Sound baths have been used for millennia across different cultures – from tribal drums, to mantra repetition, to singing soothing nursery rhymes. The age-old techniques have the same goal of self-healing and centering. Today, we look more towards gong sound baths and singing bowls for sound therapy.
How does it work?
Gongs, and singing bowls of varying size are played by gentle striking or circling their circumference for resonance. That emitted sound shifts our brainwave state by introducing ‘entrainment’. This synchronizes our fluctuating, erratic brainwaves to a stable frequency that we can attune to so our brain has no choice but to slow down, so we can find peace and balance. With the right frequency, we can entrain our brainwaves to shift from our typical beta state in normal waking consciousness, to reach theta – the meditative state. Alpha brainwaves of relaxed consciousness is a mid-way point. And some people reach delta, when they fall asleep and internal healing occurs.
How does this compare to breathing-based meditation?
Breath-regulation meditation can also help settle the restless mind. Neuroscience research has shown that meditation and other mindfulness training can cause neuroplasticity in the brain’s grey matter for better brain function. Sound baths use the same concept to influence the shift in our brains.
What happens in a Sound Bath?
Start by grounding yourself through a short “Awareness” guided-meditation. Make yourself comfortable and passively become more relaxed as you lie down with an eye mask, pillows, a blanket and slow your breath. Prepare to be soothed to grounding good vibes. If you feel like taking the mindful, participatory route, consciously be open and aware of each sound that permeates the room and enters your ears. If you fall asleep, then that’s perfectly fine and allow your body the rest it deserves.
What can I expect to experience?
There’s no set formula on how you’ll feel as the sound therapy may release what no longer serves you. Many meditators will experience physical tensions melting, while others feel warm, cold, a tingling flow of energy or deep relaxation. Sound has a way of moving through areas of blockage, either in our physical body or in our “chi”, as described in traditional Chinese medicine. In this way, we experience a holistic healing of mind and body.
What can sound baths help with?
- Anxiety and Panic Attacks
- Stress Reduction
- Depression and Trauma
- Pain Management
Why is sound important?
Just like eating healthy is key for our well-being, healthy sounds vibes are equally influential. Living in Hong Kong, the densest place on earth, sound often impacts the way we experience the world. Constant honking, a cacophony of conversations, revving bus engines and other stimulus sounds can elevate stress, lower immunity and create imbalances in our nervous system. When we’re stressed and exhausted, sounds become amplified, more annoying and feedbacks to trigger even more stress. With sound baths, we can begin to reverse the aversion as we experience a soothing symphony.
For many beginners who don’t trust they can sit in silence for 20 minutes, a sound bath seems like an easy alternative – napping in a luxurious indulgence of a sound cocoon. Whichever method you choose, our body has a way of moving towards constant centering and balance. These methods are traditional techniques to help accelerate that process, a time we can dedicate to building our own well-being.