If you've never attended one and are not sure what it's all about, read further...
In 2015, at the 18 various Crystal Bowl Temples around the world, including locations in Tokyo, Amsterdam and Barcelona, certified sound alchemists provide Vibrational Sound Healing, concerts and meditation workshops for customers looking for sound therapy. Shared Office Spaces and Corporates in big cities start to offer this service to their employees and co-workers for its proven benefits when it comes to stress, anxiety & immunity. In a nutshell, you'll probably find a Sound Bath somewhere close to you and you might not know what to expect or why you should try it...
Opened Mind vs. Expectations
A Sound bath lasts usually 45 minutes to an hour. The main instruments used are the Gongs, the Tibetan Bowls, Cristal Bowls, as well as other small instruments such as bells, chimes, rattles and so forth.
During a sound bath, you lie down (usually on your yoga mat or mat provided) and keep your eyes closed. Do not be sceptical but let what needs to happen, happen. This is quite crucial. If you resist what's happening or (legitimately) question the process, you'll limit the beneficial effects of the experience. `Coming with an opened mind is key.
As you let go, the sounds start to overlap and fill the room. Soon enough your brain is no longer able to follow or identify each sound, this is when the brain lets go and slows down its electrical impulses (brain waves) plunging you into a Theta State. The Theta state is that fine line between sleeping and being aware. It's identical to the moment when you fall asleep, get disturbed by a noise and for a second, wonder if you are awake or asleep.
This is the state in which the brain is the most receptive to learning and healing. There's a feeling of timelessness and spacelessness that dominates and allows for healing.
Benefits and effects?
People reports seeing colours, images, being brought back to old memories, coming to terms with emotions, dreaming. The vibrations of the sounds are felt physically while the combination of different instruments & frequencies keep the mind at bay: this what we call "passive meditation". Through the scientific phenomena of resonance and entrainment, changes happen at molecular level, cells are re-arranged, disposed of or regenerated. This has been proven by modern sciences (click for information on How Sound Healing Works).
During the Sound bath, people sometimes report feeling agitated or disturbed. Some people cry or feel uncomfortable. This is most likely a sign of your healing occurring: "Healing is when it goes bad before it gets better".
It might be that your brain is indeed "resisting" the experience because it's unknown. Best in this case, is to remain concentrated on your breathing to come back to a safe and peaceful place, accepting what is happening inside. In 99% of cases, it's our own resistance that brings this un-ease. The idea is to let the tension complete its cycle without judging or getting involved. Just let happen what needs to.
It is said that he healing occur in Silence, so at the end of the experience don’t rush out or stand too quickly. Stay with the feeling: by the end it will be something like calmness, quietness, peacefulness. You might have the feeling you are floating.
The benefits are many and the most obvious one is that the sounds will trigger your para-sympathetic nervous system (sometimes called the rest-and-digest system), removing you from the "fight-or-flight" state in which we spend most of our adult-life in an over-stimulating urban life. Activating the para-sympathetic system conserves energy as it slows the heart rate, increases and regulates the intestinal and hormonal glands' activity, and relaxes sphincter muscles in the gastrointestinal tract.
The benefits of removing yourself from everyday stress and anxiety means you do not get sick. As simple as that. 90% (if not more) of our illnesses are indeed due to the very demanding and stressful life-style we subject ourselves to.
Your Intention: As for many healing modalities, feeling safe and putting an intention in the healing is a good idea. An intention is anything that matters to you: an illness, a fear you no longer want to experience, your kids' exams, a worry you can no longer be a victim of, a pattern or addiction you wish to see dissolve. Whatever is a concern can be turned into an intention. Say your intention before the start of the Sound Bath and let the magic happen.
As a conclusion, if you attend with an opened mind, let yourself be with the experience, you might find sensations and feelings of wholeness you haven’t often experienced. Always put an intention in your Sound healing before the start: this will allow you to heal or come to term with what your problem is.
Contra-indications: It's better to mention any of the following conditions to the Sound Bath performer:
Tinnitus: even though some specific Sound healing techniques are capable of curing tinnitus, a sound bath and its loud Gongs might trigger discomfort in people with this condition.
Pregnancy: there is no issue with attending a sound bath when pregnant, but some Sound Healers are worry when it comes to pregnant ladies in their first 3 months or closer to their due date.
Pacemaker and metal prosthetics: again there is nothing to prove that these are problematic but it's again better to let know your sound healer if you have any of these conditions.
Nota Bene: It is recommended to bring socks, a jumper, a blanket and a mat (if not provided), because your body temperature will decrease as the heart rate slows. Use the bathroom before the start of the event and switch off your phone. If you need to stand up, leave or use the bathroom, do so aware the tiniest noise might disturb your neighbours. If you feel uncomfortable turn around without giving it any thought and do not put your head close the gongs if you have any of the conditions mentioned above. Better to lie in the back rows in these cases.
Wishing you a beautiful first time!🙏