One theory is that sound works through the vibrational tactile effects on the whole body. Sound could stimulate touch fibers that affect pain perception.
Another theory on the benefits of sound rests on the concept of “binaural beats” or “brain entrainment” which hypothesizes that listening to certain frequencies can synchronize and change one's brainwaves.
The premise of binaural beats is that the brain synchronizes its brainwave frequency to the difference in hertz between tones played in each ear, which, depending on the frequency, can lead one to states of deep relaxation associated with beta waves or meditative trance-like theta waves.
Tamara L. Goldsby, PhD, Michael E. Goldsby, PhD, Mary McWalters, BA, and Paul J. Mills, PhD.
Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine 2017, Vol. 22(3) 401-406.
Poor mood and elevated anxiety are linked to increased incidence of disease. This study examined the effects of sound meditation, specifically Tibetan singing bowl meditation, on mood, anxiety, pain, and spiritual well-being.
Sixty-two women and men (mean age 49.7 years) participated. As compared with pre-meditation, following the sound meditation participants reported significantly less tension, anger, fatigue, and depressed mood (all Ps<.001). Additionally, participants who were previously naive to this type of meditation experienced a significantly greater reduction in tension compared with participants experienced in this meditation (P<.001). Feeling of spiritual well-being significantly increased across all participants (P<.001).
Tibetan singing bowl meditation may be a feasible low-cost low technology intervention for reducing feelings of tension, anxiety, and depression, and increasing spiritual well-being. This meditation type may be especially useful in decreasing tension in individuals who have not previously practiced this form of meditation.