What Is A Sound Bath?
A sound bath is a meditation experience in which the attendees are bathed in sound waves. The various sources that include gongs, singing bowls, chimes, rattles, tuning forks, and even human voice are used to produce waves.
Sound bath might seem like a new age concept but have its deep roots in cultures across the world. It can be as simple as just chanting ‘OM’ in a yoga session or going through an experience with a sound practitioner.
The music used in a sound bath is not of a catchy rhythm or melody that is experienced in a rock concert or symphony. Instead, it is from carefully selected instruments and voice with a notable resonance and overtones.
A study shows waves of soothing, echoing sound from traditional wind and instruments may help release stress, fatigue and depression.(1)
Sound bath cannot be considered as a replacement for any proven treatment but can be considered as a complementary option.
How Does Sound Bath Work?
Sound bath can trigger a phenomenon known as sound healing that has been used as a home remedy by various cultures for thousands of years.
It involves lying down in a reclining position after yoga or meditation exercises. The provider trained in sound bath musical techniques will then, by using several instruments create soothing, overlapping vibrations.
These vibrations lead the individual into a state of relaxation. It shuts off the body’s fight-or-flight reflex.(2)
As the session ends, the provider guides the person back to a feeling of awareness before concluding the sound bath session.
What Instruments Are Used In A Sound Bath?
Instruments that make deep, resonating vibrations such as crystal bowls, bells, gongs, and Tibetan singing bowls are the popular instruments used in sound baths.
Benefits of a Sound Bath
A few types of research have been done on sound baths and it is found that they have positive effects on mental and physical pain.
Mental Health Benefits
Sound bath can be used to treat mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.
A study done on 62 adults studied their feeling before and after a sound bath. It was found that tension, anxiety and negative moods significantly decreased after the therapy.(3)
Another study was done on 60 participants. 30 of them were asked to listen to the music of Tibetan singing bowls before getting surgery and 30 were given headphones with no music. It was found that heart rate and other vitals that indicate anxiety improved in those who listened to music.(4)
A research review done in 2020 analyzed four studies and found that after listening to Tibetan music bowls distressed mood, tension, anxiety, and confusion improved in the participants.(5)
Improvement in Physical Pain
The participants in the 2016 study were asked to rank pain on a scale from 1 to 5. The participants ranked their pain higher before than after taking a sound bath.(3)
In the 2020 review, physical symptoms such as blood pressure and heart rate also improved.(5)
How Is Sound Bath Different From Music Therapy?
Sound therapy and music therapy are very different.
A sound bath is done along with yoga or guided meditation. Instruments that produce deep, overlapping vibrations are used. It is done under a provider trained in a sound bath.
It is done to manage anxiety, soothe the nervous system, and to block the ideas and thoughts out of the consciousness as a person connects with the body.
Music therapy is a therapy done with music. It is administered by a trained music therapist. This therapy involves practicing an instrument, listening to a variety of music. It also uses music as a way to process complicated and difficult emotions.
A sound bath is a meditative process and is safe for most people. It is an easier process than other meditative practices as it does not require discipline and patience. It is beneficial in mental and physical aspects but cannot be a replacement for any medication and therapy.