By Sarah Hannan
Sound healing is practised in our day-to-day life more often than we would realise. Different frequencies that are generated from musical instruments, nature, or the recitals of religious scripture would give you a sense of calmness and relaxation. These frequencies stimulate brainwaves and allow you to cycle through four recognised states; beta (waking consciousness), alpha (relaxed consciousness), theta (meditative state), and delta (sleep state; when internal healing takes place).
This week, we met with Sarala Rukshitha and Crissy Fernando, who have ventured onto using sound for the process of therapeutic healing. The duo combines sound healing methods with spiritual practices and shares their knowledge and experiences through Awakasha.
“Awakasha was founded in 2013 and was initially a band which composed songs and instrumentals. I was joined by Isuru Meneripitiya and Sasiri Ediriweera, and together we were trying to create music that worked in harmony with nature. Within a year, we felt that our interests in music and life were a mismatch and we disbanded. I was personally more inclined towards meditation and researching about how sound is used for healing and not for entertainment purposes, while the other two members were more interested in continuing as musicians,” Rukshitha explained.
From 2014-2016, Rukshitha dedicated his time to growing as a spiritual person and researching on how sound is used for healing purposes. He had also researched on how each civilisation used different instruments for healing purposes. He stated: “Those two years were a very crucial time as I started to question my purpose on earth and I started to ask the question: Who am I? I felt as if I was chasing a distant dream. It was during this time that a mutual friend introduced me to Crissy.”
Fernando had made a big impact on Rukshitha and while the two exchanged their views on spirituality, meditation, and how sound could heal people, they had also felt a strong connection and a calling to venture into the practice. In 2016, Awakasha was reactivated, but with a different approach: “After many conversations with Sarala, I understood that my calling was to join Sarala in his journey of healing and spirituality through sound and spiritual practices. When I met Sarala, I was working in a preschool and one of our most memorable sound healing sessions was done at that preschool. We started off with asking the kids to sit still and meditate before we started the sound healing session. When we opened our eyes to pick up our instruments, they were seated with their eyes closed and throughout the session, they sat still.”
Awakasha now conducts individual and group sound healing sessions and is sharing their experiences through Facebook and YouTube. “Crissy has really helped me reach the next level, and when time permits or following our intuition, we share our experiences through vlogs. The content is in Sinhala because we realised that there is no content of this nature in Sinhala. We believe our vlogs will educate our Sinhala-speaking audience about these healing methods.”
Sound therapy or the effects of sound in the healing process cannot be explained in words, and Rukshitha and Fernando informed that to understand what sound therapy could do to a person, one must sit through a session. It might look like a simple process, given that the tools used for sound healing are singing bowls, bells, flute, didgeridoo, rainstick, and tingsha, to name a few.
Explaining further, Rukshitha said: “Every time we conduct a healing session, it becomes a unique process – be it an individual or a group that sits for a session. Initially, we would ask the person to lie down in a comfortable position and ask them to close their eyes and take deep breaths and exhale gently,” adding: “From then on, what takes place is each frequency that is generated from an instrument will be heard and felt by the person who is receiving the therapy and the feedback of the frequency generated by the person in response would guide us through the rest of the session, where through intuition, we would alternate between playing an instrument to humming/chanting meditative phrases.”
Benefits from sound therapy
- Relief from stress
- Fewer headaches
- Boost in confidence
- Gives you more focus
- More energy
- Improved relationships with others
- Think more clearly
- Improve organisation skills
- Improved attention span
Get relief from common ailments such as hypertension, stomach pain, depression, and joint pains.
The yidaki, popularly known as the didgeridoo, has been used as a healing tool for at least 40,000 years. The Aborigines healed broken bones, muscle tears, and illnesses of every kind using this enigmatic musical instrument. Interestingly, the sounds emitted by the yidaki are in alignment with modern sound healing technology and clears emotional and energetic stagnation.
Singing bowls are used for many purposes, including stress reduction and pain relief. Some people use the bowls in combination with other healing practices, such as meditation and deep breathing.
Believed to have been invented by the Aztecs, rainsticks are often made from the bodies of dried cacti with objects such as small pebbles placed inside. As its name indicates, rainsticks produce a sound similar to that of falling rain, and are used for inducing states of peace and calm.
This is used to focus awareness and signal the start and the end of group meditations. It is believed that the ring of the cymbals help clear the mind in preparation for long meditative sessions. The most effective use of tingsha bells is space clearing. Other than space clearing, tingsha bells are used for toning. Toning is a traditional therapeutic technique used to relieve mental stress and achieve healing. The toning process uses sound, in this case the bell sound, to release blockers in the body and to promote the natural flow of energy.