Why You Should Try a Sound Bath for Stress Relief
If your stress levels are in the red zone (because hello, 2020!), you could listen to some soothing music. You could take a nice, hot bath. Or you could try a sound bath. This chill, meditative self-care practice is so easy, and the benefits are numerous.
What is a sound bath? It’s not a bath in the “strip down and soak your bod” kind of way. Instead, a sound bath uses instruments like singing bowls, gongs, or bells to create different frequencies that can help ground you and focus your mind.
“A sound bath is a meditation,” says Scarlett de la Torre, international sound meditation facilitator and creator of Sound Meditation on Openfit. “It is an active participation in using the breath, intention, awareness, and the power of sound to build strength in the mind for better focus, relaxation, and productivity.”
So, instead of letting water wash over you, it’s the vibrations and tones that “bathe” your body (and mind).
How Do Sound Baths Help You Relax?
When you listen to the different tones and frequencies in a sound bath meditation, it activates different aspects of the body, says meditation teacher Khadaura Celesteal. (Think of how you feel when you hear your favorite music and how you can actually feel it in your body, not just hear it.) One study found that sound baths cause a reduction in blood pressure and heart rate, which are signs of relaxation.
Additionally, researchers believe sound baths induce binaural beats. This is when you hear two tones at slightly different frequencies, and your brain “hears” the frequency in the middle of the two. Binaural beats appear to produce theta waves, associated with deep relaxation.
What Do They Use to Make the Sounds in Sound Baths?
Sound baths use various instruments, including:
- crystal lyres
- frame drums
- ocean drums
- shruti boxes
- singing bowls
- sonic chalices
They’re used solo or together. “Just as a piano sounds amazing on its own, an orchestra of instruments can induce a completely different feeling when all align to create a new masterpiece,” Celesteal explains.
Scarlett de la Torre creates soothing frequencies using all of these instruments, in Openfit’s Sound Meditation series.
What’s It Like to Experience a Sound Bath?
“Every meditative sound bath is different,” Celesteal says, because of the various combinations of music and instruments used to get you into a meditative state.
You may lie down (often with mats, pillows, and blankets), sit, or even stand. The guide will draw you into the sound bath meditation by the tones of the instruments and with their voice. If they use their voice, usually they stop talking at some point and only use the instruments.
You can simply listen to the various sounds and frequencies or, if you wish, meditate as the sound “bathes” you. Either way, the experience prompts relaxation, so long as you are open to it and do not fight against it, Celesteal says.
If you choose to try a sound bath, “let go of all expectations,” Celesteal recommends. “Throw out all you know about meditation and music, which will allow new practitioners to live more in the present. I would also recommend letting go of as much stress or overthinking as possible to allow the mind to be that much more open to receive the healing of the sound bath.”
Want to sleep better, increase productivity, create balance, and reduce stress and anxiety in your everyday life? Openfit’s Sound Meditation series, led by Scarlett de la Torre, uses “singing bowls,” a harp, a didgeridoo, gongs, and other harmonic instruments. Each session lasts 10 to 45 minutes and is designed to shift your brain into a more relaxed, meditative state. Try it before bed tonight.