Benefits of Humming For Health
Humming unexpectedly became the #1 sound healing practice in my life, and I'm excited to share with you why.
Though deceptively simple, humming is the easiest, most effective, and most affordable way to receive the benefits of therapeutic sound. Some of the main benefits include:
- Nervous system regulation & relaxation (drop into rest & digest in minutes!)
- Calms anxiety, reduces blood pressure & heart rate
- Releases melatonin & oxytocin (hum yourself to sleep)
- Promotes release of nitric oxide & increases blood oxygen levels
- Sends stable consistent vibrations to every inch of your body
If you have a voice, then you can hum and become your own source of therapeutic sound! Instruments such as bowls and gongs are great, but there is no better method for getting vibration into the body than to use the instrument we already have inside the body; the voice.
Here are 5 common questions about humming.
What's the difference between humming and singing?
You can think of humming like you are singing to your body by keeping the sound inside (closed lips) and sending it down to your extremities. Open mouth vocal toning is also really good, and often times I will find myself moving back and forth from humming, to morphing into an open mouth vowel sound, then back into a hum, and so on. Open mouth vocal toning with vowel sounds gives a broader range of tones and harmonic frequencies depending on the vowel and mouth shape. Try both!
Should I hum a melody or just stay on the same note?
I recommend starting with just humming the same note over and over again. Any note in your natural speaking range that feels good to you will work fine. Sticking with the same note allows your mind and body to relax more deeply because the repetition is predictable and not as stimulating to the mind as a melody. A single note also give you the consistency of the "stable consistent vibrations" that we are looking for. Humming a melody is fine if it feels good and natural for you in the moment. As you explore your voice you will probably find yourself using it differently depending on the situation.
How much humming do I need to do to feel the benefits?
I recommend 5-10 minutes daily, but you will begin to feel the positive effects within the first minute or two. If you are really enjoying it, then go 15 minutes or longer, and give yourself space to fully drop in. The longer the better. You'll find that after the first few rounds you'll be able to breath deeper and extend the hum for longer because your body is dropping into parasympathetic rest and digest, which literally creates more space in your lower lungs for holding breath. Yawning is a common natural response to your body dropping into the parasympathetic nervous system.
When are the best times to practice humming?
Everyone finds a their own unique space and time to incorporate humming into daily life, but here are some common times when you could consider humming: before a meditation, before an important meeting, after a stressful meeting, in the shower, before bedtime, while on a walk in nature, while sun bathing, after or during a conflict with family and friends, while playing buffalo drum or other instrument, as a group icebreaker to co-regulate, before an athletic competition, during TV commercials, etc.
One note of caution is that humming can release melatonin and make you sleepy, so if you are driving a car, cooking, or operating heavy machinery, a minute of humming might be ok, but if you start yawning and getting sleepy you should stop humming and focus on staying safe and alert. I accidentally hummed myself to sleep in one of my sound healing classes. It can happen!
Is there a step by step breakdown of how to hum?
- Inhale deeply through the nose & hold at the top of the breath for a count of 2-4 seconds.
- Slowly exhale with a comfortable hum, elongating the hum and relaxing muscles in your throat, shoulders, neck, face.
- Close eyes, repeat over and over again, feel for the subtle vibrations from your voice rippling through your entire body.
- Play with your voice by changing mouth shapes and vowel sounds, notice what shapes and sounds feel best internally.
- Use lower pitches to send sound to a lower part of the body and higher pitches to send sound to upper body and head.
- Notice how blissed out you feel.
- Keep playing with your voice and sending love to your body.
Let it be a practice of non-judgement
I know humming is awkward and strange at first, but I promise you if you just open your mind and try it, you'll see exactly why I'm out here informing the masses.
We're putting the hum back in human one voice at a time!
Thanks for tuning in,
P.s. If you'd like something to hum along to you can check out my hum-a-longs on your preferred social media and hum along with me!