Sound baths are a relaxing and pleasant experience. Keep reading and learn how they work and how they can help you.
Sound baths have become one of the most recent trends in relaxation techniques. However, this is an ancient practice that was part of funeral rites reiki healing.
It is presumed to come from the Far East, although its exact origin has not been determined. Its practice is known to have occurred in China and India, as well as in Egypt and Greece.
By associating the principles of meditation and music therapy, including aromatherapy, with sound baths, we seek to provide a well-being experience . In this sense, various benefits are attributed to it, such as reducing stress, improving mood and increasing productivity.
In this auditory yoga , as it is also called, some instruments (bowls and gongs) are used that produce very subtle sounds. They are what promote the relaxation experience naturally.
What are sound baths and how do they work?
Sound baths are a relaxation technique or therapy that seeks to create a state of harmony and peace in the person, using various instruments. Its loudness would help eliminate dissonances in the energy fields, it is claimed.
Crystal (quartz) singing bowls, Tibetan singing bowls (also called singing bowls), bells, gongs, rattles, tuning forks, small drums, and the human voice can be used in sound baths .
Particularly, the bells and gongs, as well as the bowls, are made with an alloy of seven metals : gold, silver, iron, copper, tin, lead and mercury. Such instruments are lightly tapped, rubbed, or brushed with small mallets, producing deep, resonant vibrations.
During meditation, sound bathes the person, helping to achieve states of harmony and consciousness, producing relaxation. Obviously, the melodies used in this relaxation therapy are not like the music on the radio, which we dance to or listen to when playing sports.
In addition to the wave frequency, volume is considered essential in sound baths . In this order of ideas, they come to constitute the antithesis of agitation and bustle.
And in sound baths, any of the instruments used reach a few decibels. Barely 20 in some cases. This is nothing if you take into account that, when speaking, the human voice reaches 60.
What is the purpose of sound baths?
The use of music to relax and heal is ancient. From the Australian aborigines and the monks of Tibet, to ancient Greece, where Aristotle claimed that the sound of the flute relieved the soul of sadness.
Then, between the 19th and 20th centuries, the influence of certain wave frequencies on the body began to be investigated more formally, leading to what we know today as music therapy.
It has been known that certain sounds increase levels of consciousness and lead us to experience a better connection with ourselves and with what surrounds us. It is even stated that music stimulates neuronal activity and cognitive ability, helping to reduce pain and even calm anxiety in patients with Alzheimer’s.
As for sound baths, the principles of music therapy are applied, but they are also combined with meditation to promote pleasant or relaxing sensations. It is considered that the sounds produced by the aforementioned instruments slow down brain activity , stimulating alpha waves , related to states of calm and rest.
How are sound baths practiced?
In sound baths the person simply has to let go, relax and enjoy . The therapy practitioner facilitates the rest of the experience. Other people often also intervene, with chants, mantras or playing instruments.
First of all, it is recommended to wear light and comfortable clothing. To begin, the person must lie down on a mat, mattress or stretcher, assuming the position known as savasana in yoga.
The initial minutes are to work on the breathing technique , following the instructor’s guidelines. Then the relaxation and concentration phase begins.
Although the fundamental thing is to focus on the sound, aromatic elements, such as incense, can also be used during therapy. This varies from one establishment to another.
The meditative state is achieved naturally , thanks to vibrations and resonances. Some people may fall asleep, although relaxation is generally achieved without losing consciousness.
The experience can take between thirty minutes and an hour. It is important to note that this is not physical therapy or a massage, so it does not involve any kind of contact.
Possible benefits of sound baths
The main benefit of sound baths is to induce relaxation . Thus, for a while we stop being alert and rest, we get away from worries and everything that affects us.
And even though it is not exactly a meditation, we reach a similar state, so they are beneficial for those people who find it difficult to relax. They make us enjoy a feeling of well-being, we calm our emotions, we feel balanced, optimistic and in better spirits.
On the other hand, those who perform sound baths claim that they improve the immune, nervous and circulatory system, as well as could help with various health problems: fibromyalgia or high blood pressure.
However, there is no scientific support or basis for some of its supposed benefits. So we only emphasize those that have been proven and are the following:
- According to a 2016 study, tension and negative thoughts decreased after undergoing sound baths. In this same investigation, patients stated that, according to a pain scale, their pain was less high after said therapy.
- In another 2018 study, patients who listened to Tibetan singing bowl sounds before surgery found that their heart rate and other signs of anxiety improved.
- A 2020 review concluded that with sound baths there are improvements in distress, tension, anger, and confusion.
- In a 2016 pilot study, involving patients with metastatic cancer, Tibetan singing bowls were found to help decrease anxiety , arousal, and stress.
- Finally, a clinical study observed a reduction in heart rate, as well as general sympathetic tone and an increase in parasympathetic tone.
A natural therapy to consider
The benefits of sound baths are similar to those of traditional meditation, both for those who do it frequently and for those who cannot concentrate or relax.
In general, this is a simple therapy. All you need is comfortable clothing, a mat, and a gong or bowl (plus someone to play them). And all you have to do is listen and relax.
Sound baths are appropriate for anyone, almost without exception . There are no contraindications. It is recommended, on the other hand, to practice them once or twice a week at a time when we can forget about the outside world.
There are places that provide such services. However, currently it can also be practiced from home, through some platforms. Of course, a secluded and quiet place is required.
Now, despite all its advantages for reassuring us, they should not be considered a substitute for any treatment in the case of patients who are under medication or attending therapy.