The Invisible Wonders of Humming

We all know how to hum, but when did YOU last do it?

Recently I hope.

Singing’s for the shower but humming is something you can carry out anywhere without annoying too many friends.

The mere act of humming offers an abundance of benefits. For starters, it elevates your mood.

Want proof? 

Go on. Hum a tune for the next 20 seconds. Don’t overthink it. Pick a bouncy tune – we’re talking happy vibes here, not one of Chopin’s funeral marches or Leonard Cohen’s lamenting melodies! 

Don’t waste time deciding on what your favourite song is.  Just pick one and hum away.

Pause for 20 seconds……….Do you feel better?  

This isn’t just about creating awkward vibrations in the air  It’s like a magic potion to boost your spirits – without the Hogwarts coaching. 

Humming along with a happy tune will slow down your heart beat, lower your blood pressure, ease stress (without the need for pharmaceuticals), calm your mind and give your sinuses a workout.

The real benefit of humming? The production of a chemical superstar in your body – Nitric Oxide (with the easy to remember chemical formula of NO). This relaxes the inner muscles of your blood vessels, essential for the prevention of coronary issues.

I wasn’t aware of any league tables or annual prizes but in 1992 Science magazine cited Nitric Oxide as “Molecule of the Year”.

Humming (specifically “bee buzz humming”) is also used in an array of meditation, yoga and breathwork practices.

There’s a difference between humming and chanting.  With humming the lips are closed; with chanting the lips form to create the sound of OM or AHUM (I am), or others such as EEMM, PAAM, HAA and WOOO.

Some suggest that humming goes way back in our evolution, like ancient animal contact calls within flocks, herds, packs, colonies and other collective groupings to let them know that they’re safe with no predators around.

So when you hum you might be signaling to the world, “Hey, I’m safe and sound here!”

Don’t lose sight of what Nikola Tesla told us: “If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.” 

Well, humming’s got all three in one neat package. It’s like an internal massage for your body, giving your glands and organs some gentle vibrations.

Back to yoga for a moment. Researchers have shown that vibrations from humming stimulate the vagus nerve near your vocal chords.  This is a h-u-g-e deal because the vagus nerve sends out electrical signals that deactivate key areas of the brain.

Put another way – you relax more.

I’ve been asked if humming hurts the vocal chords.  Quite the opposite.  Singers hum to warm up their voice.

Hum Yourself To Sleep 

if you’re having trouble sleeping, guess what? Humming produces melatonin so hum a little before you go to bed.  

It’ll switch your brainwave rhythms from left-brain activities to right-hemisphere functions. transitioning you from Beta (wide awake, alert, and focused) to Alpha (calm and relaxed) and even to Theta (extremely relaxed,) lulling you into dreamland.

Humming In Music

If you’d prefer to hum to music, go to YouTube and key in ‘Music to hum to’ and you’ll see plenty of choices to keep you busy.

From now on, when a catchy tune comes on the radio and you’re lyrically challenged, channel your inner humming rockstar and do what I do – just hum. 

It’s the universal language of the musically bewildered!.

Dr. Elmar Jung

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