What A Sound Bath Entails — And How It Works To Ease Stress

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sound bath

Have you ever tried meditating, doing yoga, or another therapeutic exercise to balance and heal the mind and body? While those are all great ways to relieve stress, anxiety and depression, there is another method.

And one method is the sound bath, a therapeutic and restorative process to relax your mind and body.

What is a sound bath?

A sound bath is usually a 45-to-60-minute session utilizing various instruments like Tibetan singing bowls, gongs, chimes, and tuning forks by a sound bath expert to facilitate meditation, relaxation, and healing.

This is an ancient meditative practice that dates back thousands of years. Sessions are offered in yoga studios or spaces for meditation.

The amount of power a sound bath can have on your body and mental health is kind of remarkable.

According to sound bath expert Sara Auster, a sound bath helps you relax almost into a dreamlike, meditative state.

It’s “an opportunity to unplug from external stimuli and to gain perspective on what’s going on within you. The goal of the experience is to invite deep rest and relaxation, and explore self-inquiry and self-discovery,” Auster says.

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With people like certified sound therapy practitioner Nate Martinez hosting virtual sound baths, and even TikTokers like Carissa’s Crystal Sound Bowl Healing going viral, people can turn to sound baths to improve their balance, health, and gain new perspectives.

The thought of it all might seem a bit ridiculous, but sound baths work!

What are the health benefits of a sound bath?

Studies have shown that sound baths can help people experience less tension, anger, fatigue, and depression. Sound baths are also shown to improve your mood, cognition, and boost antiviral activity.

According to the International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications, sound baths and other methods of meditation and chanting have strong physiological effects that can lower blood pressure and heart rate, cause muscles to relax, breathing to slow, and blood pressure and heart rate to lower.

Of course, a sound bath won’t cure disease, but it can help ease symptoms for many different health conditions like chronic pain, insomnia, depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

What happens during a sound bath?

As mentioned, during a sound bath session, a practitioner will have you lay down on your back in a comfortable position, asking you to focus solely on the sounds that will be made from the various instruments. All that is required is to remain present and to listen.

For 45-60 minutes, you will remain in this position as you quietly absorb and hear the sounds floating around you. Those sounds can come from a variety of instruments, including singing bowls, chimes, tuning forks, and even chants or oms.

The practitioner might also talk in a way similar to guided meditation, or have participants do breathwork.

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What do you wear to a sound bath?

Wear loose, comfortable clothing to a sound path practice, or any clothing you will be able to wear comfortably while laying down for a long period of time.

Anything from your favorite pair of yoga pants, to your oversized favorite t-shirt, soft sweater, or most comfortable sports bra — anything that will make you feel cozy and content.

How often should you do a sound bath?

While you can choose to do a sound bath every so often, there is no limit to how often you should do one. The more you attend sound baths, the more they can deepen the experience and take advantage of the benefits.

If you have chronic symptoms and believed your first sound bath session helped, you can continue to partake in more sound baths. They might not completely relieve your pain, but they will certainly help you relax, and open you up on a more emotional, physiological, and spiritual level.

Sound baths aren't free, of course. While group sessions can range from $20-30 or more, an individual sound bath experience can cost over $100.

As for doing a sound bath at home, lay down in a comfortable position and put on a video. There are many different virtual sound bath sources, like Nate Martinez, Sara Auster, YouTube, and even through the sound bath hashtag on TikTok.

How do you feel after a sound bath?

After a sound bath, you should feel less stressed, more relaxed, less anxious, and have less tension in your body.

Physiologically, you should feel like all your muscles are relaxed, your blood pressure is down, and your heart rate is reduced and calm.

You should also get a better night's rest from partaking in a sound bath, and wake up in the morning more relieved and positive.

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Megan Hatch is a former contributor to YourTango who has had bylines on Medium, Buzzfeed, MSN Canada, Patch, Voice of America, Canyon News, and others. Follow her on Instagram and on Twitter for more.