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Why sound bath meditation could be music to your ears (& soul)

Some people like to escape in a soothing bubble bath to relax and rewind. Others prefer to “bathe” amidst the transcendental tones of the Tibetan singing bowls.

Sound bath meditation, a therapy that uses sound during meditation (rather than the verbal cues used during guided meditation), is gaining popularity around the world.

Sound bath therapy is performed in different ways, but in a typical session, participants are lying down or seated in a comfortable position, often wearing a blanket or an eye mask. A sound healer begins leading a guided breathing exercise and then introduces different sounds and frequencies like chimes, didgeridoos and gongs, in succession.

“If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.”
—Inventor & Engineer Nikola Tesla

“I always encourage sound bathers to simply listen and experience the sounds, rather than try to analyze them,” says Debbie Cutler, a spiritual holistic coach based in Houston.

So, how does the experience work? The sound caused by the vibrations of the bowls, gongs or other instruments helps stimulate the alpha and theta brain waves, which are associated with deep meditative and peaceful states and help promote healing.

The selection of bowls varies, depending upon which chakra or energy meridian system in the body participants want to focus on. For instance, if someone wants to have a grounding meditation, a healer might use bowls that resonate the C note, because it affects the lower chakra. Alternatively, bowls that resonate the F note are often selected for a more heart-opening session. “It’s common for each session to be unique, and depending on what’s happening in your life, each will have a different effect on your mindset,” Cutler says. Your body should feel altered after a session as well: Sound slows down the heart and respiratory rate, according to experts, and can help alleviate stress, insomnia and anxiety.

Benefits of sound meditation

Sound bath meditation can help:

  • Reduce feelings of anxiety and stress
  • Process grief
  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Enhance focus and concentration
  • Uplift your mood
  • Relax and clear your mind

DIY Sound Bath

Don’t have access to a class? There are some great apps that feature sound bath sequences you can listen to at home. All you have to do is lie down, close your eyes, and press “play.” One favorite: Gong Bath – Gong Sounds with Meditation Timer for Yoga Healing Therapy. Available for free from the Apple Store, the app allows you to choose a sequence of gongs to play. Simply set a timer for the suggested 40 minutes and open your mind.

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