A healing modality that has begun to take off in the West in recent year is “sound healing,” involving the use of various musical tones and sound frequencies produced to induce relaxation.
The sound healing environment is created through the form of a sound meditation, often called a “sound bath.” During a sound bath, participants sit or lay down on the floor while a facilitator uses various instruments -- Tibetan singing bowls, bells, and even gongs -- to produce a meditative experience.
There is a growing body of research showing that musical vibration can reduce the presence of stress hormones in the body, which can have a positive impact on a range of physical and emotional challenges. One study found that even beneficial than listening to sound is creating sound or making music in some form, such as drumming, singing, or chanting.
According to Dr. Mitchell Gaynor, author of The Healing Power of Sound: Recovery from Life-Threatening Illness using Sound, Voice, and Music, "Sound enters the healing equation from several directions: It may alter cellular functions through energetic effects; it may entrain biological systems to function more homeostatically; it may calm the mind and therefore the body; or it may have emotional effects, which influence neurotransmitters and neuropeptides, which in turn help to regulate the immune system--the healer within."
If you’re interested in learning more or in experiencing the effects of a sound bath yourself, here are some options for you to explore. Enjoy the positive vibrations!
- What to know about ‘sound baths,’ an ancient wellness practice gaining steam in the West (The Washington Post)
- The science behind healing with sound (Spirituality & Health Magazine)
- Go with the flow in a meditative sound bath (San Francisco Chronicle)
- Turns out “sound healing” can be actually, well, healing (Qz.com)
Resources to locate a sound bath near you
- Where to Take a Sound Bath in the Bay Area (7x7.com, from April 2017 - double-check listings to confirm).
- Oakland Sound Healing Group (Meetup.com)
Experience a sound bath free online (listen with headphones on for best results)