What is a sound bath? The practice of sound bathing, as the name suggests, is the practice of being deeply immersed in sounds and vibrations that have the power to cleanse and heal. It is a journey of self-discovery through deep relaxation and meditation.
Taking a sound bath is taking a holistic approach to relaxation and healing. It can be a perfect escape from the modern stresses of life. A sound bath can cleanse your soul and restore your balance. This stems from the immense power of sound and vibration. Sound has a great influence on our emotions and health and can make us feel happy, energized and relaxed.
During a sound bath, a profound sense of peace and tranquility will surround you. If your sound bath is being conducted using singing bowls, you will feel the healing and cleansing power of various different singing bowls which surround you. All your stress, tension, and depression will become washed away with these vibrations. Both your emotional and physical trauma will be released, making you feel vibrant and lively.
In this article, we discuss the beliefs of energy practitioners in respect of the health benefits of sound baths, sound healing and sound bath meditation. We will also explain how sound bathing works and describe the tools used during a typical sound bath. We will then discuss how to prepare for a sound bath and describe the experience of participating in a sound bath. We will conclude by discussing the healing properties of sound bathing and how you can create your own sound bath in the comfort of your home.
History of the Sound Bath
When we open up the history books to learn about the origin of sound bathing, we are taken back to the age of the ancient Greeks. Back then, sound frequencies were often used to treat various health ailments, including indigestion, mental disturbance, and insomnia.
It was believed that sound waves could calm the nervous system and balance the physical and spiritual aspects of the body. It was believed that a holistic approach which utilized the power of sound could help to relieve stress, insomnia, anxiety and depression. In fact, in the famous book De Anima, which was written by the ancient Aristotle, there is mention of how music can help purify the soul.
In addition, sound healing has been used in various other cultures for healing and wellness, and has led to the creation of various ancient instruments, from Tibetan singing bowls to Aboriginal didgeridoos. For thousands of years, these instruments, along with chants and mantras, have been used to balance the chakras by awakening consciousness. Healing with sound is the most ancient and natural form of healing.
At the end of the 19th century, researchers began to study the application of music in medicine and healing. Those early studies study revealed that music can affect physical responses, and reduce blood pressure and heart rate while improving the metabolic process.
How Sound Bathing Works
Sound has a powerful impact on our lives and is all around us. Whether or not you use sound-producing instruments such as singing bowls and tuning forks, there is always music around you. Even a simple walk in nature will surround you with the harmonic music of the wild. Music provides relief from pain and discomfort and makes you feel relaxed.
Sound bathing is the practice of intentionally creating waves of harmonic sound which envelop and surround your body. Whether you are actively participating in the creation of the sounds or acting as a passive receiver, you will feel the healing effects of sound bathing.
Sound healing practitioners use different methods of sound therapy to enhance your emotional and physical well-being. These practices are based on the belief that sounds and vibrational forces can directly influence your health and well-being.
According to quantum physics, every cell is made up of small pieces of vibrating matter joined together by magnetic forces. It is believed that during illness or disease the vibration in the cells is less effective or there is a reduction in the frequency of the vibration. Alternative health practitioners theorize that when your body is exposed to healing sounds, the sound vibration helps to raise the frequency of your body which brings health and spiritual enhancement. This is the basis for the belief of alternative health practitioners that sound therapy helps you to achieve an optimal vibration.
Sound Bathing Tools
Energy healing practitioners use different instruments or sound tools to create different frequencies depending on a person’s particular needs. These vibrations influence different energy fields of the body affecting the chakra or aura to bring balance to a person’s life force energy (prana). This encourages physical, emotional and spiritual growth and healing.
These are some of the tools commonly used during sound bathing sessions:
Tibetan Singing Bowl - This sound tool has its origin in ancient Tibetan Buddhism and is made using different metals. Practitioners strike the bowl with a mallet to create a vibration that helps to balance your energy. Singing bowls used in sound baths are often referred to as sound bath bowls, and sound baths which rely largely on the use of Tibetan singing bowls are often called Tibetan sound baths. Singing bowls are known to have excellent health benefits and have been used since ancient times.
Crystal Singing Bowl - These bowls are made of quartz crystals. Crystal singing bowls are designed to produce a specific tone to align with your specific energy center. Crystal singing bowls are often used in sound baths in conjunction with other crystal singing bowls or Tibetan singing bowls.
Tuning Forks - These are made of steel and produce a single precise tone. The practitioner will often tap the fork and hold it near your body.
Crystal Pyramid - Quartz is molded into the shape of a pyramid. The practitioner uses a mallet to strike different parts of the pyramid that produces a ringing sound which helps balance your energy.
Chimes - It is believed that wind chimes can cleanse your aura. They are commonly used by practitioners in feng shui.
Gong - This tool plays soft sacred music in a geometric pattern. It is also believed that loud sound vibration from a gong can release stuck or trapped energy from your body.
Drum - In many ritual practices, drums are used as a symbol of divinity. Drums help to heal by improving focus and stimulating your energy center.
Digital Sound - In this modern age, sound bathing can be performed using digital sounds generated by smartphone applications or digital recordings. Although this method is not as effective as vibrations that are produced in your physical presence, they can still help to relax and balance your chakra.
How to Prepare for a Sound Bath
Preparing for a sound bath means preparing yourself for physical and emotional cleansing and healing. Bringing any emotions or thoughts to your sound bath session can inhibit the healing and cleansing process. Be aware of your thought process and try to avoid distraction in order to fully benefit from the practice.
Being mindful in anticipation for your sound bath will help relax and prepare you for the process of sound healing. On the day of your sound bath, spend your day reading and relaxing.
Some things to consider before your sound bath:
- Keep yourself hydrated throughout the day. Sound waves travel better through water. When you are well hydrated, you will have a better experience.
- Eat light and healthy food. A sound bath becomes more impactful when you have an empty stomach.
- Set your intentions and be positive.
- Wear warm, comfortable and flexible clothing.
- Try to arrive 15 to 20 minutes prior to your sound bating ceremony. Settle yourself in the space with a calm mind.
The Sound Bath Experience
Sound baths are offered in either individual or group sessions. Follow your instincts during the session. If you feel like standing, then you should stand. Alternatively, if you feel like you want to lay down in savasana, do that.
During a sound bathing session, everyone will feel intense vibrations surrounding their body. Some will receive those vibrations and feel themselves moving to a meditative state. Others may experience emotional release. Have a clear intention and let go of your stress. Whatever you feel is all good, so let your feelings come and go. Being open in this manner will help you release deep-rooted emotions. You might have moments where you feel very happy or very sad. You might even cry during the session. Whatever happens is fine. Let your emotions flow and accept the release.
During sound bathing, your facilitator may use a variety of tools to create sonic space, which is the frequency range that an instrument or a vocal sound takes up when it is played. Generally, a collection of singing bowls are used, although some sessions may also use tuning forks, chimes and drums. Each instrument creates its own frequency which will help guide you to a meditative state. These sound waves are known to trigger the creation of theta brain waves, which are associated with deep relaxation and healing.
Sound bathing generally starts with a light breathing exercise which gradually quietens your mind. You will likely be told to lay down in savasana to feel comfortable and relaxed. The session may last for 60 to 90 minutes. At the end of the session, the instructor will bring you back to reality using some focused breathing. Every person experiences sound bathing differently. It may shift you into a state of deep relaxation or an altered state of consciousness, or you may even find yourself falling asleep, which is fine. The room will usually be dimly lit to set the mood.
Different sound bath instruments serve different purposes. Crystal and singing bowls help to keep you grounded, resonate with your chakra and allow you to attain a meditative state. Bells and gongs help to remove deeply stuck energy.
Group sessions for sound bathing generally cost between $35 to $60, while individual sessions often cost a bit more and often between $150 and $250.
After completion of the sound bathing session, spend the rest of your day relaxing. Have a light meal and go to sleep early.
Healing Properties of the Sound Bath
Experiencing deep rest, relaxation and bringing balance to your chakra is the goal of the sound bath. The harmonic vibrations produced by singing bowls, gongs or other sound bathing tools are intended to stimulate alpha and theta brain waves which resonate and trigger the deep meditative state of the brain in a way that stimulates healing. When done regularly, sound bathing can have profound health benefits. The following are a list of some of the health benefits of sound bathing:
Helps to release stress and anxiety - Sound vibrations help to reduce anxiety and stress. They also help your brain enter a deep meditative state, which creates an environment conducive to cleansing and healing. In fact, studies have shown that meditative therapies can reduce anxiety and that relaxing music can reduce stress and anxiety.
Decreases blood pressure and balances your nervous system - The sound vibrations produced in sound baths bring physiological as well as psychological benefits. When you enter a mindful meditative state, your blood pressure and heart rate are reduced. In fact, research published in the Journal Of Psychiatric Research found that mindful meditation practice can decrease the physiological markers like heart rate, systolic blood pressure and cortisol levels.
Helps you to focus better and achieve a deep meditative state - Meditation has many healing benefits but attaining a full meditative state with a completely clear mind is not easy. The vibrations produced during a sound bath compel you to focus on the intense sounds, which helps you keep your mind clear of thoughts and distractions. As a result, a sound bath is a simple way of attaining a full meditative state.
Helps balance your chakra and makes you feel relaxed - Sound bathing creates a completely safe and relaxed space. When you are lying in savasana, a comfortable and restorative pose, sound bathing can allow your body to feel more relaxed. It helps your mind let go of thoughts and rejuvenates and recharges you.
Helps you find inner peace - A sound bath helps you completely reset your mind and reconnect with yourself. The healing vibrations expand your consciousness and bring inner peace. In fact, studies have revealed that the use of Himalayan singing bowls in meditation practice greatly enhance physiological and psychological responses before attaining complete relaxation.
How to Create your Own Sound Bath
Attending an organized sound bath or an energy healing session is always impactful. But, when that is not possible, there are ways you can harness this powerful practice in the comfort of your own home. The easiest way to do this is to use singing bowls, which are very effective healing tools and very useful for use in sound bathing. Accordingly, it is a great idea to always have at least one singing bowl at home.
You should follow these steps in order to create your own sound bath at home:
- Begin by clearing out negative energy from your space. Hold a singing bowl in one hand and use your other hand to strike your bowl with your mallet as you move around your house.
- Once you have cleansed your space, sit in a comfortable position and surround yourself with your singing bowls. If you only have one singing bowl, hold it in your hand. Light a candle to set the mood and increase the flow of spiritual energy.
- Set your intentions on peace, love or hope and play your singing bowl. Connect with the sound resonating from your singing bowl.
- Breath deeply and focus on your intentions. Feel relaxed and let the sound vibration bring deep harmony and inner peace.
- Singing along with your singing bowls can make you feel empowered. Let your intentions guide you. When you give yourself completely to your practice, you will have a wonderful experience and feel vitalized.
- When you are finished, sit silently for a few seconds and express inner thanks for your practice. Show your gratitude for your singing bowls and for your own efforts.
As an alternative to the above, you can also consider creating a sound bath by listening to digital recordings of singing bowls or other sound bathing tools. The benefit of this method is that you need not occupy yourself with playing any singing bowls. Instead, you can lay down in savasana and listen to the digital sounds while attempting to attain a deep meditative state.
However, please note that most alternative health practitioners believe that the healing benefits of sound bathing are greatly increased when you are physically present with the tools that are creating the vibrations, rather than merely listening to a record of a previous sound bathing session conducted elsewhere.
The sound bath is the most natural and primal form of healing. This powerful practice brings a sense of relaxation and peace, which resets and rejuvenates your mind and body. Although sound bathing sessions can be somewhat expensive, you can create your own sound bathing experience by purchasing your own Tibetan singing bowl and following the steps set out above.