Exploring Energy Medicine: Vocal Toning

By Kirsten Antony R.N. ~

Since the beginning of human history, people have been using sounds to heal, manifest, communicate, express and create.  Sound is a source of creation and manifestation and we all have the ability to create our reality through what we vocalize.  We communicate out to the world around us, but we also inform our bodies by our words and sounds which also hold frequencies.  Vocal toning, or toning, is the use of the voice to create healing sounds and tones.  It a wonderful tool for empowerment, healing and a way to bring the body to a state of stillness and deep rest.

Toning is a participatory form of sound healing.  It is a powerful technique of vocalizing through (primarily) the use of vowel sounds.  Vocalizing through vowel sounds has been practiced since time immemorial.  Most of us have proclaimed, “ah” at an insight, “ow” when injured, or “ooh” in amazement.  These sounds are expressions in our cultural lexicon to bring meaning to our thoughts and feelings, but these sounds also can hold energetic healing frequencies.  There is currently a resurgence of the esoteric understanding of the vibrational healing power that lies within each of us. 

The word “toning” was coined and popularized by the late Laurel Elizabeth Keyes in the 1950’s.  In Keyes’ book, “Toning- The Creative Power of the Voice”, she describes toning as, “a very positive, consciously directed identification with the inner power of life, and the full awareness of the release of it at will.”  Our voices are a key to self-empowerment in which we can command our inner energy to express through tones.  These frequencies can inform our physical and subtle energy bodies to re-pattern into a state of balance.  To be in command of our voice, is akin to awakening a sleeping giant.  We all have tremendous creative power lying in wait.

We all tone every day through the words we speak, but also through singing, humming, groaning, laughing, sighing and chanting.  All these practices move our life force energy through vibration.  In the practice of toning, we bring intention to these sounds and also to our energy centers known as chakras.  Our physical bodies are made of patterns of energy vibrating at a slower and more visible speed than our energy centers known as chakras.  There are seven main chakras located along the midline of the body and can be visualized as spinning vortexes of energy and are correlated with different color frequencies.  These chakras are also associated with resonate vowel sounds as well as bija mantras/seed sounds. 

  • Starting at the base of our spine is our ROOT CHAKRA.  It is a vortex the color RED.  The seed sound is LAM and the vowel sound is UH. 
  •  Moving upwards, the SACRAL CHAKRA is located a few inches under the navel and the color is ORANGE.  The seed sound is VAM and the vowel sound is OOO. 
  •  The SOLAR PLEXUS is YELLOW in color and is found around the navel center.  The seed sound is RAM and the vowel sound is OH. 
  •  The fourth chakra is located in the middle of the chest and is known as the HEART CHAKRA.  The color is GREEN, the seed sound is YAM and the vowel sound is AH.  
  • The THROAT CHAKRA is light blue in color.  The seed sound is HAM and vowel sound is EYE. 
  •  The THIRD EYE CHAKRA is located in the middle of the forehead, slightly above the eyes.  The color is INDIGO and the seed sound is SHAM and the vowel sound AY.  
  • The CROWN CHAKRA is located above the head.  The color is VIOLET or WHITE.  The seed sound is OM and the vowel sound is EEE.  You can also focus to tone OM at the third eye and leave the crown chakra as a point of silence when toning.

You can tone either the vowel sounds or the seed sounds in sequence starting at the root chakra and up to the crown.  Play with the pitches starting low with the root and on up to the crown.  When a healing intention is set, the chakra visualized and the tone spoken, you should feel a shift in the energy center. 

  • During practice, inhale through the nose and breathe deep into the abdomen.  Tone on the exhalation.  
  • Experiment with different pitches to find what resonates best for you.  You do not need an excellent singing voice to tone.  Don’t be afraid to express yourself through your unique voice and have fun and play with the tones.  
  • It can be helpful to bring the energy up from your sacral chakra which is a center of creative power.  Visualize a seed planted in that energy center in which beautiful floral melody emerges through your voice.  You are growing a garden of healing harmonies.  
  • Always end your toning sessions in a space of mediation and silence.  
  • With practice, you should feel increased relaxation.  Toning regularly may also improve oxygen levels, lymphatic circulation, reduce pain levels, decrease blood pressure and give you a general sense of peace and harmony.

As a teenager, one summer I worked at an outdoor garden center in the rural backcountry of South Carolina.  It was hot, humid and backbreaking work.  One day I was paired with two women who all day sang African American spirituals while we worked.  Their songs spoke to me on many levels and inculcated into me the importance of the voice, speaking our truth and song. Their music stirred my soul as if magically transporting me to a different time and place.   What you express through your voice so quickly can change the energetic dynamics of a space, affecting our own bodies and everything that surrounds us.  The voice and the words we utter are sacred.  Our ancestors would regularly sing and dance in celebration and ceremony.  It was commonplace to whistle while you work, sing lullabies and hum in happiness.  The noise and distractions in our current age of information has diverted our attention from our inner wisdom.  It is time to reacquaint ourselves with the wisdom that can come in moments of silence.  From this place of silence, then we can go and make a joyful noise and express the music and creative nature of our souls.

This content is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.  Always seek the advice of your physician and/or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition.

Kirsten Antony

Kirsten Antony

Kirsten Antony is a Registered Nurse and Holistic Health Care Practitioner.  She offers in-home services of foot care, reflexology, sound healing and healing touch to those in the Denver Metro Area.  For more information please visit: www.kirstenantony.net or www.facebook.com/soultosoleholistichealthcare or call 303-668-8992.


  1. Wonderfully informative article!!!

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