Humming has been shown to have several positive health effects. Some of these benefits include making it easier to relax and breathe, easing sinus pressure and congestion, decreasing blood pressure, and improving your mood. Many positive outcomes may result from doing what most of us already do instinctively.
Is it possible that something so basic might be this good for you?
Humming’s All Around Us
Lullabies and humming from caretakers are among the first memories of being comforted and cared for. Humming is one of our first means of connecting via sound, and it is especially effective at communicating with infants who are too young to understand spoken language.
Humming is a universal expression of a wide range of emotions, including delight, embarrassment, displeasure, and agreement.
Unconsciously mimicking what we hear, we regularly hum melodies we don’t like. If a song has catchy hooks or uses a lot of repetition, it could become stuck in your brain. And, let’s be honest, humming is helpful even when we have the words memorized.
What Happens When We Hum?
To hum, one must shut one’s lips and produce a buzzing sound. When we speak, we cause our vocal folds (the modern word for vocal cords) to vibrate by forcing air through them. When we hum, the pitch may be altered by changing the pressure on our vocal folds.
The vagus nerve (of which there are two in humans) is a member of the parasympathetic nervous system and is likely stimulated by all this vibration. The nervous system regulates and stabilizes essential bodily processes, including heart rate, digestive process, and breathing.
To unwind, many people hum softly to themselves. They may slow their heart rate and experience more HRV. The variation in heart rate is the time that elapses in between each pulse. Better health is connected with increased heart rate variability.
The sinuses may also be affected by humming, with the result that more nitric oxide is produced in the nose. Humming has been shown to enhance nasal nitric oxide levels by 15 times compared to silent exhalation. Blood flow to the lungs, immune system function, brain activity, and even sexual desire may all be influenced by nitric oxide.
Allergy rhinitis patients were the focus of a separate investigation (such as people with pollen or dust allergies). When compared to quiet exhalation, individuals who hummed had greater amounts of nasal nitric oxide and fewer sinus issues.
There are also some surprising mental impacts of humming. These include the development of a keener awareness of one’s physical self and the skill of “decentering” or distancing oneself from one’s internal experiences.
How About Chanting?
Chanting relies heavily on humming as well. The ancient method of meditation known as bhramari pranayama is a good case in point (which can involve humming while gently closing the ears with your fingertips).
One of the most often recited sounds, om, ends with a lengthy, prolonged hum. The goal of chanting is to reach out to the spiritual world and find inner calm via a variety of sounds and prayers.
Mindfulness and other altered states of consciousness, like flow, in which one is completely engrossed in what one is doing, may be achieved by chanting. We are reducing stress with chanting.
Many of us hum for various reasons, indicating the significance of these involuntary vocalizations.
When it comes to your health, is humming a good idea? Humming is relaxing, lifts our spirits, keeps us from dwelling on mundane chores, and may even be employed religiously. Have fun humming!