What is a sound bath meditation?
Over the past few years, sound bath meditation has become one of my favourite things. It is my go-to restorative practice in times of stress or disease, yet it is so much more than just about relaxing.
Yet, those who have never attended one of our sound bath healings often ask me what a sound bath is. So here, I hope to give a clear overview of sound baths – as there is more than just gongs. As well as dispelling some myths, I’ll talk about some of my own experiences in sound healing and outline the benefits.
Time for your (sound) bath.
The first thing to clear up is it’s not literally a bath. No water is involved. No tub. But instead, it refers to the fact you are bathed in sound – the vibrations wash over you. Furthermore, because you don’t have to ‘do’ anything, it’s somewhat of a misnomer to call a sound bath ‘meditation’. There is no need to actively cultivate mindfulness as the sound waves do the ‘work’ for you.
How does a sound bath work?
Here’s the science. Sound healing is nothing new; it can be traced back to many ancient civilizations as much as 3,500 years ago, with each culture having its own variation and instruments. But modern-day science is catching up with the concept that sound can be a healing practice.
Before the nuclear age, the common perception was that everything was made up of matter. Then, scientists split the atom and discovered that this isn’t the case; everything in the Universe is made up of energy, vibrating at different frequencies. Similarly, even things that appear ‘solid’ are oscillating at the molecular level. This includes you.
Now, think of your biological frequency like a radio station: the signal is clear when it’s at its optimal vibration. When it oscillates at an abnormal rate – be it too fast or too slow – it disrupts the transmission, and there is white noise. In human terms, this white noise can be emotional, physical or mental imbalances.
A sound bath helps to readjust any imbalances in your frequency by washing vibrations over your energy system that correct it.
Does a sound bath hurt?
The short answer is no. I have never experienced pain, nor have I heard anyone else experience pain. Although it can sometimes be intense or uncomfortable, it is a good sign that blocks or stagnant energy are shifting.
My biggest advice during a sound bath is to let whatever needs to come up come up–if you need to cry, yawn, or take deep breaths, do it. This is how you will release stuck energy.
Most of the time, sound healing activates the parasympathetic nervous system. This is because the vibrations of sound activate our brainwaves (the communication between neurons within our brains) to move from beta into an alpha state.
In layman’s terms, we go from a flight-or-fight mode, as is the case for most of our normal waking state, into a deep sense of relaxation and calm. Therefore, almost everyone finds sound bath healing deeply relaxing and enjoyable.
What are the types of sound baths?
Crystal bowls are 99.992% pure crushed quartz; each tuned to specific vibrational frequencies (notes) found within the human body. If you would like to hear an example of crystal bowls (played by one of my favourite artists), click here.
The quality of sound from crystal bowls is very harmonious, soft and profoundly angelic.
Alchemic crystal bowls
Crystal Tones Alchemy Singing Bowls are similar to their quartz crystal counterparts but blended with other materials, such as healing gemstones, sacred earth and precious metals. They offer a sound bath like no other!
Gong Bath Meditation
Gongs are mainly bronze and brass but other alloys. They vary in diameter from 7 to 80 inches. Gong masters believe that gongs are birthed rather than made and are considered living beings. Their sound tends to carry a deeper and dramatic resonance that is more enveloping than the bowl.
The role of intention-setting in sound baths
Any good sound bath practitioner will invite you to set an intention before embarking on any sound bath unless perhaps it is your first time. This intention can be as straightforward as finding some time to relax. Moreover, having something specific to work towards means you are more likely to get the most out of your experience. Intention amplifies the healing aspect of sound healing.
For instance, before one of my sound journeys, I set the intention to discover I had fractured my energy. Where have I been giving too much of myself? Or in what areas of my life have I been giving up my power? In this particular gong bath, I met my Power Animal, a beautiful horse that came charging towards me in my mind’s eye. There is nothing better for reclaiming your lost power than a Power Animal!
Here are some examples of intentions you might want to set in a sound bath:
- Relaxation and Stress Relief:
- Intent to release tension and stress from your body and mind.
- Allow the soothing sounds to promote a deep sense of relaxation.
- Emotional Healing:
- Set an intention to work on emotional healing and releasing any negative emotions.
- Use the sound vibrations to create a safe space for emotional exploration.
- Clarity and Focus:
- Focus on intentions related to mental clarity and increased focus.
- Allow the sound waves to clear mental fog and promote a sense of concentration.
- Balance and Alignment:
- Intent to balance and align your energy centres (chakras).
- Use the sound bath to bring harmony to your physical, mental, and spiritual aspects.
- Set intentions related to manifesting positive changes or goals in your life.
- Focus on the sounds as a supportive force for bringing your desires into reality.
Also, a gong master told me that you ‘go up’ a spiritual level between every one to ten sound baths. For instance, the removal of energetic blockages, a message received or perhaps something more subtle. After this, you receive another shift after the next one to ten baths. As a result, I implore you to try and try again with a sounds bath, because you might not feel any difference on your first or second try, you’ll grow to love them and get more out of them.
Top 4 Things to Do in a Sound Bath:
- Take along your crystals! Just like your biological frequencies, the stones, too, have their own vibration that a sound bath can realign.
- Be sure to take along a notebook and pen – so often, I thought I’d remember what I experienced or learned, but much like any meditative and deeply relaxed state, I’d forget the moment I stepped out into the busy world!
- Bring an eye pillow and your favourite blanket – most studios will have equipment for you to get comfortable. But, these little extras can make all the difference.
- Don’t drink any alcohol, preferably twenty-four hours before or after the sound bath, and drink lots and lots of water afterwards; you get very dehydrated from a sound bath as your body tries to purge toxins and defilements from your system.