Our homes should be a sanctuary where we can rest. To live this kind of lifestyle, it helps to keep our spaces clean, organized, and in harmony, since the energy inside the home can easily be felt by its residents and guests. Although this balance is not difficult to achieve, it does require some effort on our part — after all, our homes are an extension of ourselves.
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According to experts, it is essential to keep our bodies and spirits healthy, but it is also necessary to keep the spaces where we live clear of negative energy. Along with the physical cleaning of your rooms, there are methods that can be used to purify these spaces.). One of the most powerful is sound therapy, which can include both ancient and modern techniques, and diverse spiritual and cultural practices with purifying purposes.
Before using specific instruments to heal our homes through sound, we should first know their roots. By understanding where they come from, we are giving these sounds the respect they deserve and preventing improper usage. To avoid cultural appropriation, it is important to employ a specific practice only if you are also from the culture or religion where it originates.
How Sound Therapy Works Both Internally and Externally
"[Sound] spreads and easily reaches everywhere, melting away any darker vibrations and realigning energies," Ioana (Yoli) Dumitrascu — a logo creator and Yoga Pranala teacher, who with her husband Amit practices healing sound techniques — tells Hunker.
"We are based in Rishikesh, [India], and spend a few months a year in Romania. As we both chant mantras on harmonium [a keyboard instrument used in traditional, devotional Asian music], and Amit is a devotional music teacher and singer, our home is filled with the vibrations of mantras," Dumitrascu says. "When we wake up, we listen to mantras usually dedicated to [the deity] Shiva and cleanse our space with incense, frankincense, [and] essential oils in a diffuser."
Appropriate sounds can help us purify our home and ourselves. "The inside/outside cleansing happens at the same time," states Dumitrascu.
The Relevance of Sound Quality and Intention
Sounds must be pleasant to get a balanced energy moving through the house. "Just like anything else in the plan of duality, the quality of sound matters, [along with] how you use it and your intention," Dumitrascu explains. "If you charge your home with sounds that are filled with divine consciousness, that will be cleansing externally and internally."
Sounds such as bells, singing bowls, music, mantras, chanting, wind chimes, and gongs (see more on each tool below) are often used to heal homes. These instruments help us realign vibrations, allowing spaces to maintain an energetic balance.
Bells have been used for thousands of years by the people of the Himalayas, for religious, spiritual, and musical purposes. In the ancient Chinese practice of feng shui, these bells have been employed to harmonize yin and yang energies. Since then, they have moved into the Western world, leading to the popularity of more modern practices of the discipline. "They help us to clean our aura and our energy field," Lissette Karam, a feng shui master based in Spain, tells Hunker. "Their sound emits waves and vibrations that harmonize our energy and that of our spaces, but for a short period of time."
By ringing a meditation bell, we promote the healing of spaces. We can ring them whenever we consider it necessary to harmonize and generate peace. "The bells clean negative energies," Laila El Sayed, a feng shui specialist living in Venezuela, tells Hunker. "The ... bell can be rung all over the house, especially in places that feel heavy."
However, we must take into account the directions of the home — especially the areas that receive bad energy. In these spots, you shouldn't ring a bell because it can increase adversity. "In 2022, the sectors that receive unfavorable energies are the southwest and center of our properties," says Karam, who adds that in feng shui, metal is used to debilitate adverse energy. "My recommendation is to place metal [in these areas], and that way you weaken [the unfavorable energy] throughout this year."
"In India, we mostly use the bell because it has thousands of vibrations on different frequencies and it is working with your thought energy," Amit Dhiman, a devotional music teacher and singer based in Rishikesh, India, tells Hunker. "It breaks the negative, stagnant energies and brings positive energy."
Chants and Mantras
Om is the main sacred sound in Hinduism and other Indic religions. "Our saints believe that the universe emerged from the primordial sound Om," says Dhiman. "That is why most of the Hindu mantras begin with Om."
According to the spiritual knowledge of Dhiman, daily practice of mantras can change our inner darkness into light, both in ourselves and in our homes, because they are a tool of transformation that helps us to connect with our pure selves. Meaning, with this technique, the energies are channeled to reach enlightenment.
"Each mantra belongs to a different quality of divine energy," explains Dhiman. "For example, when you chant Ganesha mantra, it helps to release the negative force of the energy and any blockages on your path. Vishnu mantra is [about] giving more devotion and healing on your path. The same, Laxmi mantra is for financial and spiritual prosperity, and Shiva mantra gives power, energy, and awareness."
For beginners, the devotional music teacher and singer emphasizes that, as in any discipline, practice is necessary to reach a state of comfort and confidence: "In the beginning, it feels like pure imagination, but with practice it will become a door to open the mystery of the divine."
The cultural origin of mantras comes from a rich ancestral philosophy in ancient India. "They originate in our oldest holy books, the Vedas," Dhiman says. "[The text] Shiva teaches all the meditation techniques and mantras used to connect the human form to the divine. The Rishis, saints from thousands of years ago, followed Shiva's guidance and found that it connects them to the highest forms of the divine."
Singing bowls are one of the most used tools to cleanse the house of low energies, allowing them to disperse and give way to a fresh vibration. "Singing bowls create a drone sound when they are rimmed in a circular motion, otherwise known as one recurring chord," Lea Garnier, the director and founder of Sage Academy of Sound, based in Woodstock, New York, tells Hunker.
"Your thought merges with the sound of the singing bowl and is moved by the vibration. It has a grounding energy," Dhiman says. Singing bowls are one of the oldest tools used by different cultures in Asian lands and their sound facilitates the healing of body, mind, spirit, and our home.
"The earliest origin of the Himalayan bowls is said to be with the Bonpo priests, the indigenous shamans of Tibet. However, their history is easily thousands of years older, as they are found throughout Nepal and India as well," explains Garnier. "They would have been used in ceremonies in ritualistic ways to entrain brainwaves into trance-like states which facilitate healing in body, mind, and spirit."
When struck or rimmed with a mallet, these types of bowls create a recurring chord just like singing bowls. "The resurgence of crystal bowls actually began in Silicon Valley in the 1990s," says Garnier. "Also known as crucibles, their purpose was to bake silicone chips for the computer industry."
"In modern practices, the correct use of these sounds would be to use them with the intention to create a safe space for healing in the highest good for a person or a group of people," adds Garnier.
In feng shui, wind chimes are commonly used. The sound generated by them promotes healthy vibrations, transforming negative patterns and stagnant energies. Many experts consider this sound to be magical and contain an elemental power, because wind chimes use the air to come to life and ring on their own without human intervention.
Another sound that promotes relaxation are the hanging door bells used in feng shui. "The sound certainly lowers the density of negative energies," says El Sayed. "Every time you open and close the door you are cleansing."
"While gongs do not drone, they do create overtones which will give us the same harmonious experience," Garnier explains, adding that these percussion instruments date back to the Bronze Age, having been found in areas near Tibet, Indonesia, China, Burma, and Vietnam.
"Uses vary depending on the culture," Garnier adds. "For example, in Buddhism, one of its known associations is helping to find wisdom on the spiritual path." Another of its uses in China was ceremonial, but today it is employed in sound healing therapies.
Music and Other Sounds
"Music also deactivates negative energies, but you have to be careful with coordinates that are currently unfavorable [like the southwest, west, and east]," El Sayed says, referring to directions of the house (flying stars) where we should not make much noise because they increase the negative. "For example, in the West, this year [brings the danger of] violence, so you can't be ringing the bell or making loud sounds [in these areas]." The flying stars change annually, and depending on whether they are positive or negative, they can be activated or not. According to her knowledge of feng shui, El Sayed recommends playing soft music, piano music, mantras, and nature sounds in the appropriate directions of the house where love is potentiated (in 2022, these would be the northeast, northwest, and southeast).
"Even by clapping, you can minimize negative energies," says El Sayed. That means we don't need to have a particular instrument to cleanse with sound. The clapping of palms will help harmonize environments just as well.
"If you live in a house with a busy street nearby, it is fine to use a water fountain because, with its sound, it minimizes the noise from the street," El Sayed explains. However, she states that we should be particularly careful with fountains and to consult the appropriate locations of the house. According to the bagua, the energy map of the home in feng shui, the best places to incorporate water are the east, southeast, and north. The south of the house should be avoided.
Sound is also part of Nada Yoga, a discipline practiced by Dhiman. "As Om is the vibration of sound, the air also has its own vibration," he says. "The waves of sound are always traveling. So if you set your intention to continue, while you are using sound, you are allowing that vibration to cleanse and purify the environment."
"In India, we also utilize blowing a conch when we begin any holy activity or for a positive start," adds Dhiman. "We send our message through the conch to the Universe. Blowing the conch three times removes the negative vibrations and spiritually cleanses spaces, bringing protection and positivity."
The Energy of Healthy and Harmonious Spaces
Many places give off a certain energy, and in these we can feel light and calm, or the exact opposite. Dumitrascu talks about how, in India, sound is important in spiritual practice through different instruments: "Mantras, devotional songs, bells, the conch, listening to satsangs [spiritual discourses or sacred gatherings] by renewed spiritual teachers, [singing] bowls, chimes — everything is used in temples, and anyone can feel the strong energy."
"I remember the first time I entered a temple in India where they were chanting and ringing bells, and feeling such a blissful state of peace and overwhelm," Dumitrascu remembers. "Tears were falling out of joy. It was like nothing I had experienced, and yet it was so familiar."
When we use healing sound therapies, our homes are affected — and so are we. When these techniques are applied properly and in the right context (see our note on cultural appropriation in the third paragraph), everyone can benefit from the elimination of stagnant energy. This allows us to protect the health of our spaces and those within them.