By Aria Brent
AFRO Staff Writer
Regardless of the genre, music plays a special role in the human experience by providing us with sounds that help define certain moments, feelings and occasions. Everyone seems to have a soundtrack to their life.
Certain sounds can connect with and impact different parts of the body–even everyday noises can provoke a reaction according to the National Institutes of Health.
The organization shared that humans have both an innate immunity and specific immunity that can be influenced by noise, and different exposure durations and intensities of noise may exert various effects on the immune system. For example, short-term or low-intensity noise can enhance immune function, while long-term or high-intensity noise suppresses it.
Depending on the frequency and vibrations of the sound, music can connect with different energy centers in your body.
“When you’re using sound healing, it can range from anything from singing bowls and tuning forks, to frequencies and of course, the vibrations. With sound healing, we use it to bring about energetic changes in the body,” said Maurice Carroll, founder of Alkemmust Sound Healing.
In addition to being a sound healer, Carroll is also a producer and composer. He has been working with sound healing since 2008. His first experience with sound healing occurred when an artist he was working with used it in their music. From that moment, his interest was sparked.
Much like other forms of therapy, sound healing is good for reducing stress, anxiety, alleviating depression, promoting tranquility and enhancing mental clarity. Carroll explained that there is no specific way to listen or participate in sound healing.
“Take a moment and listen to some vibrations. Even if you’re not listening to music in a specific frequency, your intention of listening to something to help calm you down will still benefit your body,” said Carroll.
Caroll and his team have found sound healing’s benefits in all sorts of sounds and styles of music. The Alkemmust Sound Healing team explained that, because the main goal of the therapy is to improve people’s mental, spiritual and physical well being, any sound or style of music can be used for sound healing.
“My life has an entire soundtrack. Music and sound is all around us and can be used in conjunction with other therapies,” said Michelle Shellers, a theremin player for Carroll’s live sound healing experiences. “There are sounds that are embedded that you don’t even hear, and frequencies that you don’t even notice. I love hearing rain, it’s very calming.”
“Most people listen to music or sounds because it’s a good transition practice into the meditative lifestyle. It’s easier because it’s music that any and everybody can listen to,” Carroll said.
“The sounds and the vibrations are easy to absorb. If you’re listening to jazz or pop or rap. Regardless of what genre you prefer, I can teach you how to meditate within that particular genre and the music that you’re already listening to.”
Sound healing is an artistic therapy often mistaken for a religious practice or thought to be associated with spirituality. Carroll explained that it can be used with other meditative methods, however that isn’t required.
“A lot of people don’t realize that, for our people who are involved in religion already, sound healing happens. If you take organized religion, like the Abrahamic religions, they use music. There’s chanting, songs and instruments and all of those things become sound healing,” Carroll said.
Letrice Gant is very familiar with the benefits of sound healing, as she uses it in her work with the Baltimore Peace Movement.
“We do sacred space rituals. Which consists of us praying in the space, holding space for people who’ve lost their physical lives to violence, connecting with those people and showing love and pouring positive energy and light into the community,” said Letrice Gant, deputy director of the Baltimore Community Mediation Center.
Gant is one of Carroll’s former sound healing students and uses sound healing in her work as a community activist and organizer.
“The sound healing training that we went through was directly related to the Baltimore peace movement. Being intimately involved with the movement made me acutely aware of different healing modalities to help dispel toxic energy in the city,” Gant explained.
“We bought sound healing instruments with the intention to go into spaces where people have either been murdered or harmed in Baltimore city or places where toxic energy has taken hold and to use those sound healing technologies to raise the vibrations in those places.”