The Science of Sound
The Foundation of Sound
To build a foundation of understanding about the physics of sound, let us first define it. Sound in air is the transfer of periodic vibrations between adjacent colliding atoms or molecules.
Essentially, this means that when atomic particles bump into their neighbors, they pass on their vibrations. Remember that air is a mixture of gases in which most atoms pair up to create molecules. This transfer of vibrations between any two adjacent atoms or molecules is known as “sound.”
The energy in a sound event expands away from the instrument and equally in all directions as a bubble, and its outer “surface” is in a state of radial pulsation or oscillation—meaning that it is both expanding and contracting. The concept of sound as a wave is simply a label used to describe the fact that sound bubbles pulsate in and out rhythmically. It is this pulsation of the bubble’s outer surface that is typically illustrated as a wave-like graph.
When sound travels through air, every atom or molecule in the path of the expanding sound bubble is involved in the process of passing on the sound vibrations, rather like the game where dominos are set up in a long row and each domino bumps into its nearest neighbor, setting off a chain reaction of movement. In air, the vibrations that originate with the atoms and molecules in direct contact with the sound source pass on their vibrations to their nearest neighbors and the chain reaction begins, spreading out as a bubble of sound.
The Relationship of Sound and Light
Sound can even be said to exhibit holographic principles, because every atomic particle in a sound bubble contains all the vibrational data of the sound source. Additionally, each collision within the sound bubble creates friction between the magnetic shells surrounding the atomic particles, which create heat. Another term for heat is called infrared electromagnetism, otherwise known as light.
The implications that sound creates infrared light are profound, because every cell in your body “sings” in the infrared spectrum of light.
The electromagnetic component of cell-to-cell communication also occurs mainly within this spectrum. Therefore, sounds are actually singing the language of cells—and not only our own cells, but those of everyone who are in close proximity to sound.
What is Cymatics?
Cymatics is the science of making sound visible. Whenever sound encounters a membrane, a cymatic pattern is imprinted on the membrane’s surface. Usually invisible to the naked eye, such patterns can be rendered visible under special lighting conditions—rather like dusting a fingerprint on glass to make it visible, we “dust” the membrane with light.
The cymatic principle occurs at all scales, even in the microscopic realm. Therefore, every cell in your body receives a cymatic pattern when you sing, when you’re being sung to, or when you are bathed in sound.
Dr. John Stuart Reid, a scientist in the UK who developed the Cymascope, began to image such patterns in the CymaScope Laboratory. Initial experiments with microscopic water droplets revealed great beauty in the patterns that formed. Click here to watch a video of microscopic cymatics can be viewed on the CymaScope YouTube channel!
Healing with Sound
The biological mechanisms by which sound triggers the body’s healing response are not yet known, but Dr. Reid’s working hypothesis concerns the uptake of sonic energy by cells and the stimulation of the cell’s Integral Membrane Proteins (IMP), which project from the outer membrane of almost all cells.
IMPs have many functions, including the transport of food into the cell and the excretion of waste. One class of IMP, known as the Primary Cilia, is a vital feature of the cell. Primary Cilia1 are antenna-like structures that respond to electromagnetism as well as specific frequencies of sound. In a sense, they act in a similar manner to tuning forks that have a particular resonant frequency and are maximally excited only at that specific frequency.
In some categories of illness, the cells of a particular bodily system become dormant or inactive—for example, due to physical trauma, the invasion of a pathogen or the presence of a toxic substance. This state is known as the G-0 phase of the cell cycle. To awaken the cells and spark them into the G-1 phase, in which the cell prepares for replication, the medical literature suggests that either time (that is, more sleep) or nutrition is the required stimulus.2,3
In Dr. Reid’s hypothesis, the stimulation needed to awaken the cell is sound energy—whether it’s vocal or from some other source such as instruments. Sound energy enters the cell in two forms: the acoustic component and the infrared component, both acting to “charge” the cell with energy. In addition, sound creates a cymatic pattern on the cell membrane, which gently massages the IMPs, including the Primary Cilia. These mechanisms, he hypothesizes, are the fundamental principles that underpin sound therapy.
At the atomic level, flesh and blood consists of a delicate tracery of electromagnetic frequencies that harmonize with each other and manifest as the biological matter that comprises the components of our bodies. And like an orchestra in which the players tune their instruments to align with each other, living tissue, too, is held in an exquisitely harmonious balance.
However, when disease or illness occurs, it creates an imbalance in which one or more of the “players” in our cellular orchestra create discord and generate vibrations that are unnatural to our organism.