Hum your way to a better mood and maybe stave off a cold while you’re at it. The benefits of humming are more than you would think, especially for something so simple. Every day this week, find time to hum a little tune. Hum along with the radio, while you’re walking to your car, or while you’re cooking dinner. It doesn’t have to be a discernible song, just hum.
This will not only brighten your mood, but it will relax your mind. You will be focusing on what you are humming and not any worries or negativity that may be trying to clog up your mind.
As an added benefit, humming can also help to clear your sinuses.
When your allergies are bothering you, or you have a cold, try humming different notes to see what vibrates the area of your sinuses that is bothering you. Different notes will make different parts of the roof of your mouth, and/or throat, vibrate. This in turn vibrates the sinus cavities that are above it.
I found this out, kind of randomly, one day. It was a few years ago, and I had a bad cold. I was sitting on the couch watching something and I started humming along with the song that was on the show. One of the notes I hit vibrated the exact part of my sinuses that was hurting the worst. I stopped humming the song and kept humming that one note, over and over again. In a little while, that spot wasn’t hurting. Over the next few days, I did the same thing and it worked each time. I’m not going to say that it was what cured me, but it certainly helped improve my symptoms.
I’ve repeated my experiment several times over. If I feel myself getting a little sinusy, I start humming until I find the right note, and then I stick with it. That, coupled with boosting my immune system, has helped me not to get sick multiple times. Again, it’s not a cure, but it helps.
There’s something to this humming thing – It can help you feel better, but also to not get sick in the first place.
Don’t quite believe that there are any benefits to humming? Well first, try it for yourself and get back to me. But if you need more proof:
In a study called, “Humming Greatly Increases Nasal Nitric Oxide”, Eddie Weitzberg and Jon O. N. Lundberg concluded that, “humming caused a 15-fold increase in nasal nitric oxide compared with quiet exhalation”. Why is an increase in nasal nitric oxide important? Having nitric oxide “in the sinuses is likely to enhance local host defense mechanisms via direct inhibition of pathogen growth and stimulation of mucociliary activity”. What this basically means is that the nitric oxide helps us not to get sick.
So, humming benefits you by boosting your immune system.
This is also why humming, as opposed to simply doing deep breathing, can be beneficial sometimes. In meditation, yoga, and many other forms of exercise and relaxation, deep breathing is done to relax yourself and come into a state of grounded, inner-peace. Mix it up and add a little humming into your deep breathing practice.
Humming has also been proven to improve your mood
It’s hard to hum, and be angry or upset at the same time. If you are experiencing feelings of anger, sadness, anxiety, depression, etc., humming can help improve your mood. Why is this?
According to Dr. Arielle Schwartz, “The vagus nerve passes through by the vocal cords and the inner ear and the vibrations of humming is a free and easy way to influence your nervous system states”.
Without going too deeply down the rabbit hole, our vagus nerve controls a lot of different things in our bodies.
Just reading the Wikipedia description of its functions is amazing. That doesn’t include all of the scientific and medical descriptions that you can find.
It runs all the way from our brain to our lower abdomen. Chronic stress can actually cause damage to the nerve, which in turn causes problems for everything that it controls. As Dr. Schwartz said, humming is an easy way to stimulate this nerve. Stimulating it directly affects its interaction with your brain and the rest of your body.
Healing frequencies of sound
Chris Shelton talks in some of his videos about the healing sounds of each organ system. Different sounds and tones affect each organ differently. By making these sounds, we can bring those organs back into balance. To hear them, and to hear more about why they work, click on the heart, liver, lung, spleen, or kidney healing sound. (Pick whichever one you seem drawn to at this moment and then you can jump to the other videos from there.)
There are also what’s known as binaural beats, or healing frequencies. These beats can help put your brain into different states, to benefit how you’re feeling overall.
Our brains have 5 different states: delta, theta, gamma, alpha, and beta. Each one of these states is a different “level” of how we’re feeling. For instance, when we’re feeling relaxed and sleepy, our brains are in the delta or theta states. When we’re more alert, our brains are in the gamma state. You get the idea.
The healing frequencies are designed to help our brains get into these different states more easily. If we can’t seem to calm down and go to sleep, playing a certain frequency in the background (via a video on YouTube, etc.) can help us get to sleep more quickly, and stay asleep. This is also true for times when we need to be more focused, or even somewhere in between awake and asleep.
My husband and I have used these healing sounds multiple times and have found them to be effective.
As I said in our finger holding post, they are going to cure anything on their own, but they can help in the healing process. Whether it’s a placebo effect, or it genuinely works, if it makes you feel better, then why not try it?
You don’t have to fully understand the science behind these sounds to get the benefit from them. Sometimes I read the descriptions to see which one I need, sometimes I just play a few of them and see which one I’m drawn to the most.
What do you hum?
Anything. Everything. Hum your favorite song. Hum along with the radio. If you’re so inclined, make up your own songs as you’re humming. Sometimes I will hum a specific tune, and sometimes I’ll just hum certain notes until I find the right one.
You can hum one specific note, over and over again, which is also known as chanting in some circles. “Om” for instance, which ends in a hum, is a chant that you can do to relax your body, ground yourself, and help you feel peaceful inside and out.
What is the best way of humming, to get all of the benefits?
Breath in through your nose, keep your mouth closed, and hum. Now, obviously, if your sinuses are congested, you can’t always breath through your nose. If this is the case, then start by breathing through your mouth. As your sinuses clear, go back to breathing through your nose.
When you breath through your nose, it is more relaxing and more beneficial to your body. The reason for this goes back to the study about nitric oxide. Our noses are where the nitric oxide is produced. So, if we breath through our noses we get more of the benefits that this gas produces: a better immune system, more oxygen in the body, etc.
There are a few videos that I like to listen to, or have listened to, that have helped me.
I like Meditative Mind specifically because they are free, they don’t randomly play ads in the middle of their music (they might play in between if you have it on “auto” and it switches videos), and they have a lot of different options. Most of these are at least one hour long, so they are perfect for playing in the background while you do exercises, or a little self-care time in a hot bath. The ones that are designed for sleep are generally 9-11 hours long. And again, you don’t have to necessarily pay attention to the title. Don’t get so hung up on what the title says, and miss the benefit, if you’re drawn to one or the other.
Here are the links to each one:
“(Almost) Instant Solar Plexus Chakra Healing Meditation” – This one has the sound of a crackling fire, which is so relaxing to me sometimes.
They have a lot of different chants if you are interested in those. You could even try humming the chant, instead of saying the words, and see how that feels.
The best way to use these, is to play them in the background. We’ve even played them before when we’ve been traveling. It helps to make the energy in the room, house, or wherever you’re staying, feel lighter and more comfortable.
If you’re interested in reading about more benefits of humming, and getting more examples:
Read “The Humming Effect” by Jonathan and Andi Goldman. In this book, they talk more about the science behind why humming benefits us. They give us practices that range from easy to more advanced. Jonathan is a musician and Andi is a licensed psychotherapist. In the book, they bring their two areas of expertise together to give the scientific and the musical background of healing sounds.
It’s amazing how something as simple as humming, can have so many amazing benefits.
Something that a lot of us do without even really thinking, is benefiting us greatly. Now we can make the conscious choice to hum, and benefit ourselves even more.