by Laurelle Gaia & Michael Arthur Baird
Many times we have said, “One of the most beautiful things about Reiki is that there is nothing extra, no tool, or substance needed to be able to help oneself and others heal.” However, we know that Reiki enhances all other methods of healing. Even when a person is working with an allopathic medical practitioner, a naturopath, a chiropractor, crystal healer, acupuncturist or a surgeon, Reiki always helps support the healing.
“Sound is the medicine of the future.” ~ Edgar Cayce
Imagine giving or receiving a Reiki session, which carries the recipient deeper and deeper into his or her inner healing power. We recognize that Reiki is an effective “stand alone” healing energy/method and, like other forms of energy, it is believed that it travels in waves. Yet we never fully understood the meaning of that concept. We recently learned, from one of our Japanese students, that the most common Japanese definition of the word “ki” is actually “wave.” This student grew up in the same village where Usui Sensei was raised. He was excited to study Reiki because he had heard about Usui Sensei since he had been a child. He explained how samurai would use their personal “wave” of energy to energetically connect with and determine the strength of their potential opponent. He went on to describe several situations where he had learned to discern the wave of energy being exuded by an animal or a person in specific situations.
It is our theory, exemplified by personal experiences and those with clients, that the waves of Reiki energy can blend with sound waves, and thus Reiki is able to travel to the recipient with the speed of sound. This appears to be important, as when we use Reiki and sound together we are recognizing more rapid and/or deeper healing with our clients. We are also recognizing an acceleration of our personal healing and spiritual growth process.
The concept that sound can promote healing is not new, nor is it a surprise to anyone who unwinds after a busy or stressful day by listening to relaxing music. Music and sound have been recognized as healing throughout history.
In 500 BC Pythagoras used “music as medicine.”
In the Bible there is reference to the power of sound in connecting with God.
“With psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19).
Native American medicine men “use songs, drums, flutes and rattles to create deep relaxation, altered states of consciousness, and healing.” Rev. David Singing Bear, 2011
Sound can promote relaxation as easily as it can inspire and motivate us. Sound can evoke restlessness, irritation, anger, joy, creativity, romance, peace or any other state of being or feeling.
When sound is included in a Reiki session, both the healing qualities of the sound, as well as Reiki are enhanced. Try this simple experiment: first listen to healing music without receiving Reiki. Next receive a Reiki treatment without listening to music. Finally, receive a Reiki treatment while listening to healing music. You may find that the combination of the music with the Reiki can increase the effectiveness of the session.
Does sound change matter?
Scientific studies related to the effect that sound has on matter are relatively new, yet we are already learning that sound affects matter.
Sound travels as waves, which are measured in cycles per second, or hertz (Hz). The slower the sound wave, the deeper or more bass the sound. Conversely, waves that travel faster produce higher (treble) sounds.Swiss scientist Dr. Hans Jenny demonstrated how various substances such as sand, plastics and liquid would take on a particular shape and form when various sound waves were passed through them. These experiments indicate that sound has the ability to affect the structure of matter. Dr. Jenny coined the word “cymatics,” which is defined as the science of visual sound.
How does sound healing work?
Every living being has a unique vibratory frequency. When that unique frequency is lost or out of balance, physical, mental or emotional disharmony is created. When a frequency that is resonant with the original unique vibration is applied, balance and well-being are restored. For example, if a specific note is sounded by an instrument, any other instrument that resonates with that sound will respond by vibrating as well, i.e. when a drum is sounded, other drums will respond or singing bowls or tuning forks, etc. will trigger sounds from one another.
This unique vibratory frequency is known as the Prime Resonant Frequency or (PRF). The PRF of the human body is 7–10 hz. Vibrating at the rate of his or her PRF, a person is able to receive healing energy with greater ease. Ok but all I could find were statements that this is true, but no description of scientific studies that demonstrated it is true. This frequency is too low to hear, the human voice can’t vibrate at that frequency nor am I aware of any musical instruments that do. So, how does this apply to sound healing?
Even allopathic medicine is using sound in “modern” technology. Ultrasound equipment is used for medical imaging, or to treat tumors. Sound is also used in place of surgery, in cases where sound frequencies are used to “dissolve” gallstones and kidney stones.
“The body is held together by sound. The presence of disease indicates that some sounds have gone out of tune.”
— Dr. Deepak Chopra
When sound frequencies are applied to the body/energy field of a person with the intention of healing, the sounds help bring them into a state of balance and well-being. Just as with Reiki, it is not the energy or the sound waves that actually do the healing. The recipient does his or her own healing, when he or she moves into a deep state of relaxation. Within a deeply relaxed state, one accesses higher consciousness, and the spark of internal healing and power is activated. It is also important to note that as one accesses higher states of consciousness, spiritual growth is accelerated and enhanced. Ok that is one way of looking at it, many people experience that Reiki contains the higher consciousness that creates the healing when it interacts with the person’s energy field.
Instruments including voice, drums, metal or crystal singing bowls that are sung or played elicit sound frequencies that impact the sympathetic nervous system. These sound waves then engage the body’s relaxation response, which slows respiration, brain waves and heart rate. Among the benefits of this relaxation reflex are reduced pain, enhanced vitality, clarity and memory. Additionally, cardiologist Herbert Benson, head of the Behavioral Medicine Department and Mind/Body Medical Institute at Harvard University Medical School and creator of the concept of the “Relaxation Response” found that “several major physiological systems responded to the simple act of sitting quietly and giving the mind a focus (such as sound or music): the metabolism decreased, the heart rate slowed, respiratory rate decreased, and there were distinctive brain waves.”
How does sound affect the immune system?
Sounds/music that create a positive physical (relaxation) or emotional response can trigger hormones that strengthen the immune system. The relaxation response is defined as your personal ability to make your body release chemicals and brain signals that make your muscles and organs slow down and increases blood flow to the brain.Research on the relaxation response has shown that it can: increase energy, decrease fatigue as well as increase arousal from a drowsy state. It can increase motivation, productivity and improve decision-making ability. The relaxation response lowers stress hormone levels and lowers blood pressure.
Relatively any method that produces deep relaxation can trigger the “relaxation response.”
Sacred sound can be activated through voice
Many people have developed filters that prevent them from feeling confident or comfortable with allowing the expression of their “full voice.” For example, we may have been discouraged from singing by a sibling’s insult or a parent or teacher saying “be quiet” or “children should be seen and not heard.” We may have experienced trauma to the throat chakra, perhaps a surgery or a past life experience. There may be many reasons we unconsciously restrict our voice, whether in speaking, singing, humming or chanting.
Healing issues can be discovered by determining the vocal frequencies that are missing from one’s voice. We can use a voice analysis instrument to determine which frequencies are dropping out of our voice. However, absent such a “diagnosis,” we can bring back our full voice by journeying to create mental/emotional healing in relation to any times we allowed ourselves to be silenced by others. To bring out the wholeness of our voice, with all the frequencies, we can introduce a full range of the notes for the chakras and not only bring back the missing notes, but also energize even the frequencies that are already present. There are a variety of ways to do this, which we will explore.
Vowel sounds, mantras and the chakras
The chanting of sacred sounds, or mantras, is part of many religious or spiritual practices. A mantra is defined as a thought (man) instrument (tra). A mantra can be a prayer, invocation, repetitive sound or any other sound that has meaning or can induce a higher state of consciousness i.e. in Catholicism or Christianity the repetition of the Hail Mary, The Lord’s Prayer, the 23rd Psalm, etc. can be considered to be a mantra. In Buddhism om mani padme hum is a mantra that is intended to be recited/chanted with focus on the meaning of each of the six syllables.
In Japan the practice of chanting “Kotodama” is believed to invoke the spirit, or power of a word. It is known as “word spirit.” In English we might also say it means “power word” or “sacred sound.” In kotodama the emphasis is primarily on the vowel sounds, and occasionally includes consonants. The practice of kotodama in a Reiki session allows the practitioner to invoke the spirit within the names of each of the sacred symbols. It allows us to activate the frequency of the symbol, without actually stating the sacred name, by the kotodama simply invoking the power of each symbol. Jonathan Goldman, a contemporary sound healing pioneer and musician has created a wonderful Reiki kotodama CD called “Reiki Chants.” The CD includes a 16 page instructional booklet that can help the listener learn the kotodamas and chant along if they so wish.
Adding Sound to Reiki Sessions
This is an account of my, Laurelle’s, first experience with adding sound to a Reiki session. This happened very spontaneously in 1996, while teaching a Karuna Reiki® Master class. The class was practicing working with the symbols individually. We were working with “Gnosa,” a symbol that invokes a frequency that enhances one’s embodiment of the higher self. Those of us in our practice group began to feel pressure in the area of our throats. The pressure kept building, and at the same time the guidance was to chant, or sing the name of the symbol repeatedly. We hesitantly gave in and began to chant. As we did, the pressure in our throats was relieved, but also, the power of Gnosa began to increase in intensity.
After that class, I spoke with William Rand about the experience. In discussing this, we discovered that he too was being guided to incorporate chanting into his sessions. At that point we began experimenting with chanting in our private sessions with our clients. When we realized that the addition of chanting and toning was consistently helpful in our sessions, the subject and practice was included in our training program.
The Importance of Reiki in Sound Healing Sessions
Michael’s first experience adding sound to a Reiki session happened differently. He was actually providing a sound healing session, without the use of Reiki. He quickly learned that the addition of Reiki is very important. At the International Reiki Retreat in 1999, Michael was asked to be one of three drummers to provide healing drumming sessions to retreat participants. Each drummer had a large djembe (Middle-Eastern drum) strapped to his or her body. A client would lay on the floor, the drummer would stand above the person, straddled over the client’s legs. The sound chamber of the drum was pointed toward the client. The drummers would then simply drum with an intention that the recipient would release any energy that was creating imbalance or disease. The recipients enjoyed their experience. However, a few hours later, Michael became very ill.
In retrospect, he realized that he had not been using Reiki in the sessions, and therefore he was absorbing the negative energies that the people had released.
Prior to the drumming sessions the next day, he applied the Reiki practices that he knows are so very important for any healing session:
- State a prayer of intention
- Strengthen light with Reiki and the Usui power symbol and/or (more recently) the Holy Fire symbol
- Infuse the drum with Reiki and the intention that the sound waves carry Reiki into the recipient
- Deliver the session with the Reiki-infused drum
- Close the session with a prayer of gratitude
Evolving With Reiki and Sound
Our first experiences with Reiki and sound ultimately opened us even more to follow the guidance of the Reiki energy. We were drawn to explore Tibetan metal singing bowls, frosted crystal bowls, crystal bowls infused with other mineral qualities, buffalo drums, tingsha cymbals, chimes, tongue drums and tuning forks.
We had many wonderful experiences and began to receive questions from our clients and students regarding how they could learn about sound healing. For some time we allowed ourselves to believe that, because we are not musicians, we were not qualified to teach about Reiki and sound healing. “When the student is ready the teacher appears.” Or so the Zen saying states. The students kept appearing, kept asking and we finally realized that it also applies to teachers. We realized that when the teacher is ready, the students appear.
We reviewed the many questions we had received, and we asked Reiki to help us develop a class curriculum for Reiki Drumming that would help students learn to incorporate drumming into their Reiki sessions and their personal healing. Subsequently we were asked similar questions regarding working with other forms of sound in healing and working with Reiki. In response, we developed the ReikiSonics™ training program.
Pain Relief, Relaxation and Expansion of Consciousness with Reiki and Sound
Deb Karpek, Holy Fire Karuna Reiki ® Master Teacher, Reiki Crystal Healer and a ReikiSonics™ practitioner, has a professional Reiki practice in Cottonwood, Arizona. Deb operates a private practice, and she is also on staff at Verde Valley Medical Center as coordinator of their in-house Reiki program. After experiencing sound healing in their sessions, two of her regular, monthly clients have asked that each of their sessions include sound, with a special emphasis on the Reiki tuning fork treatment. They stated that they are able to relax more deeply and are finding that their awareness is enhanced and physical issues are healing. They are also becoming more aware of the expansiveness of their own energy and are experiencing new levels of consciousness.
Dr. Phyllis Bucci, Naturopath, Reiki Master, Aromatherapy Practitioner, Reiki Crystal Healer, ReikiSonics™ practitioner, Jin Shin Jiutsu and Feng Shui Master is using sound healing regularly in her session with patients. She owns and operates Holistic Apothecary in Ambler, Pennsylvania.
Dr. Bucci uses sound healing and Reiki with her patients regularly. She found that working with Reiki infused crystal bowls and her Reiki drum have been particularly helpful for a patient plagued by sciatica pain and extreme stress. Dr. Bucci has created a special sound healing room in her center. This patient rested on a mat on the floor, and was surrounded by a full set of chakra tuned crystal singing bowls. The bowls were positioned according to the note that corresponds to each chakra. For example a C bowl was placed next to her at the level of her root chakra, whereas the B bowl was positioned at the level of the crown chakra.
Dr. Bucci then began to channel Reiki energy through the crystal bowls, and the energy was delivered to the patient on the sound waves. After administering the energy, the patient rested in silence for about 15 minutes as the frequencies were integrated. After the session, Dr. Bucci related that the client remained at the center and walked around in amazement as she repeatedly exclaimed, “It’s gone, my pain is gone, Oh my God, I can’t believe this. It is completely gone.” This particular session occurred approximately two months prior to the writing of this article, and the pain has not returned.
We recently had a wonderful opportunity to introduce Reiki to a production crew for a Japanese documentary for the major television station in Japan. Reiki and all forms of energy healing were foreign concepts to them. When we explained the connection that Reiki and Japan have, they were intrigued.
We were asked to provide a session for the main character in the documentary. When we asked her if she had any specific focus for the session, she replied that simple relaxation would be good. We were inspired to begin the session with Usui and Holy Fire Reiki, and quickly were guided to play the kyanite, diamond and citrine infused crystal bowls. We also included some Reiki drumming and chanting of the kotodamas and Karuna energies. After the client returned to full waking consciousness, she sat up and began enthusiastically speaking in Japanese. She was very dramatically motioning to her knee, and quickly sweeping her hand down her left leg from her knee to her toes. She was very excited and the film crew members were obviously quite fascinated. The translator told us that the client had been hiking and had injured her knee and that it was causing her much pain. We did not know anything about this as we began the session. The client explained that she felt energy moving down her leg and out her toes repeatedly. At the end of the session, she was completely pain-free. These are only a few of the wonderful sound enhanced, Reiki and Holy Fire healing experiences we have to share.
Reiki and Sound for Group Healings
Another powerful quality that sound adds to Reiki is the ability to affect healing for groups, small or large. If we think of the instruments used in sound healing simply as another method to deliver Reiki, we can understand how we might facilitate healing for groups. With only two hands, our eyes and our breath to deliver a Reiki healing session, we are somewhat limited to helping one person at a time. But when playing an instrument, we still use our hands, our eyes and our breath, but then we have a wonderful tool to deliver the energy to many people at the same time; that tool is the wave of Reiki-infused sound that flows through any instrument. We find that many people report profound spiritual experiences, or soul healings, when they participate in group Reiki and sound healing ceremonies.
We hope that this article inspires you to explore blending Reiki energy with music, your voice, or a Reiki infused instrument and that you create your own beautiful experiences.
We would like to close this article with our daily prayer. “Creator, thank you for guiding us, blessing us and healing us, so that we are always of service to the highest good in the highest possible way. And So It IS. Amen.”