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Sound baths: what are they and what are their benefits

Who has not felt embraced by music and transported by it to a place far from everyday worries. While the music plays we feel that something good is happening inside us. It is not strange that we associate memories of magical moments with music. It is the power of sound, which can be used as a medicine.

What is a sound bath?

Many yoga rooms, spas and alternative therapy centers offer sound baths as an experience of relaxation and deep reconnection with oneself. They are performed with traditional wind and percussion instruments that cause vibrations and resonances in the body.

With your eyes closed, the sounds of gongs or singing bowls create space around you. You feel as if you were inside a cave made up of layers of sounds, some closer and others farther away. It is perceived how the vibrations arrive and resonate in the brain and the entire body.

How do you take a sound bath?

The mind and body have to remain relaxed to receive the impact of the deep, resonant vibrations of the metal or glass bowls, bells, gongs or tuning forks. It is not strange that during a sound bath emotions that had been contained come to the surface. It can therefore help to process complicated emotions.

the sound baths They can be done alone or in a group. Live sound is always more effective than a recording and, on the other hand, as in meditation, when the experience is shared it is usually deeper. The environment created by the therapist and the commitment to the other members of the group -we are not going to get up to do something else- encourage us to let ourselves be carried away and enveloped by the sounds.

Sound bath benefits

A study at the University of California at San Diego, led by Dr. Tamara Goldsby, found that a sound bath with Tibetan bowls cane reduce anxiety, fatigue and depression.

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In another investigation from the University of Foggia (Italy), the authors wondered if the low frequencies that predominate in sound baths can have a direct effect on the body. They concluded that they act on the endocrine system and the central nervous system and are capable of inducing relaxation and analgesia, so much so that they are useful in the preparation of surgical operations. His study confirmed the effect on pain perception, heart rate, blood pressure, and other vital signs. But the effects may perhaps go much further.

Sound modifies the state of consciousness

Sound has always been used to cause changes in the state of consciousness, says Dr. and researcher Elvira Brattico from Aarhus University. Harmonic-rich sound baths lead to a positive and relaxing experience because “they allow you to detach from the cognitive part of the brain.”

The sounds that create an immersive and repetitive soundscape activate the so-called «default neural network», a set of brain regions that collaborate with each other and are responsible for much of the activity carried out while the mind is at rest. This activation causes a pleasant experience that takes us away from tension, and explains why we don’t want the sound bath to end.

Expose yourself to sounds It is a meditative practice that helps to disconnect from the mind and connect with the body and the subconscious. Sound can take us a long way. While listening to Hindu mantras, Gregorian chants or those of Tibetan monks, spiritual experiences can be achieved. Sound baths can be used simply to relax and come out of a session refreshed or, in the context of a spiritual tradition, to get closer to enlightenment.

What are binaural beats?

Another technique that uses sound to induce relaxation and altered states of consciousness uses binaural beats, which are produced when a different frequency is directed into each ear through headphones.

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By receiving different frequencies, the brain creates the illusion of a third sound that we are not aware of. For example, if your left ear receives a frequency of 100 Hz and your right ear receives a frequency of 90 Hz, the brain perceives a binaural beat of 10 Hz. The interesting thing is that this beat can influence brain wave patterns that correspond to different states of mind, concentration and consciousness.

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