What is a Sound Bath?
Sound Bath has long been practiced as a healing technique to manage a wide range of afflictions, whether in the mind, body or soul. The basis of this technique is the understanding that all forms of matter - including cells of our physical body - vibrate at different frequencies. Factors such as stress, sickness or depression causes cells and organs within our body to vibrate at non-optimal frequencies. Since sounds come at different frequencies and we too emit our own waves, healing with sound happens by matching frequencies of different sounds to those that are necessary and conducive to healing and relaxation in the person.
Healing with sound can improve or cure many ailments including, but not limited to:
Psychological/Psychiatric and behavioural disorders including autism, depression, learning disabilities, and developmental troubles
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Mood swings, or negative emotions, such as sadness, aggravation, anger, self-pity, and heartbreak.
It can also bring about:
Clarity and balance
Improved memory and concentration
Improved sleep (both in quality and quantity)
A stronger immune system
Heightened awareness, both of the self and the environment
Here at HOA, we use the following instruments for therapeutic purposes: the Gong, Crystal singing bowl, Didgeridoo, Handpan and RAV vast. Each of these instruments sound vastly different but they serve a similar purpose. Save for the RAV, all the other instruments enhance the meditation experience via a phenomena called “brainwave entrainment”, which is a method of stimulating the brain into entering a specific state by using (in this case) a pulsing sound, but light or an electromagnetic field can also be used to achieve a similar outcome. The pulses elicit the brain’s “frequency following” response, encouraging the brainwaves to align to the frequency of a given beat. This mechanism is pretty handy for leading your mind into states that might otherwise be difficult to achieve, such as trance, enhanced focus, induced sleep or meditation.
Read on to find out more about the sound therapy instruments that we use at HOA!
The gong traces its origins in Java, with the earliest record of the gong dating back to 4,000 B.C! This instrument is said to alleviate physical, emotional and spiritual pain. The gong works on the meridians of the body by stimulating circulation and reducing tension, thus creating more flow and vitality in the body. The reverberations of the gong reorganises emotional energy, heals the nervous system and opens up portals where trauma is stored, which is why many report feeling emotionally transformed after a gong bath. The gong can also help with drug abuse and any form of addiction, as it facilitates an experience of release. On a physiological level, the gong stimulates the endocrine system to a higher level of function, which brings us relaxation, improved health and a better mood. The effects of the gong on the mind allows subconscious blocks to dissolve, thus creating space to receive wisdom and insight from our spiritual guides. When we are healthy, happy and deeply relaxed, we are better able to connect with our divine purpose - our Sat Nam!
CRYSTAL SINGING BOWL
Dating back as far as the 12th century, singing bowls have been used throughout Asia for meditation, ritual and ceremonial purposes, especially in the Buddhist tradition. When used in sound therapy, these bowls are believed to calm and repair the mind as well as reduce stress and anxiety, lower blood pressure, improve breathing and circulation, alleviates aches and pain, strengthen the immune system and improve mood.
Here at HOA, we favour Crystal bowls instead of traditional metal Tibetan bowls, for many reasons. Our bodies are better primed to receive the sound that crystal bowls make because we are comprised mostly of water, and because our bones have a crystalline structure that creates an entrainment between sound and body. The tones that each bowl carry impact us in specific ways; Different tones activate different chakras, organs or organ systems. For example, C sharp activates the pineal gland, the integration of the third eye and the crown chakra and the adrenal system. Similarly, the mineral that the bowl is made of will cause different effects on us. An amethyst bowl activates the crown chakra while a rose quartz one activates the heart. Crystal bowl therapy can thus help to balance the chakras and re-energise the auric field, making healing possible on all levels.
Didgeridoos originated in the Northern Territory of Australia as an indigenous and spiritual instrument, and it is now widely considered to be the world’s oldest musical instrument! Its original purposes are believed to be ceremonial to the Aboriginal societies. The ancient vibrations that come through the didgeridoo can help listeners to enter deep states of relaxation and facilitate meditation. This instrument produces a low frequency sound that have been reported to provide relief to a wide range of joint, muscular and skeletal related pain as well as promote accelerated healing in various forms of bone trauma. It can also be used safely post-operation on people who have received metal or non-metal implants. The didgeridoo can also clear emotional and energetic stagnation, especially when combined with subtle energy medicine practices such as Ayurveda or Traditional Chinese Medicine. Players of this instrument also reap benefits such as reduced snoring and sleep apnea, improved asthma symptoms and strengthening of muscles of the upper airway.
The RAV vast is perhaps the most musical of all the instruments we use at HOA, and definitely the most pleasing to the ears. Considered the youngest of the sound healing instruments, the RAV and its predecessors (such as the hang drum and handpan) have only been around for about 17 years. They are basically an inverted steel drum, only harmonic and far more resonant. The RAV works very much like a crystal bowl in a way that intersects with the listener’s auric field to heal energetically and spiritually. The unique tones of the RAV affect us on a vibrational level to facilitate total relaxation of the body and mind, which makes its sound conducive for meditation and concentration. Such tones have also been shown to affect children with autism in a vastly healing manner!
Last but not least, even though it’s quite a stretch to call it an instrument, the voice is also used for its healing capacity in the form of mantras. Mantra-chanting is an ancient practice that quickly soothes the nerves and connects us to the divine, while purifying both the heart and the mind. There are many different mantras suited for every intention imaginable. For more about mantras, stay tuned next week as this topic deserves a whole blog post of its own!