Sound Baths: A Guide to Meditation & Its Benefits
| LAST UPDATE 02/27/2023
In today's fast-paced world, stress and anxiety have become a part of our daily routine. People are looking for ways to unwind, relax and recharge their batteries. One such practice that is gaining popularity these days is sound baths. It is an unconventional wellness practice that uses music and instruments like gongs and bowls to provide guidance instead of guided meditation that uses speaking to guide a person through a meditative state.
A sound bath is essentially a meditation class that aims to guide you into a deep meditative state while you're enveloped in ambient sound played by instructors or sound therapists. During a session, participants stay in a seated position on comfortable cushions or lay on yoga mats with their eyes closed. The sound therapist plays one or several sounds producing instruments, such as bowls, vocals, gongs, bells, rainsticks, or tuning fork chimes to produce a frequency that can be perceived by the ears and brain. Sara Auster, a Brooklyn-based sound therapist, explains, "During a sound bath, the sound itself is 'guiding' the meditation. This sound helps facilitate awareness of the present moment." It allows you to experience meditative states and relaxation within a short period of one session.
Sound baths have numerous benefits for your physical and mental health. They help reduce pain symptoms as well as less anxiety, tension, anger, and feelings of sadness. "Music and sound impact us all the time by literally changing the rhythms of our physiology or the organ systems in our bodies," noted Dave Rabin, MD, PhD., board-certified psychiatrist and neuroscientist. Sound therapy has been shown to increase neural connectivity and improve quality of life. Integrative health research psychologist Tamara Goldsby's 2016 study found that people attending singing-bowl meditations or sound baths reported reduced pain symptoms.
Sound baths are an excellent way to manage stress levels effectively while improving your overall wellbeing. It's an ideal introduction to meditation for beginners who find it challenging to focus on guided meditation practices. If you’re interested in experiencing a sound bath or curious about using gongs to relax, give it a try! You might discover its many benefits for yourself.