How Sound Baths Can Reduce Stress and Improve Sleep
Not getting enough good sleep each night can aggravate stress levels, and feeling stressed can make it impossible to get enough quality shut-eye. It can feel like a seemingly infinite and unbreakable cycle, but if there was something that could address both things, wouldn't you want to try it? That's where the ancient practice of sound healing comes in.
Keep reading to find out how sound healing can reduce stress and improve sleep, and why sound bathing is the next wellness technique to add to your bedtime routine.
What is sound healing?
The practice of sound healing uses vibrations that help the mind and body to relax. These vibrations can be created vocally or with instruments, such as gongs, Tibetan singing bowls and tuning forks. The aim is to apply specific vibrations to different parts of the body to help release tension and energy in a similar way to acupuncture, only instead of needles it's the sound frequencies doing point simulation.
What are the origins of sound healing?
Like many "alternative" therapeutic techniques from both Indigenous and ancient cultures, sound healing has experienced growing popularity in recent times—a sign that people are actively looking toward unconventional remedies to support their overall wellbeing.
Sound and music has been used to treat ailments for millennia, from the ancient Greeks, who used sound vibration to aid digestion, induce sleep and treat mental illness, to didgeridoo sound healing. According to NITV, a 2010 study by the University of Southern Queensland found that didgeridoo playing and singing helped support Aboriginal men with asthma.
What are the possible benefits of sound healing?
Proponents of sound healing believe the practice can help to lower blood pressure, improve circulation and reduce respiratory rates which can help to relieve stress, anxiety and even insomnia.
More broadly, music has been used in many cultures therapeutically, in ancient Greece to treat mental disorders, to boost morale in military troops, and to help people work faster and more productively, according to Healthline.
While the scientific community believes there have not been enough large-scale clinical studies into the health benefits of sound healing, some studies have pointed to the benefits of sound-focussed meditation on overall wellbeing. In any case, the popularity of "alternative" therapies only seems to be growing in recent years, especially among millennials and Gen Zers.
How to have a sound bath at home
Sound baths are a form of sound healing meditation, which immerses you in an ambient sound played by sound therapists. Participants might lay on their backs under heavy blankets or stay seated on comfortable cushions. During a sound bath, you are guided into a deep meditative state, with all physical and ideally mental distractions tuned out.
To try having a sound bath at home, you can use your own Tibetan singing bowls or simply press play on a virtual sound bath meditation video on YouTube. Here is one way to do it, adapted from here.
1. Clear negative energy from the room: hold a singing bowl in one hand and use your other hand to strike the mallet and move around the house.
2. Get comfortable: light a candle or some incense, and then sit upright on a comfortable cushion.
3. If you are using your own singing bowl, place your hands on the bowl and set your intentions. Use this time to connect with the sound that resonates from the bowl. If you are using a virtual sound bath, simply close your eyes and focus on your intentions.
4. Breathe deeply and let your intentions guide you.
Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.