Sound bathing is the use of sound to promote relaxation and healing. It can benefit anyone seeking to relax and have fun. Some people believe that the sound of beautiful music will positively impact their mental health and have a positive impact on their lives.
Sound baths is an ancient wellness treatment that dates back more than 2,000 years, and most commonly ancient Tibetan singing bowls are used. Some scientific studies have found that sounds affect our brainwaves which in turn affects our health and our well-being, for example during meditation and yoga exercises or in special environments like massage rooms, spas and hot tubs. A variety of instruments are used in sound baths: crystal bowls, chimes, singing bowls, drums and more to create harmonious and beautiful sounds and vibrations that help our bodies relax into a deeper state of relaxation and promote healing from within.
Benefits of sound baths
The benefits of a sound bath are many and include increased energy, reduced stress, improved sleep, enhanced immune function and an overall sense of peace and well-being in the body, mind and spirit.
The Vibroacoustic Therapy or Sound Bath is based on the principle of resonance between the frequency of vibration of the therapeutic sound and the frequency of the human cell structures in the organism. These frequencies resonate with in the human body and affect its cells on a molecular level, creating beneficial changes within the body at a cellular level through vibrational stimulation.
Sound baths can also benefit people with depression and other mental health problems because research has shown that sound can induce a deep sense of relaxation which may help reduce stress and depression and the sound waves help activate the pineal gland which produces melatonin, the hormone associated with sleep and also stimulates the pituitary and orexin glands which helps us to relax.
What does the science say?
An observational study from 2016 examines the effects of sound meditation using singing bowls on mood, tension, and well-being.
The results indicate that participants experienced a significant decrease in negative affect, state anxiety, and tension levels, along with an improvement in perceived levels of physical and mental well-being after one session.
These effects were observed to be sustained over time, suggesting that singing bowl sound meditation may be a beneficial tool for improving psychological health.
A 2018 randomized, controlled study investigates the effects of Tibetan music on neuroendocrine and autonomic functions in patients waiting for surgery. The results indicate that listening to Tibetan music reduced cortisol levels, blunted heart rate variability, and increased baroreflex sensitivity, suggesting that it could be a useful adjunctive therapy for reducing preoperative stress.
A systematic review published in 2020 assesses the effects of singing bowls on human health. The results show that singing bowls are associated with significant improvements in psychological and physiological parameters such as increased relaxation and lowered blood pressure. Additionally, singing bowls may be beneficial for pain relief, stress management, and improving sleep quality. Overall, the evidence suggests that singing bowls can bring about positive health benefits, although more research is needed.
How do sound baths work?
Typically 10 to 40 Tibetan singing bowls are used to create certain resonance effects. The therapeutic effects of the different tones depend on the type of bowl and its color, the size and the material of the bowl and the shape and its age. Each type of tone has its own effect on the body’s system. For example the sound wave produced by the metal vibrating at a certain frequency resonates with the water in our cells and this creates specific therapeutic effects. It is believed that there are over 40 different tones of the bowl depending on the size, shape, material and the tuning of the bowls and their combinations can produce up to hundreds of tones and each one has its own effect on our body. The sound bathe also produces vibrations that trigger the body’s natural healing mechanisms and creates profound states of relaxation which helps reduce stress, ease tension and create calmness and peace in our lives. For example, the oval shaped bowls produce a more soothing and relaxing sound than the round ones.
Hence the choice of bowl during a sound bath session is decided by the expertise of the sound bath therapist and his ability to choose the right bowl for the right effect.
The combination of different sounds produced by the bowls creates a beautiful sound and each bowl creates its own audio frequency which is absorbed by the body and is soothing and balancing to our mind, body and spirit. Sound baths are a form of vibrational therapy and sound healing. A sound bath session is conducted with the participants lying on their backs in a comfortable position on the floor with pillows to support them during the session, in a dimly lit room where everyone can relax and enjoy the beautiful sounds of the music produced by these stunning sounding bowls as the vibrations of the sound waves travel up through the body relaxing the mind, body and spirit creating deep states of relaxation and peace within everyone present.
How long should a sound bath session last?
There are no hard and fast rules about the length of a sound bath sessions – it can last from one hour to three hours or more depending on the objectives of the therapist and his wish to use the time for meditation and relaxation or as a powerful form of stress relief and healing for the participant. Many people report having profound experiences during and after a sound bath and most people feel relaxed, rejuvenated and happy after experiencing this magical therapy.
What’s the difference between sound baths and music therapy?
Music therapy is a more structured form of therapy where the therapist may use instruments such as guitars, keyboards, drums etc. to give a structured musical structure to the sessions. Music therapy uses music to facilitate personal growth, manage stress, and provide physical, emotional, cognitive, and social support.
A sound bath is more focused on relaxation and meditation and uses instruments such as singing bowls to create an immersive auditory experience. In sound baths the music is simply created spontaneously by Tibetan Singing Bowls where the therapists uses the vibration of the sound of the bowl to create the sound. As each bowl of the Tibetan Singing Bowl has its own pitch and tone, the sound produced can be harmonized to create beautiful sounds and harmonies which produce the relaxing and therapeutic sounds.
Both approaches can be beneficial, but a sound bath is more focused on providing a soothing and calming atmosphere while music therapy can be used to reach therapeutic goals.
in conclusion, sound baths can induce relaxation, releases the tensions built in the body and provide a deep sense of peace and tranquility helping the participants to let go of all the worries of the day. In fact a sound bath can be compared to meditation but then moved to another level of transformation, profound states of relaxation, heightened awareness and much more, including the experience of profound levels of awareness as a state of mind experienced during the sound bath.
Hence, vibrational therapy such as sound therapy in combination with other therapies can help people achieve a higher sense of calm, awareness, well-being through sound. It is a very interesting and uplifting experience and creates a deep sense of calmness and connection to the ones present during the sound bath session.
Obviously sound baths have only been around for a relatively short period of time in the West but have enormous benefits if practiced according to the recommendations of the professionals involved.