A sound bath is a meditative practice that entails being surrounded by ambient sounds produced by a variety of instruments, or even by the human voice, to achieve a sense of relaxation and deep healing. It is a powerful practice that can be incorporated into a yoga class or energy healing session, as sound frequencies are believed to have positive effects on the mind, body and spirit. This article walks you through the origin, benefits and process of sound healing.
What is a sound bath?
A sound bath, also known as 'sonic journey', is an experience of feeling rejuvenated and relaxed after hearing the dulcet tones of different instruments resonating in harmony. The word dulcet comes from the Latin dulce which means sweet. Dulcet tones suggest pleasant sounding music or voices; it can also refer to any soothing sounds.
The dulcet sounds used in sound baths are produced by different musical instruments such as tuning forks, Tibetan singing bowls, gongs, didgeridoos, cymbals, drums, and other instruments. The sounds aim to bring the body's chakras or energy centres into balance and harmony. The goal of sound therapy is to provide deep relaxation to the mind and body using different sound vibrations created from playing musical instruments in succession.
Sound baths originated from the Vedic traditions of North India and were later adopted by Buddhist monks as a means to purify the mind, body and soul. The dulcet tones were known as 'dhvanikara', which was derived from dhvani or echoes or tones. This therapy has been re-emerging in Western society for many years and can now be found all over the world.
The concept of sound baths is based on quantum physics, which explains the ability of healing sounds to go beyond language barriers and travel directly into your subconscious mind where it then affects your mood, mindset and physicality.
How does it work?
Different kinds of sound bathing tools are used during a sound bath session, such as bells, crystal bowls, and a whole range of wind and percussion instruments. A sound therapist will play seven musical instruments consecutively for 45 minutes with specific instructions not to fall asleep. As each instrument is played, it resonates with others creating an atmosphere of harmony that vibrates through the body, allowing it to relax and feel grounded and rejuvenated. This type of relaxation is a profound experience, often resulting in feelings of euphoria and lightness.
Each instrument creates certain notes that resonate with specific points inside our bodies. The binaural beats produced by the dulcet tones spread throughout our bodies and can reach deep into organs, tissues and bones, resulting in a wide array of healing benefits.
The dulcet tones of sound therapy are believed to restore balance between body, mind and spirit. Different cultures have developed sounds that affect us in different ways depending on which chakras they relate to.
Some people experience being in a trance-like state, while others have visions of colours, light or patterns. It all depends on the individual's mood and what they need from the sound bath session.
Oftentimes, a meditation session is conducted before the sound healing session starts so that it can prepare you mentally and physically for the sound bath experience.
What are the benefits of a sound bath?
It is believed that during a sound bath, the sound frequencies emitted from the instruments have many physical, emotional and psychological benefits. For example, Tibetan bowls are used for chakra balancing, which reduces stress levels, slows heart rate and stimulates the immune system. As it works at a cellular level, sound bathing can address a wide range of health conditions, including:
- High blood pressure
- Chronic pain
- Low self-esteem
- Heart disease
- Mental disturbance
- Poor memory
Additionally, dulcet tones prompt the body to release endorphins, which are feel-good chemicals in the body. The euphoric feelings you experience when different sound waves are sent to your body can also stimulate serotonin, which improves mood and reduces depression. Sound vibrations are believed to help with physical pain, which in turn improves your daily life by enhancing your body's functions and allowing it to perform any task.
How do you prepare for a sound bath session?
No specific preparation is required before attending a sound therapy session. It's nice to be in comfortable clothing though, so it doesn't cause discomfort while lying down. Depending on the time of day, it might be better if you eat something at least an hour before attending your sound bath to avoid getting hungry midway through the healing session.
You may choose to bring your own pillows and blankets, as well as your own sound bath instruments if you have certain preferences. Otherwise, you can use the ones that are available in the meditation studio you're going to. If you are easily disturbed by other people's energy, you can wear a crystal to protect yourself. Other than this, just come with an open heart and mind.
Most spiritual and meditation centres often offer sound bath sessions in exchange for a donation. Alternatively, others provide it in conjunction with other natural therapies like Reiki, yoga or mindfulness meditation, and come with a fixed fee. At the end of the journey, you are given an opportunity to share your experiences with other participants before having tea together.
To find a service provider near you, look through the full listing of sound bath services on Natural Therapy Pages.