You might have heard of the term ‘sound bath’ and are wondering what it means. It is a common practice in the holistic world and is often provided by facilitators at yoga studios. But what is it, and what is the point of it?
According to the folk at Maloca Sound, a sound bath is a meditative healing experience in which a group of people will listen to sounds created by various instruments. It is called a sound bath because the experience allows those participating to ‘bathe’ in the vibrations and sounds around them.
What is the Purpose of a Sound Bath?
The point of a sound bath is to relax the individual taking part. A guided sound bath will allow the participants to enter a dreamlike state, in which the mind and body begin to relax, blood pressure drops, and heart rate slows. As this happens, breathing becomes deeper and the body and mind can be healed.
There are many benefits of a sound bath, especially in terms of mental and physical health. A 2020 study, published in the International Journal of Psychotherapy Practice and Research measured the effect of a 40-minute long sound bath on 105 participants. Everyone who took part showed a reductionin their negative mood and an increase on their positive mood. This was based on their PANAS (positive and negative affect scale) rating. Twenty of these participants agreed to have their heart rate monitored during the sound bath, and they all saw a decrease in heart rate.
Sound baths are said to be beneficial for the treatment of various mental and physical health conditions, including:
- PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
- ASD (autism spectrum disorders)
- anxiety disorder
- sleep disorders
- the symptoms associated with some cancers
- aches and pains.
What Happens During a Sound Bath?
Sound baths can vary in length, but most will take place over 45-60 minutes. Each of the participants will have a yoga mat and will lie down in a circle. They will be asked to close their eyes and focus on their breathing to help them relax before the facilitator begins to play a variety of instruments, such as tuning forks, singing bowls, gongs, chimes, and crystal bowls. Sometimes the facilitator will sing or chant. The various sounds and vibrations wash over the participants, encouraging a deeper state of consciousness.
Do You Need to Prepare for a Sound Bath?
Many people who have never experienced a sound bath before will be worried that they won’t know what to do or will be wondering if there is anything they need to do to prepare in advance.
The good news is that all you need to do for a sound bath is show up. You do not need to have any experience, but what you will need is an open mind. It is a good idea to check with the facilitator beforehand to see if you need to bring a yoga mat and maybe a pillow. It is important to stay hydrated and to eat something light before you go. You should also wear comfortable clothing.
Who Should Do a Sound Bath?
If you are interested in holistic therapies and like the idea of trying a meditative experience in a group setting, then a sound bath could be ideal for you. However, as mentioned, you should have an open mind but not have realistic expectations. If, on the other hand, you tend to get overwhelmed by loud, intense sounds, a sound bath might not be suitable for you. It is best to speak to your doctor beforehand if you have a mental health condition that could be triggered by the intense experience.