In the wellness industry, there is no shortage of alternative healing methods. There are acupuncturists, reiki masters, psychics, tarot card readers and crystal healers, for example. There’s also one ancient healing modality that’s become a hot commodity in recent years: Sound baths. Curious to learn more about the trendy practice, Lively chatted with Roxie Sarhangi, a Los Angeles-based certified sound healing practitioner, to learn what sound baths are all about, their benefits, what you can expect to feel, and if you’re into it, how you can give it a try for yourself.
So really, what is a sound bath?
“It is a meditative acoustic sound 'concert' that brings you to a state of deep relaxation, activating your body's natural system of self-healing,” Sarhangi says. “Sound healing slows down brain waves to a profoundly relaxing and restorative state. Participants simply lie down and experience the benefits.” Sounds pretty zen.
Different sound healing instruments can be used during a sound bath, each serving a different purpose. Sarhangi, for example, uses crystal bowls and a symphonic gong when she leads sound healing workshops. “The crystal bowls are tuned to the notes of the seven chakras,” she says. “They are also tuned to 432 hertz, the vibrational frequency of nature. The gong is used to release tension and blocks in the body, stimulating a higher functioning of the glandular and nervous system.”
What will you feel during a sound bath?
Like most things in life, what people feel and experience during a sound bath is totally different but there always seems to be a common thread: deep relaxation. “Sometimes people will have a transcendent experience,” she says. “Your theta brain waves are activated, meaning in this state you are capable of learning, healing and growing. Theta is the realm of your subconscious mind.”
What are the benefits of sound baths?
Besides next-level relaxation, which let’s be honest, we can all use, sound baths offer many benefits including help with anxiety and cultivating an overall feeling of spiritual well-being. There is actual research behind it. Sarhangi also notes Mitchell Gaynor, MD, an oncologist and assistant clinical professor at Cornell University’s Weill Medical College in New York, who used crystal bowls and singing bowls with his cancer patients. “Gaynor sees sound as part of a broader trend toward the humanization of medicine in which the whole person, not just the part that’s broken, is addressed,” she says.
Can you give yourself a sound bath or do you need to go to a sound healer?
The short answer is both. “You can play crystal bowls, singing bowls, gongs or other healing instruments and definitely feel the benefits,” Sarhangi says. “There is also a wonderful energy in experiencing sound healing in a group setting with a community of like-minded individuals.”
So, if you’re the type of person who can’t stay still for traditional meditation, a sound bath might be a more entertaining way to clear your mind, get centered, and switch on your body’s healing capabilities.