Finding a tool or skill to help you unwind and calm your mind is of great benefit to your well-being. Research is showing us that working with mantras can be a wonderful way to both improve well-being and help those suffering with chronic health issues or concerns.
What is a mantra?
You have probably heard of a mantra at some point and passed it off as some weird trance-inducing hippie pastime … But there is a lot more to it. There is more and more research emerging about the benefits of just even listening to a mantra.
So, what is it? At its most basic understanding a mantra is a word or phrase repeated aloud or silently and used to focus attention. It comes under the umbrella of meditation and sound therapy. The word meditation is used to describe practices that are used to regulate the body and mind. Very often the aim of practices like these is to very simply calm the mind. Many people all around the world choose mantras as their way to focus and calm their mind.
Where do mantras come from?
If you look up mantras online you may find lots of videos with words in different languages. This is because this form of meditation is prevalent in many ancient cultures and traditions.
Have you ever heard of OHM?
In the ancient Indian scriptures, ohm is seen as the source of all mantras and is therefore used at the start of many of the sanskrit mantras. You will find mantras from other traditions too. In South American indigenous cultures, they use icaros which could be described as medicine songs. In Sikhism, Wahe Guru is popular and ancient mantra and is sometimes chanted in Kundalini yoga classes too.
Many of these older mantras have religious implications, which is not for everyone. However, when you look at the basic understanding: a word or phrase repeated aloud or silently and used to focus attention, you could take any positive word or phrase and potentially use it as a mantra. Ultimately the mantra brings you to a place of balance and calmness, whatever its origin.
Your anatomy and mantras
If you choose to sing mantras, consider the anatomy and nerve supply of singing and your voice-box.
The main nerve supply of the voice-box (or larynx) is the recurrent laryneal nerve. This is a branch of the huge vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is a big player in your rest and digest system … Without getting too deep into the anatomy, by regular singing you stimulate the vagus nerve … thus you override the stress system (sympathetic nervous system) and switch on your rest and digest system (parasympathetic nervous system)!
This is good news if you are wanting to unwind and de-stress.
So is there any research into mantras?
There is an array of varying research areas into mantras. In particular, I was pleased to see many studies finding mantras with positive effects on many health concerns.
One six month study showed significant improvement at 12 weeks in well-being, mood and sleep quality in older adults with early memory loss. They compared music listening and Kitran Kriya Mediation (a type of mantra). Those who did the mantra showed greater gains in perceived stress, mood, and well-being. Observed gains were still present or improved at 6 months. Both groups showing significant improvement in all outcomes!
A more recent study looked at mantra meditation and its effect on pain in adults suffering with knee osteoarthritis. They compared mantras and music listening. They found that the mantra group showed greater improvements in reducing knee pain, decreasing stress, and improving mood and sleep than the music listening group over a period of eight weeks.
How do you unwind?
Finding a tool to help you unwind and calm your mind is of great benefit to your well-being and your healing capacities. Addressing this aspect of your overall health is part of my healthcare philosophy. In individual client sessions I ask most clients what they do to help unwind and deal with stress in their life.
I hold regular “Introduction to Sound Therapy” group events, where I lead some basic, simple mantras as part of the workshop. These events offer a simple introduction to mantras and sound therapy. This hopefully allows you to see if it is something that resonates with you.
Stay connected on NBH’s Facebook page to learn of the next upcoming event.
This is a simple introduction to the understanding of mantras but is not extensive. You could do a degree on this!! If you have any further questions regarding this topic please do not hesitate to contact the clinic here or on 087 1815007.
Hopefully you find the general information in this article informative and helpful. However it is not intended to replace medical advice and should not be used as such.