You know the feeling: stress and anxiety have taken hold and your brain needs soothing. You can try breathing exercises and other relaxation techniques, but maybe the only thing that will really help is a nice bath. But did you know there’s a relaxing bath you can take that doesn’t even require getting wet?
It’s called a sound bath.
What is a sound bath, and what does it entail? Read here to learn all about sound therapy, how to do it, and how you can relax with soothing sounds.
The Immersive Experience Of A Sound Bath: Vibrational Sound Therapy
The idea of a sound bath may seem strange, but once you’ve experienced it, you’ll find yourself carving out time every so often to make it happen. Some say a sound bath gives them as much relaxation as getting a massage or a session of reiki. It is a chance to turn your brain off and immerse yourself in the meditative singing of sound waves.
The experience is described as similar to a shavasana pose in yoga. And if you find the right sound therapist, it won’t be long before you enjoy the meditative state of letting pure sound and vibration wash over you.
But what is a sound bath?
Imagine lying in a bath, but instead of tepid water, your body is enveloped by pure sound. This is a profound relaxation technique in which you’re listening to sound waves created by vocal toning, singing bowls, gongs, and other vibrations and frequencies.
These sounds are meant to lure you into a meditative state through a beautiful, totally immersive sensory experience.1
Meditation With Soothing Sounds: Relaxing Frequencies And Vibrations
Nobody quite knows where and when sound baths began, but sound bath meditation has been around for centuries. The goal is the same across many cultures — to bring you to a feeling of peace and balance. If you practice yoga, you’ve likely taken Shavasana to traditional music. Well, this is a kind of sound bath.
For example, in yoga Nidra, the goal is to achieve a state where your body is entirely relaxed. The yoga practitioner can become aware of their inner world by following verbal instructions.2Similarly, a sound bath is guided. The sound therapist may speak to instruct your mind to let go as they play the gongs and singing bowls.
While there are variations, the primary notion is simple:
- Simply lie on the floor (on a mat, preferably with a pillow under your head and maybe another pillow under your knees for comfort) and as the sound therapist plays, let the vibrations and frequencies wash over your body.
Many sound bath devotees say they feel so refreshed after a “bath.” They may return to the real world with fewer feelings of stress and anxiety.3
Can Different Sound Waves Affect Your Mind And Brain Waves?
Why might sound waves, vibrations, and frequencies have a positive impact on your mind and body? Some researchers think the sound frequencies inspire relaxation and help reduce anxiety by coaxing the brain into brainwave states of deep relaxation.4
Researchers also propose possible effects on mood and even bodily changes when people are exposed to the sounds of singing bowls.
One study even explored the effect bathing in sound had on participants’ blood pressure. The researchers studied this by playing Tibetan singing bowls (or Himalayan singing bowls) and surprisingly recorded a decrease in blood pressure and heart rate.5
It may seem odd, but ultrasound therapy (high-frequency waves), has been employed by physiotherapists and chiropractors alike. Through ultrasound therapy, they believe they can support circulation to damaged tissue.6
Potential Sound Bath Benefits: Relaxation, Reducing Stress, And Balancing Yourself
One of the most relaxing components of sound bath meditation is that you don’t need to be an expert to experience the benefits. All you’ve got to do is go to a session.
Once you arrive, you’ll be asked to get into a comfortable position and the sound waves take care of the rest. (Get it, the “rest”?) And as long as you are open to hearing and healing, your mind and body could experience the benefits.
And if you feel like you might not get to relax because of the light, or because there are others around you, just take along an eye mask or eye pillow. You could even bring a blanket. Before you know it, you’ll forget you’re not alone.
Is Purposeful Sound Better Than The Sound Of Silence?
Sound therapy can be calming, refreshing, and educational. If you’re looking to do something for yourself that will make you feel good, but you don’t quite have the energy for a workout — a sound bath might just be the thing for you. Check the internet to see if there’s a reputable meditation studio in your neighborhood.
As an adult, it’s hard to carve out time for yourself to relax. Society pressures you to go, go, go and be productive all the time.
But, remember as a preschooler you’d go, go go all morning and then your teachers would lay out mats for nap time? So think of sound bathing as adult nap time!
Everybody needs a chance to quiet their minds and reset to achieve wellness. And sound baths are just one tool to try to give yourself the time and space you need for a little self-care… and it just might be the type of deep relaxation you’ve been looking for.