Please don't misunderstand me. I am not an authority on this subject. However, working with Saotome Sensei for a long period of time to overcome or control Myasthenia Gravis I use kotodama at a physical too not necessarily a spiritual one. I did not become an authority or a teacher of the subject but a journeyman. I will not discuss the talks or methods we used but will off this little snippet out of 300 page book I did for my grandchildren to help them and me understand what went on and my understanding of why.
From "A Collage of Poppy's Life"
by Dennis Hooler
In Japan there is an age-old belief that sounds invoke action on the physical and spiritual plane. This use of sounds is called "kotodama" and the sounds are used to elicit a response from the body, mind and spirit. There are sounds that soothe, disturb, calm, agitate, and even kill. Sounds produce a physical vibration that is felt in the body and they invoke an image in the mind. Sound waves are powerful but many people take them for granted and do not understand their value in the healing process.
The scientific use of sound is only recently being discovered and used in Western medicine. A dentist may use headphones to produce sound for your relaxation as he drills your teeth without the use of pain medicine. A doctor may use sound waves to look into a mothers abdomen to check the progress and development of her baby. Or, as in my case the sound waves may be used to locate kidney disorders that would not show up on an x-ray. In the past I have encountered people that, because of their particular religious convictions, flatly refused to use the sound accompanying certain movements. They believed chants and certain other vocalizations were designed to conger up goblins and summon demons, or in some way violate their beliefs. When we look at sounds from an objective standpoint we begin to see their use as rational and important to our physical and spiritual well being.
From our first shout at birth announcing our arrival into this world, to a mother's gentle lullaby to calm the mind and body of her child, we are involved with sound. Only as we become older and more suppressed by our environment do we repress the need to producing certain sounds. Many people find it very unconvertible to shout for joy or scream in rage, even in the privacy of their own home, or in a controlled environment where such activity is encouraged. They are repressed by their sense of social values and so this beneficial tool used to restore harmony and create well being is not used. Emotion that was meant to be released is kept within the body and so it dies. This adds to the internal stress and degeneration of the physical and spiritual self. Not all emotion should be released at the time it is evoked but at your discretion, that emotion should be brought out and dealt with. Your grandma (Nana) will testify I am not the best example in the world of holding out for the right time, but I try still. I understand it and I rationalize it and know it's the right thing to do, but sometimes I just can't hold it back.
The use of sounds in the restoration of harmony and in creation is not new, neither is it strictly Japanese in nature. In science there is the Big Bang Theory. This is an attempt to explain the creation of the universe as it exists. We also find the use of sound in the Old Testament when at the sound of trumpets the marching feet and shouts the walls of Jericho came tumbling down. In the New Testament we find reference to creation being linked to sound in the Gospel of St. John " In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God." Nowadays sound is being used for everything from relieving pain to cleaning drapes. Nana and I had a fellow come to the house in a van with big tanks in the back. He took the drapes out of the house and put them in the van and cleaned them with ultra sound. I know I know, it sounds like science fiction to me too but it worked. No, really it worked. They were as clean as the day we put them up. So it should not be surprising that the use of sounds will assist us in our quest to find health and happiness. If sounds can clean drapes it ought to be able to help me out some. Don't you think? After all I think I got a little more going for me than a strip of cloth.
The use of vocalized sound to reduce mental and physical stress is not new to western culture. We whistle while we work, and we may hum a tune when nervous or frightened. The physical act of laughing has been known to cure people of terminal illness. When a group of people laugh together social stress is lessened and there is greater harmony in the group. A mother may take a frightened child to her breast and gently hum to soothe the fear away. The reverberation of the sound made deep within the throat travels through the body of the mother into the body of the child making a physical connection beyond that of merely touching head to breast. The use of sound in meditation is much the same as that of a mother soothing her child. The sound may be designed to stimulate or soothe, it may be used to adjust the mind to a particular state of consciousness more consistent with the specific exercise your involved with.