What is a Sound Bath?

So what the heck is a sound bath?

Okay First! I promise there is no water involved!

Long story short: Sound baths use special sound vibrations and frequencies that get us to deep states of meditation. It’s basically the cheater’s way to meditate but with all the amazing benefits (better mood, better focus, improved sleep, and all the good stuff). Sounds from specially tuned crystal bowls and gongs act on our bodies and brains in a way that helps us get to a state of calm and deep relaxation. Side effects include: better sleep and mood, extreme relaxation, space travel, deepened connection to self, and total bliss.

You can expect to lay down comfortably under a blanket or two, surrounded by crystals, do some light breathing techniques, experience aromatherapy, close your eyes, and float away into a deep space. During this time, it’s normal to feel heat energy moving around your body (kind of like acupuncture if you’ve ever experienced that), some tingling is normal, emotions may come up for you, and of course, we’ve got some snores in the room too - you may fall asleep!

The Science and the Woo

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So sound healing is an ancient art - used across nearly every culture that you can imagine. We have used sounds (voice, drums, music) to evoke emotions, in celebrations, in mourning, to honor, to create, and so much more. It’s always been a tool for us to feel into something beyond what we have a way to express.

Now the way that we practice this ancient modality is with a mix within the hyper science and the hyper WooOoO. Sound baths definitely fall on all sides of that spectrum and how we craft it together has to do with deeper understanding of what these sounds are actually doing.

You see, sounds interact with us in a very special way. Sound vibrations act on the water of our body and impact us at the cellular level. If you think about the fact that we’re made of 70% or more water (depending on who you ask), it’s a huge deal what happens to the water in our body. Dr. Maruso Emoto did incredible studies playing different frequencies to water molecules, flash freezing them, and noticing the molecular differences between certain frequencies. Some frequencies produced clear geometric shapes, while others were dissonant. So cool! But why does that matter?

It matters because the root of many diseases are from the inflammation of cells, where the word disease literally means dis-ease (not in ease). When cells, at the molecular level, become inflamed, we aren’t able to produce, distribute, and/or absorb important chemicals that we need for basic things in life, like our happiness chemicals! Our bodies aren’t in optimum production and function. And the sounds that we’re exposed, really has a lot of to with this process.

Speaking of frequencies, particular frequencies get our brain waves into something called alpha and theta states. These states can be reached with breathwork and other forms of meditation as well. Imagine having an active mind and as soon as you go to sit down to “meditate”, 10 different things pop into your head, and all of a sudden you remember your list of things to do, and why did you say that thing that one time…? Yep. That’s very normal. But with these sounds, we’re able to ask our brains to stop thinking for a moment so we can experience this state of calm.

Now, our bodies want to be vibrating at an equilibrium level. But the day-to-day can really throw us off course. Things like our diet, mood, exercise, health, stress levels, and so much more impact how our bodies are functioning, particularly our nervous system. The vibrations and frequencies help signal the body to pick up the slack if it’s vibrating too slow or asks it to slow down it it’s vibrating too fast.

All at the same time, your body’s natural electromagnetic field (or aura) is continuously adapting to it’s environment. You know when you have socks on and run around on carpet? Then you take a ballon to your hair and it does crazy things (no? look up a video). That’s static. Static at its core is electricity. That same electricity, or electromagnetic field around your body constantly interacts with your surroundings.

Now on the WooOooOo:

You see, we have an emotional body. There’s a ton of non-measurable things going on that we can’t really put our finger on.

What we do know, is that we have language in our everyday world to describe the fact that we hold emotions in our body. We say things like “burden on our back, weight on our shoulders, heaviness in our hearts, feeling in my gut, butterflies in my stomach” and so forth. We also have some temperature clues, “hot headed, burning with rage, heated with anger, cold shoulder, cold feet, etc.”.We have some clue that universally, not just in the English language, we experience emotions physiologically. What can happen is that these emotions can GET STUCK. You ever have that really tough conversation - the one you’ve been dreading - and as soon at it’s over, you feel friggin relief! You feel lighter and freer, and that something has been lifted off of your shoulders! That’s exactly how we carry emotions in our body. EMOTION, literally means energy in motion (e-motion), and sometimes, through a combination of what we’re experiencing in life, our health habits, emotional wellness, and our environment, those emotions can get stagnant and stuck.

These stuck emotions may manifest as disease, another word that means dis-ease, or not in ease, start to inflame cells, and cause our bodies to be in unoptimized states.

Additionally, as these start to release from the body with the help of the sound frequencies, there maybe be old emotions that pop back up. The channels within the body (chakras, meridians, nervous system) start to clear up, open, and align, so there maybe be some spiritual experiences in there as well.

The instruments:

Common instruments used in a sound bath are 432 hz and 528 hz Crystal Quartz singing bowls, gongs that are attuned to the planets (meaning that the exact frequency of a certain planet can be measured and produced in a gong)

Sounds of nature are intertwined all through the sound baths. Research on nature, not just simply begin out in nature, but the visceral experience of sounds and texture of nature can have many implications on our mood, sleeps, and happiness. The nostalgic memories rooted in nature bring back positive thought loops as well.

What to expect in a sound bath:

I almost don’t want to really tell you, so you can come with an absolute open mind!
But, here is what you expect. You’ll arrive and get cozy on your yoga mat (or sleeping bag for expert sound bathers), bring a pillow if you like to prop your head, some water if you’d like, a blanket, and wear comfortable clothing.

We’ll give an intro about the sounds, the instruments in use, what to expect, and all that jazz. Part of what you’ll hear is that you may feel some energy shifting around in your body, some emotions that come up, some light tingling; you may see colors or have visions as well.

There’s no way to tell what your specific experience will be. The frequencies are interacting with how you' are that day and what is happening in both your emotional and physical body, so it’s common for each person’s experience to be unique.

You may fall asleep! If you snore, I take that as a compliment! You may feel you travelled to another planet! You may also have a hard time surrendering.

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There will be light aroma therapy - rose water, essential oils, and/or sage. All of these enhances the total experience.

So what do you think? Have you tried a sound bath yet?

Here’s a free sound bath for you to listen to from the comfort of your own space. Listening with headphones recommended! Check out upcoming events here. And be sure to follow us on: Instagram.

Update May 2019

Hey all, wanted to give you an update of some things going on in the background.

This past week, we’re grateful to have received two grants from the State of California to utilize sound meditation as a mental health tool in the upcoming weeks. There’s a bigger eye on how impacting this work can be outside of yoga studios. 

We’re also getting support from researchers who are looking at these tools as real and applicable mental wellbeing tools (yay!) and will be a driving force in creating that dialogue. Our work in the community women’s shelters, substance recovery groups, veteran legions, and high stress/anxiety groups is also powerful.

Sharing this at several health-tech minded conferences has informed how sound meditation is navigating within the mainstream wellness space to life altering tools. 

This type of work falls on a wide spectrum of the hyper-science and the hyper-woo, and we’re thrilled to be bridging that gap to make sound meditation as accessible as possible for mental, physical, and spiritual wellness. 

Catch you soon.