to use this for yourself:
[S]ounds can cut through blocks and stagnant energy and open the way for a more balanced and healed state of being Most people who do vocal toning work intuitively. You can tone even if if you cannot hold a tune at all. This is about vibration rather than about musical perfection. You can tone for yourself even if you have no interest in doing it for others. You can simply and spontaneously create and allow whatever sound wants to come out to come out or choose mantra, sets of sounds or words.
One grounds and opens the mouth and allows sound to come out. Many people start with the vowel sounds. Do not be concerned with doing it right, allow sound to come out open your throat for a full round tone Support your deep breath with in your diaphragm. You can often feel the vibration effecting the areas of your body and being that the sound resonates with. As you tone allow your body to resonate. Feel the vibration of the tones throughout your body .
Most tones are held as long as possible though there are staccato and shorter tone forms as well. Do not be concerned with how long you can hold a tone or whether or not you are on pitch. Start by trying to spend 5 or ten minutes a day toning . Many people find that this gives them both increased vitality and inner calm. (On sound and toning)
Relating this all back to the spark for this research: 6-Words Qi Gong and Balinese sounds. Six-Words Qi Gong is believed to work like this:
The Six Healing Sounds are used for clearing, releasing, and purging the internal organs and other tissues of bad, surplus or stagnant Qi. These specific tones clear out blocks and excesses, release negative emotions, and purge toxic Qi from each organ. It is important to clear your organs of excess Qi and toxic Qi, before adding in fresh Qi. [italics mine] (FunwithQiGong.com)
I can’t find much explanation (in English) on the use of Balinese sounds, known as 14 Wijäksara. When comparing the Balinese approach and Qi Gong, the most noticeable difference is that Balinese has many more sounds than Qi Gong.
|Organ / Meaning||Qi Gong||Balinese|
|*Digestive||Hu (Spleen)||Mang (Intestine)|
|*Lymph||Xi (Triple Energizer)||Sing|
|In the point of Sweet Heart||Yang|
*I’ve forced them into the same category, though arguably the Triple Energizer (三焦, or water passageways) is not the same as the lymph system, and likewise spleen is not the intestine, though both are functionally considered digestive (and this could just be a translation issue from the Balinese side).
Besides the concept, the next most striking similarity is that Balinese has sounds for the same 6 organs that Qi Gong engages. After that the similarities seem to end. The sound and pronunciation of the 2 are very different, and Balinese continues onto many more organs, as well as Hindu concepts.
Not having much experience with either form, I don’t have much of an opinion on vibrational sounds, chanting, or which is better to use, if at all. Although, repeating Om with a long slow exhale is surprisingly calming and clearing. Certainly there is a lot more information available about 6-Words Qi Gong. And I have a video (only in Chinese) explaining how to practice 6-Words Qi Gong; if you want to try, just email me or post a comment and I’ll send it to you.
Do you have any experience using 6-Words Qi Gong, or any other form of music, sound, or vibrational chanting for healing or general health-keeping? If so, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.