The Science of Sound Massage

What Happens in the Body

A picture might help to understand the process and effect of a sound massage.

If you drop a pebble into a pond, concentric waves spread over the whole pond and set every molecule of water into motion. Our bodies consist of 70% of water. So, something similar happens in our body during a sound massage.

Pleasant vibrations are traveling into the body and spread there in concentric waves, giving a pleasant cell massage to the more than 100 trillion cells in the body.

When the organs and tissues are free of blockages, the sound waves spread unimpeded and exit through the toes, the fingertips, and the tips of the hair. However, our bodies are usually not free of blockages. Through unresolved problems, stress, and worries, we build blockages that manifest as pain and soreness.

During a sound massage the human brain enters into the alpha-state, which is the state commonly experienced between waking and sleeping.

In this state, our breath becomes quieter and deeper, and we begin to let go. In letting go, we can get rid of worries, problems, blockages, and disease. We find a new harmony where clarity and healing can occur of mind, body, and soul.

Good Vibrations

In Hinduism they say “Nada Brahma,” which could be translated as “the world is sound, the world is vibration.” Quantum physics, using more and more sensitive techniques, shows that this is not only a metaphor but is based on scientific evidence. What we call matter is, in reality, vibrating systems in resonance with each other.

In the human body the rhythm of many organs is mirrored in the heartbeat. For that reason, the heart beat has been proven to be represented by and directly correlated to the body’s rhythm.

As a result, illness and health can be perceived as a kind of vibrational or resonance phenomenon. The more capable of resonance – the more capable of vibration – and the healthier we are.

As we lose the capacity of vibration and resonance, due to stress, worries, etc. we become off balance and become ill.

During a sound massage, the sounds of the singing bowls offer the recipient space for resonance to happen. The sound waves are a physical and emotional offer of resonance to this person. It is up to this person’s mind, body, and soul to decide if and with what to resonate. The sound is simply an offer.

The Sound of a Singing Bowl

Peter Hess® Singing Bowls are produced using a delicate process that guarantees the desired quality of sound and vibration that is necessary and appropriate for therapeutic work.

The sound ranges and resulting overtones of the different singing bowls utilized during a sound massage stimulate different united nerve cell structures within the body.

Feeling Sound

Hearing is not the only way to perceive sound. We also experience it in our kinesthetic and tactile perception. That means we partially perceive the sound waves of a singing bowl via the sensitivity of our skin.

For example when a belly bowl is placed on our back and played, the tactile impulse is converted into electrical impulses that are conveyed to the brain via the neurons associated with the skin and spine. Via some relay stations, the impulses reach the tactile cortex.

During sound massage, we purposefully activate specific areas of the body.

Cell receptors of muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, and the intestines are responsible for the inner perception of the state of our body. This is important for sound massage as it is currently assumed that some essential regulatory processes (i.e. stress) depend on our ability to perceive our body.

This explains why sound massage, taken in regular intervals, improves inner body perception. The improved perception of one’s own body allows for self-regulation and enables one to react adequately to specific events in the body.

Sound Massage & Relaxation

Peter Hess sound massage is to be thought of first and foremost as a method of relaxation. Most people quickly reach profound relaxation during their first sound massage.

We call relaxation a state of consciousness. A state of consciousness can be described as a certain kind of experiencing. Central characteristics to discern states of consciousness from one another; perception, assertiveness, alertness, capacity to act, and intentionality.

Depending on the situation and activities, our brain generally vibrates in frequency patterns between 0.5 and 32 Hz. Regarding the different states of consciousness, a distinction is drawn between four common rhythm ranges:

  • Beta 13 – 21 Hz: conscious awareness; concentration, attention, intellection performance
  • Alpha 8 – 12 Hz: everyday trance, daydreaming, right before falling asleep, light relaxation
  • Theta 3 – 8 Hz: altered creativity, profound meditation, sleep, measured in shamans during rituals, profound relaxation
  • Delta 0.4 – 3 Hz: Deep sleep, fainting, most profound meditation, trance, profound hypnosis

A state of light to profound relaxation generally prevails during sound massage – usually the alpha state, and sometimes the theta state are achieved. It depends on the individual physiological and psychological response to relaxation.

Typical Responses to Sound Massage


The following benefits are possible outcomes that you may experience from sound massage. These are not guaranteed or proven medical claims.

Neuro-muscular system

Decrease of reflex actions, number of active motoric unities and EMG signals

Cardiovascular system

Reduction of heart rate and blood pressure, and expansion of peripheral arteries, sensation of warmth


Respiration becomes more shallow and regular

Central Nervous System

EEG shows an increase of alpha and theta waves


Insulin level rises; cholesterol level, cortisol concentration in saliva and norepinephrine declines

Electrodermal Characteristics

Skin resistance rises and conductivity declines; respectively, activity of perspiratory glands decreases