(This post contains affiliate links.) Chanting has many therapeutic benefits. It lengthens the out breath, helps to oxygenate the brain, lowers blood pressure, is a wonderful way to express emotion. Dr. Herbert Benson observed years ago that chanting helps induce the “relaxation” response, causing a reduction in heart rate and respiration rate and creating calm brainwave activity. Chanting can therefore be a great way for both adults and teenagers to relax.
Dr. Ranjie Singh found that chanting specific mantras causes a release of the hormone melatonin and has written about the many benefits of this (including shrinkage of tumors and enhanced sleep) in his book entitled Self-Healing: Powerful Techniques.
Research by scientists such as Fabian Maman, Masuru Emoto and Hans Jenny has proved that sound can alter cellular and molecular structure. Click here for further information on the work of Fabian Maman who photographed haemoglobin exposed to an ascending chromatic scale and demonstrated that each note affected the cell structure differently.
According to Jonathan Goldman,
Some believe that the recitation of sacred mantras actually causes the physical and etheric bodies to change their vibrational frequency level—becoming more attuned if you like, with divine energy. Thus, when one chants a mantra for an extended period of time, to invoke, for example some deity, the higher energies of that deity will encode itself upon the chanter. This is one purpose for much mantric chanting—to become one and unite with the energy of the deity that one is chanting for. If the person has some sickness or imbalance, this imbalance can frequently be released by having the energy of the deity encode itself upon the person. This actually comes from the concept of vibrational (as opposed to allopathic) medicine, which is the basis of many healing modalities, including homeopathy and acupuncture—that all the universe including our bodies, is simply made of vibration—a concept, incidentally, that the new Superstring theory of physics supports. Everything is in a state of vibration and when we are in a natural, resonant vibration, we are in a state of health. But if some part of the body begins to vibrate at a counter frequency, the energy becomes stuck and disease sets in. Therefore, by mantric chanting, one can cause stuck energy to become released, and we can return to our natural state of resonance, effecting a cure.
Call-and-response chanting is a great way to get started and one of my favourite artists is Krishna Das, who has a remarkably soulful voice and has been called yoga’s “rock star”.
Krishna Das is the best-selling western chant artist of all time. His album ‘Live Ananda‘ (released January 2012) was nominated for a Grammy in the ‘Best New Age Album’ category.