What is sound bath healing and can it relieve stress and anxiety?
Listening to pleasing sounds or repetitive tones is associated with lowering anxiety and stress, reducing blood pressure and entering a state of relaxation.
Vibrations and music have been used to soothe and heal for centuries. Listening to pleasing sounds or repetitive tones is strongly associated with lowering anxiety and stress, driving down blood pressure and entering a state of relaxation. In the modern world, sound or music therapy is being used to practice deep meditation as well. Sounds are used to facilitate meditation since the tones help in blunting out the external environment and make it easier to sink into a deeper state of consciousness.
What is sound bath healing?
A form of acoustic therapy that has gained popularity is called sound bath therapy. Sound bath therapy involves a community, with multiple people practising together. Sounds are produced from various instruments — the tone, pitch and type vary depending on the practitioner — to lull people into a meditative state. Participants are provided with mats, pillows and blankets and asked to lie in the savasana pose (flat on the back with relaxed legs and arms, palms facing upwards) and the leader (sometimes a sound therapist, though no certification is required) guides them into a relaxed state by asking them to follow the sounds. The sense of community and calm is what is supposed to provide therapeutic benefits.
Does sound bath healing work?
Even though some celebrities swear by sound bath healing and it is becoming increasingly popular in the West, there are currently no studies that have looked at sound baths per se. However, various studies have shown the calming effects of sound and music on those suffering from anxiety - the situations vary from post-surgery pain and anxiety to those who have been through a traumatic event. Further, music has also been shown to mitigate some of the symptoms of dementia and depression. Those suffering from tinnitus (a persistent ringing in the ears despite any real source of sound) have responded to music therapy even though the evidence is not as solid here.
Can you benefit from sound bath healing?
The point of sound bath therapy is to relax the group and individual. If you do end up going for a session and enjoy it, then that should be sufficient reason to continue with it. Listening to music won’t cause any adverse health effects so there is no need for apprehension on that front. In fact, any meditation practices that you respond to can be considered legitimate ways of dealing with your stress and anxiety.
There are now many apps that use sound to guide you into a meditative state as well. It all depends on individual preference though - some like the comfort of home and convenience while others are more inspired by practising mindfulness as a group.
The advantage of deep meditation techniques is their accessibility and many styles - take your time to do your research and see what works for you.
For more information, read our article on Anxiety: Types, Symptoms, Cause, Prevention and Treatment.
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