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  • Writer's pictureVicky

Demystifying Sound Baths - reasons to bathe in sound

Today we are going to demystify the 'woo woo' sounding world of sound baths. If you've never been to one, they aren’t as strange as they may seem!


Sound Bath Instruments, singing bows and rain stick  on a sheepskin blanket
Sound Bath Instruments

During a sound bath session, singing bowls, gongs, chimes, perhaps even drums are played in a way that creates soothing sounds and vibrations that wash over you, helping to relax your mind and body. They are played gently, allowing the sound waves to resonate through the room and sometimes on your body, creating a peaceful and meditative atmosphere.


So, what can you expect when you attend a sound bath? Well, get ready to immerse yourself in a sensory experience like no other. You will usually be lying down for the session, but if that isn’t accessible for you, you can always sit on a chair. It’s important to feel comfortable and warm, so bolsters or pillows and a blanket are recommended. The sound bath may take you on a journey of sound, from singing bowls, which may be placed on the body to be played so you feel the vibrations, to cactus rain sticks and seed shakers to recreate the sounds of nature. The instruments may be moved around your body and the room to create different parts of the journey. The twinkle of chimes, warm and soft tones of the Sansula and maybe even some sung mantras allow you to be bathed in auditory delights.


While sound baths are suitable for almost everyone, regardless of age or fitness level, if you have epilepsy, heart conditions, tinnitus, find intense sounds stressful or overstimulating, get migraines triggered by noise, have metal plates in your body or hearing aids that may make the sounds uncomfortable or are pregnant it's best to skip the sound bath. It is worth noting that some people with mental health issues may find sound baths can lead to a release of emotions.


If you do attend a sound bath, the benefits you may feel can be amazing. You might feel a deep sense of relaxation during and after the session. People often find that sound bathing leads to a sense of reduced stress and lowering of anxiety. It may help to improve focus and even encourage a sense of balance and harmony within yourself.


While most of these benefits are anecdotal, there has been some research into the effects of sound bathing. In 2016, a study by Goldsby concluded that sound bath type meditation “may be especially useful in decreasing tension in individuals”. Additionally, Cotoia in 2018, found that playing patients who were about to have an operation relaxing singing bowls might be a useful strategy to manage preoperative anxiety. Much more research is needed in this relatively new area though.


In his 2019 article, neuroscientist and biophysicist William Softky, gives a new and interesting take on why sound bathing is so popular. He sees the electronic ‘noise-pollution’ and also by the artificial sounds from devices used in modern life as an assault on our vibration sensitive nervous system which becomes de-calibrated. He suggests “The solution to mental misery created by a de-calibrating sonic environment is to return to a calibrating one, such as a sound bath.”


Sound baths are a fantastic way to unwind, de-stress, and rejuvenate your mind, body, and re-calibrate. So, next time you need a little self-care, why not give a sound bath a try?

 





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