Science and Benefits of humming

There are many times in a person’s life, making them cheery and happy so much that they start humming any tune that comes to their mind all on their own. This little practice of humming may seem very irrelevant but it is always associated with positive thoughts. Whenever a person is in a state of bliss, there is an automatic rush of happy hormones in the blood, making it impossible not to hum and make the most of the moment. 

How this simple yet beautiful technique not just makes the entire body relax, but also puts the mind through a lot of ease is something quite extraordinary. What feels like a lot of knots unwinding, it is always a happy sound; more so a celebratory sound. However, what is more important about this little unconscious activity is that it comes with a lot of benefits, which also explains why it helps the mind enter a happy place, relaxing the body while it is at it. 

The science behind humming and its effects on the body

What exactly happens when a person unknowingly starts humming has a whole science behind it, with a lot of benefits that come with it. Many don’t think much of it and hum as they please, but what they don’t know is that the sound that is produced due to this particular activity comes from the paranasal sinuses. This air that travels up there, ends up producing nitric oxide in return. Nitric oxide is a gas that is endogenously produced in the body and has many functions, that are mainly protective in nature. 

There are many more benefits of humming apart from the production of nitric oxide, that are discussed below;

Helps in breathing

Due to the passage of air actively through the lungs and sinuses, the action of respiratory muscles and lungs also improves.

Puts the body through a state of meditation

Since humming brings so much peace to the mind and it helps ease off all the stress and tiredness of the day, it puts the body in a meditative state. This technique is therefore implemented in many yoga centers to relax the mind and soul, clearing all negative thoughts.

Helps clear sinuses

Humming lets the passage of air travel through all the sinuses, draining any mucous that might clog it in the future.

Reduces stress

It has been proven that humming and singing silently can help reduce blood pressure and the heart rate, relieving all the stresses of the day. This can also significantly distract the mind from overthinking about situations as it busies the mind in a rather fun activity.

Activates the parasympathetic system

When the parasympathetic system gets activated it automatically places the body in a relaxed state.

Responsible for the release of happy hormones

There have been studies that show a release of happy hormones such as endorphins whenever a person starts humming any tune. This explains the change in the mood and the state of relaxation that spreads during this little practice of humming.

Strengthens the immune system

It has been well researched that vibrations produced due to sound energy are directly involved in the stimulation of the thymus. The thymus is a small gland that is responsible for the maturation of T-lymphocytes. This gland usually involutes in size as the person ages, decreasing the production of T-lymphocytes. This can lead to many diseases taking over the body, including cancer.

Benefits of Nitric oxide production in the body

With all the added benefits that come with humming, the biggest of them is the production of nitric oxide, as it has some of the most profound effects on the body that can be felt both internally and externally.

Nitric oxide is a gas that is antibacterial and has antiseptic properties, so when a person starts unconsciously humming, this nitric oxide gets carried to the lungs and the whole of the respiratory system. This not just aids the whole process of breathing but also activates the respiratory center, activating the core muscles of breathing, all the while helping fight off pathogens. The gentle nasal breathing also increases the nitric oxide in the blood and acts as a vasodilator and greatly helps in lowering down blood pressure.

It was also believed by scientists and researchers that nitric oxide acted as the first line of defense against any pathogen that gained entry into the body. A remarkable discovery was made at the time SARS-CoV spread a few years ago. It was seen that nitric oxide helped inhibit the replication of this virus inside the body.

It comes as no surprise that humming has a natural calming effect on the mind and the body, a lot of it due to the production of nitric oxide. 

How can you practice the humming exercise at home

In order to practice humming, there are a few steps that should be followed in order to gain maximum benefits out of this practice of simply humming. 

Firstly, make sure that you are breathing in and out through your nose and that your tongue is touching the roof of your mouth, touching the back of your front teeth.

Next, when you exhale out, make sure to produce a resonating sound (which sounds similar to the buzzing sound that bees make). Make sure to continue the process of inhalation and exhalation slowly, without forcing air in and out. As you practice this little exercise for at least ten to fifteen minutes a day, you will feel your air sinuses getting ventilated as you feel calm and light-headed. 

Conclusion

There has been a lot of speculation about the positives of this little exercise of humming. The sound generated this way somewhat points out that it is always the little things in life that leave a huge impact on our lives. The same can be said about humming, as it helps maintain a healthy environment for the insides.

Research conducted in 2018, compiling all the trials conducted on people who practiced Bhramari Pranayama showed its positive effects on the physical and mental health of an individual practicing it. The effects of humming on the physiological processes are explained through this specific yoga practice, this technique requires the person to attain the yogic posture, block his/her ears with their fingers and gently breathe through the nose. The production of the buzzing sound should accompany the course of exhalation. This sound energy, when studied and researched on many people, showed to have profound effects on the respiratory, as well as cardiovascular functions. 

This proves that adopting this habit not just eases the burden carried by the mind, but also helps the heart and lungs function better.

References:

  1. Potential Immune Protective Effects of Nitric Oxide and Humming. Retrieved July 19, 2020, from https://www.buteykobreathing.nz/blog/potential-immune-protective-effects-nitric-oxide-and-humming
  2. Lundberg JO, Weitzberg E. Nasal nitric oxide in man. Thorax. 1999 Oct 1;54(10):947-52.
  3. Weitzberg E, Lundberg JO. Humming greatly increases nasal nitric oxide. American journal of respiratory and critical care medicine. 2002 Jul 15;166(2):144-5.
  4. Bhramari Pranayama – Humming Bee Breathing. Retrieved July 19, 2020, from https://www.artofliving.org/yoga/breathing-techniques/bhramari-pranayama
  5. Kuppusamy M, Kamaldeen D, Pitani R, Amaldas J, Shanmugam P. Effects of Bhramari Pranayama on health–a systematic review. Journal of traditional and complementary medicine. 2018 Jan 1;8(1):11-6.
  6. Silver, J. (2016, September 22). Singing And Humming To Yourself Can Have A Huge Impact On Your Body’s Health. Retrieved July 19, 2020, from https://www.littlethings.com/singing-humming-benefits/6
  7. Goldman, J, Goldman A, Beaulieu, John. (2017, June). The Humming Effect: Sound Healing for Health and Happiness. Retrieved July 19, 2020, from https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781620554845