Stressed at work? Relationships not going as they should? Are you in need of some mental or emotional clarity? Maybe it’s time to try sound bathing! In this article we’ll be looking at what sound bath therapy is, how it works, what to expect from a session, and some of the benefits. So, without further ado…
What Is Sound Bathing?
Everything in the universe is made up of energy and everything has it’s own energetic vibration. If we are not vibrating in harmony with our true self or our environment, this can lead to poor health and illness. One way of addressing this is by using healing frequencies through sound therapy. One such method is sound bathing.
With a sound bath, you are literally surrounded by sound which is produced by different instruments that have particular vibrational frequencies. Some sessions may include singing or chanting as well. When certain frequencies are introduced to the brain, it’s encouraged to become in sync with these frequencies and therefore behave in a particular way; this is known as brainwave entrainment, which is a fundamental element of healing with sound.
As you might indulge in a relaxing bubble bath after a stressful day to melt away your woes and enter into a state of bliss, so can you achieve this with a sound bath – but without getting wet! You can submerge yourself in the waves of sound as they wash over you, cleansing your troubled mind. Sound bathing is a form of meditation and if you’ve found meditation difficult to master before, this method might work a little better for you.
What to Expect From a Sound Bath
Sound bathing is becoming increasingly popular and you may find sessions near you at your local health centre or fitness studio, as well as at festivals, ceremonies, “new age” events and so on. These generally take place indoors and can be group or individual sessions, usually lasting from about 30 minutes to an hour.
Before the session…
It’s wise to lay off the coffee and any other stimulants before the session so you can fully relax and gain the maximum benefit. Make sure you’re well hydrated and wear comfortable clothes. It’s worth having a think about what you want to get out of the session – is it just for relaxation or is something troubling you? Is there a particular problem you’re struggling with? You don’t need to focus on this too hard, but have it there in your mind and allow your subconscious to do the rest.
Arrive a little early so you have time to get yourself comfortable and to begin relaxing. For the session itself you will usually have your eyes closed or covered and be laying down, but some studios offer beanbags or comfortable seats. (Find out in advance if you need to bring your own yoga mat.)
During the session…
The session may begin with some breathing exercises and as it progresses, the instructor and / or others will begin to play different sounds through different instruments. These could include the didgeridoo, the harp, singing bowls, gongs and chimes.
There are different types of sound bathing – e.g. singing bowl therapy and tuning fork therapy which use particular instruments. Also, vibrational sound therapy which may use a combination of instruments. The important thing is, whichever type you opt for or find yourself in the middle of, sound bathing should be a relaxing, sometimes transformational experience whereby your vibrational frequencies are cleansed, cleared and raised to a higher level.
You can expect the session itself to flow freestyle as there is usually no set melodic or rhythmic structure. The therapist will likely follow their intuition and the vibe within the room. Because of this, you’ll probably not have the same experience twice. There are times, however, when sessions will follow more of a plan. For example, if carrying out chakra balancing, the therapist may play notes to specifically resonate with each chakra in order to facilitate healing in that particular area.
Some sounds will be pleasant and lulling. Others may be less pleasant and some may be difficult to listen to, but the sounds will come and go so it’s best to just go with it and keep an open mind. There is usually a reason for negatively experiencing certain sounds e.g. an energy blockage or health issue linked to that vibrational frequency. It could be an indication that the blocked energy is becoming unstuck and the healing process is beginning.
There are a number of sound bathing tracks available on YouTube, so if you’re not sure about attending a session, maybe give some of them a try. However, by listening to a recording, you may be missing out on some of the magic of a live sound bath. (Compare going to see a live band to listening to a recording in the comfort of your own home, and decide what’s best for you.)
Sound Bath Benefits
As with any form of meditation, sound bathing can be an excellent way of relaxing mind and body. When combined with breathing exercises, it can also improve blood circulation, reduce heart rate and lower blood pressure. All of these are, of course, important to our overall physical health.
On a psychological level, deep relaxation serves to reduce stress and anxiety, having a positive effect on mood and therefore helping those suffering with depression. Also, during or after a sound bath it’s quite usual for emotions to resurface that may have been buried deep. By allowing the sound vibrations to penetrate you at the most profound level, by accepting these feelings and letting them go, you can begin to heal even the deepest of wounds. (Emotional issues can manifest as physical illness if left unchecked.)
Other reported benefits include pain relief, better sleep patterns, improved memory, sharper focus and higher levels of motivation. Also, where some methods of meditation are really difficult to get to grips with – i.e. sitting in silence and learning to let go of your thoughts – sound bathing can be a good alternative. If you have a super-active mind, the sounds may help you to switch off, rather than being faced with a massive silence that you have to try not to fill with your busy mind chatter!
My very good friend Sam recently attended a sound bath for the first time. This is how she found it…
“My experience of a sound bath – what’s a sound bath? An array of weird and wonderful ideas flooded my imagination! The one thing that didn’t enter my thoughts was that it could be a therapy that would relieve me of the constant pain my body had to endure every day!
We were advised to wear comfy clothes, bring a blanket and pillow with us (again for comfort) and a bottle of water. We removed our shoes before entering the therapy room. This was a room with blankets and pillows all lined up together on the floor and we found our spot and waited in anticipation!
I was surprised at the diversity in the room – from the very young to pensioners. Some were obviously not first timers – sat comfortably with crossed legs and generating a special peace and tranquility one can only hope to achieve!
The therapist started with a short meditation exercise to empty our mind of thoughts and relax . . . . . and then the magic began! The sound the bowls emitted was very soothing and almost hypnotic! In fact quite beautiful . . . and for an hour I felt like I had gone somewhere very special.
The vibrations through the floor were very comforting. A day or so later as I braced myself to get up from the sofa (this always caused me to wince in pain) I suddenly realised I wasn’t hurting – not one bit of pain in my leg!
I had been unable to extend my left arm for months so carefully I stretched it out a little bit and a little bit more until it was 80% stretched – again without the hurt I had become accustomed to.
Somehow the vibrations had reached parts of my body in a way I can’t begin to understand and the results were truly amazing! Give it a go !!!”
Sam liked it so much, she’s booked in for another session. (At Seraphina Hollistic and Wellbeing Centre, Ashton-Under-Lyne.)
The world we live in is challenging at the best of times and it’s almost impossible to escape the low vibrations and negative energy that seemingly surround us every day – whether that’s in the form of bad news in the media, the latest global disaster, or even dealing with negative people at work. There’s little getting away from it so we need to have some coping strategies in place so we can stay healthy in all aspects of our being.
So, to re-tune your energetic frequency and live life at a higher vibrational level, why not give sound bathing a try? Whether you opt for a group or individual session, indoors or outside, with just one particular instrument or a combination of several, allow yourself to open up to the sounds you are hearing and feeling.
By experiencing the benefits of sound bathing, you may just begin to release yourself from negativity – past and present – so you can enjoy a healthier future for your body, mind, emotions and spirit. Let me know what you think – as always, questions, comments and feedback are most welcome.