I recently experienced something I had previously been cynical about – sound therapy. And for those who’ve never heard of it, this healing form of sound bath doesn’t involve being bathed in water but in sound or vibrational waves. As I lay on the mat, the therapist played different notes on a series of crystal bowls that are tuned to resonate when hit with certain instruments.
Twenty-five minutes later as the therapist gently ‘woke’ me I opened my eyes. The effect was like a cross between a nap and meditation. My friend claimed I slept as I was tired, however, I felt different, less foggy than usual and she noted my eyeballs were brighter. I felt that for the first time I’d reached a meditative state.
Sound therapy works on the basis that sound can have a profound effect on our neurological and other bodily functions as they have different pulses or rhythms and energy frequencies, e.g. our heart beats to the rhythms of three. Sound therapists use sound frequencies to interact with these in order to enhance and rebalance the body’s energy whether with gongs, drums, bells, bowls, tuning forks or the human voice. See video on sound bath therapy by CBS New York:
Sound therapy is said to help not only physical illness but also to help balance the emotions and quieten a busy mind. Most people feel calm and relaxed following treatment, and also gently energised, often for several days after. Himalayan or Tibetan singing bowls have been used throughout Asia for thousands of years in prayer and meditation.
Nada Brahma: The World Is Sound is a seminal book by Joachim-Ernst Berendt and a fascinating exploration of the importance of music, sound, and vibration for spiritual development. Nada Brahma essentially means that the universe was created from the energy of sound – it’s only the sound that exists in the beginning. Through the book, jazz maestro Berendt explores the musical traditions of diverse cultures around the world, concluding that hearing is at the heart of a more spiritual experience of consciousness. His discussion involving physics, mathematics, myth, and sexuality is also practical, offering readers a variety of techniques for developing the ear as an organ of spiritual perception.
The holistic practice of repeating a mantra or the rhythmic speaking or singing of a word or sound is believed to calm the mind and clear negativity to help create tranquillity and mental purity. Chanting starts loudly, gradually becoming quieter and ends almost silently. This resonates with the energies of the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of our body, to restore inner peace and awaken our latent healing energies.
In this engaging and informative video below, spiritual guru, yogi and author Sadhguru chants the Nada Brahma chant and explains how this resounded across a beautiful glacial lake he visited at Kanti Sarovar in India and also explains its meaning:
Meanwhile, if you feel intrigued to experience it yourself, then you can come on one of the retreats offering sound healing:
Aluna Healings’ Devon retreat is surrounded by woodland, waterfalls and sacred sites in the Dartmoor countryside and holds regular Anima sound healing concerts for an “immersion into sacred space and sonic healing with beautiful, meditative music, Tibetan and Crystal Bowls and sound healing frequencies.”
Aluna Healings’ Scottish retreat offers the same sound healing concerts but in a magical venue encircled by ancient woodland overlooking Loch Torridon in Wester Ross, the Scottish Highlands.
Mellulah Yoga offers a variety of activities and workshops at a tranquil location in rural Dorset including sound healing meditation. Preparations to receive the healing vibrations of the gong begin with breath, mantra and relaxation exercises.
For a deeper exploration of sound therapy, a good place to start is the British Academy of Sound Therapy.
Wishing you good vibrations!
Jo Fernandez is a leading UK travel journalist, with much of her career spent working for the London Evening Standard where she was Travel Editor until 2015. Now a freelance travel journalist and copywriter, she lives in Essex and has one daughter. As a travel expert, she still enjoys jetting off to write travel pieces, with favourite destinations including Mexico, Croatia and, of course, Essex.