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Sound Healing



The ancient art and new science of using sounds and voices to treat pain and life threatening disease.

This article appeared in our August 2003 issue. During the 21 hours of labor, Stephanie Rose seriously considered taking Demerol, but changed her mind when she realized that just by singing “Om,” “Uhhhh,” and other fluid, open sounds, she could endure her contractions and ride with the experience. “I wasn’t crying out of help,” says Rose. “I didn’t have any fear during birthing.” Instead, “I was meeting each moment with sound. By the time I was riding out the sound, the pain had passed.” Weeks later, expectant mother Michelle Kopper Seymour went from 3 to 10 centimeters dilated in less than two hours, also without drugs. To deal with the pain, she stood naked in a wide-legged power stance and made long, open-vowel sounds (think of opening wide and saying “ahhhh...”). Sinking into the rhythm of her yoga class tape, she mimicked bits of a Sanskrit phrase seeking deliverance from limitation and fear. “It was about going into the pain, using my own vibration to actually match that level of pain, instead of checking out mentally,” says Seymour. The power of sound is a well-kept secret in the visuall …

Janet Aschkenasy taught yoga (2003) as a volunteer at the Momentum AIDS Project and the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center in New York City. She continues to practice and train at Rasa Yoga (

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