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Hmmmmmm, Why It's Great to HUM

healthy living life

I have a morning ritual:

I either sit in my rocking chair and hum for five minutes or, if I'm going to the gym, do it in the car on my way there. Each time I hum, I pay attention and hum intentionally to get the most benefit from it.

If I'm sitting at home I might focus on a keeping a positive mindset throughout my day and if I'm on my way to the gym I'll direct my hum into whatever body part is tight or achey. 

photo by Dan V 


So what's the deal with humming?

Well, that's a very good question...

A number of months ago I stumbled across a book at my local library called The Humming Effect: Sound Healing for Health and Happiness.

Touted as the world's first guide to the practice of conscious humming it's written by husband and wife, Jonathan and Andi Goldman. 

My nutshell explanation of their book is that when we hum we increase the vibration of our cells and that we can direct that vibratory resonance for all sorts of health benefits - I found this idea fascinating and to my mind it makes sense.

I know it sounds a bit unbelievable that simply humming can lead us to greater health but there is good scientific evidence to back this up! 

(make sure to follow the embedded links to check in on some really cool studies and articles)


Here are just three of humming's many benefits:

1. Humming increases the production of Nitric Oxide

In a very small study (only ten people) humming increased Nitric Oxide by 15-fold (versus quiet exhalation).

So what's the deal with Nitric Oxide?

Nitric Oxide is a signalling molecule and its production is essential for heart and vascular health because it relaxes vascular smooth muscle.

What is vascular smooth muscle?

Well it's what makes up most of the walls of our blood vessels and is responsible for regulating arterial tone, blood pressure and the blood supply to the tissues so, I'd say it's pretty important.

They even awarded the 1998 Nobel Prize in medicine to the three men who showed "nitric oxide as a signalling molecule in the cardiovascular system".


There are many other benefits to increased Nitric Oxide production but here's an example of one that is simply quite amazing.

A study subject, who suffered from chronic sinusitis, used humming to almost cure themselves in FOUR DAYS!

They to had to hum, hard enough to feel the vibrations inter-nasaly but not hard enough to get dizzy, several times a day over four days:

 Abstract of Case Report & Hypothesis 

The subject had to do some seriously strong humming for those days - the first evening for a whole hour before bed! The rest of the time they had to hum 60-120 times four times a day - but, and this is a big but, their symptoms were pretty much gone afterwards!! 

(I'm trying to get my hubby to give this a go due to his blocked up sinuses, and I'm also curious to see if I hummed for longer than my regular five minutes with way more intensity how my allergies would change. We'll be a case study of two, lol) 



2. Humming stimulates the Vagus Nerve

The Vagus nerve is literally the gut brain axis. 

It's also known as the Master Nerve and the Body's Super Highway.

Vagus is latin for 'wandering' which is precisely what the nerve does in your body.

It starts at your brain stem and goes all the way to your digestive track.

It innervates some body bits (that's a technical term for sure) including but not limited to the:

  • larynx
  • heart
  • lungs 
  • stomach
  • liver
  • kidneys
  • spleen
  • small intestines

Here's a Super Nerdy Link to more info on the Vagus Nerve 



3. Humming releases Endorphins and Oxytocin

Endorphins and Oxytocin are two of your happy hormones.

Endorphins are the body's natural pain killers (think of the runner's high).

If you're stressed, in pain or discomfort, endorphins kick in to help you manage and carry on or push through.

Endorphins are considered your own personal morphine supply and the word is actually a combo of endogenous (from within, i.e. you make it) and morphine (which I think we all know is a pain killer).

Oxytocin is considered the 'love hormone' and is also called the 'trust hormone'. It's main function is to facilitate childbirth but it's also released during sex - yeehaw!

It's triggered by touch and is why physical contact and hugging is so important!

The release of oxytocin lowers blood pressure and improves your mood!

Endorphins  Oxytocin

photo by Michael Fenton 


So here are your three take home messages:

1. There are tons of Nitric Oxide supplements on the market but you can increase your levels naturally simply by humming!!

2. Having good vagal tone is what you're looking for and once again, humming helps you increase it naturally. 

And my favourite cause I'm a touchy, feely type of person:

3. To release your happy hormones - I know you want to - give someone a hug for a full twenty seconds and make sure you hum the entire time!! - I mean why not get double the benefits!?! :)


Finally, here's a link to the book that started it all: 7 Reasons For Humming

Be Well, xBec



The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this blog are not intended to amount to advice and Rebecca Forde disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this post

cover & social photo by Anthony Lee

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