Sound Bath Therapy at Apex Recovery
Sound bathing immerses the body in vibrating sound waves which help create a state of deep relaxation and meditation. This ancient practice is experiencing a renaissance, as people re-discover the power of healing sound to relax tension, bring the body into balance, and release suppressed emotions.
Having a sound bath doesn’t require any special skills or beliefs on your part. Anyone who is open to the experience can benefit from the healing frequencies used in this type of therapy. As part of a holistic approach to addiction recovery, sound bathing can help you feel better physically, mentally, and spiritually.
When Did Sound Bathing Begin?
Sound bathing can be traced back to the ancient Greeks, although many cultures have used sound as part of healing since the beginning of recorded history. Aristotle wrote about the power of music to purify the soul, and sound bathing was used in ancient Greece to treat indigestion, mental disturbances, and insomnia.
What Are the Benefits of a Sound Bath?
Many of the traditional healing arts use instruments like the human voice, Tibetan singing bowls, and Aboriginal didgeridoos to balance the chakras, expand consciousness, and promote healing. In more recent years, researchers have found that music causes measurable physical responses in the body, including:
- reducing blood pressure
- lowering heart rate
- improving metabolic processes
- lowering stress hormones including cortisol
- treating anxiety and depression
- improving markers of a healthy immune system
- reducing pain responses and enhancing relaxation
- improving cognition and memory
- increasing theta brain wave activity
- providing supportive therapy for substance use disorders1,2
How Does Sound Bathing Work?
Sound healing practitioners create waves of harmonic sound which surround the body of the participants. These ancient practices are based on vibrations and frequencies which may influence cells down to the quantum level, where all particles of matter vibrate or resonate. These therapeutic frequencies can be created using many tools designed to have different effects, most often:
- Tibetan Singing Bowls – This sound tool has its origin in ancient Tibetan Buddhism and is made using different metals. Practitioners strike the bowl with a mallet to create a vibration which resonates with your body to bring mental cleansing and body balance, and promote resiliency.
- Crystal Singing Bowls – These bowls are made of quartz crystals. Crystal singing bowls are designed to produce a unique tone to align with a specific energy center or chakra. Crystal singing bowls are often used in sound baths in conjunction with Tibetan singing bowls.
- Crystal Pyramid – Quartz can also be cut in the shape of a pyramid, which the practitioner strikes with a mallet to produce different tones from different angles. These specific vibrations from crystal pyramids help bring the body into balance and clear toxic feelings.
- Tuning Forks – These are made of steel and produce a single precise tone. The practitioner will often tap the fork and hold it near a problem area on the body, or near known pressure points.
- Chimes – Wind chimes and other tonal chimes may calm and cleanse the aura, which is the energy field that extends outside the physical body. They are most often used by practitioners in feng shui.
- Gongs – A metal gong plays soft music by being struck in a geometric pattern. Many practitioners believe that a loud sound shock from a gong can release energy blockages in the body and obsessive thoughts from the mind.
- Drums – Drums are used in many sacred rituals and provide focus for deep meditation, relaxation, or energizing therapy. Drums help recovering individuals to heal by improving focus and stimulating the body and mind.
- Digital Sounds – You can obtain some of the benefits, or get an idea of what a sound bath is like, by listening to digital recordings. Although this method is not as effective as vibrations that are produced in your physical presence, they can still help you to relax, meditate, and revive the experience of a live sound bath session.
How to Prepare for Sound Bath Therapy
At many points during your recovery journey, you may now take advantage of sound bath therapy to overcome mental obstacles, calm cravings, soothe anxiety, and gain insight into yourself and your path to healing from addiction. Here’s what to expect at your sound bath session:
- You should eat lightly, and only healthy foods, the morning of your sound bath.
- Make sure to be well hydrated by drinking plenty of water so that the vibrations can travel easily through your body.
- Wear warm, comfortable clothing that is loose, flexible, and easy to lay down in.
- Arrive 15-20 minutes early to avoid feeling rushed and allow yourself time to relax into the therapy space.
- Sessions may be in an individual or group setting, both are very effective for recovery; however, individual sessions can target your specific needs if group sessions are too distracting to allow you to fully relax.
- Most people lay down on a mat, in the position known as savasana in yoga practice; however, if your instincts or physical abilities tell you to stand or sit, then you may do that instead.
- Your session will probably begin and end with some light breathing exercises to help you fully relax and will probably last 60-90 minutes.
- The sounds produced during therapy will be intense, and you will feel them in your body as a physical sensation.
- Your response to sound bathing will be unique to you and may be different at each session.
- Responses to sound bathing may include deep relaxation or meditation, emotional release including laughing or crying, feelings of relief from physical or emotional pain, or the surfacing of emotions long held inside.
- However you respond to the sounds that resonate through your body, try to observe and accept those feelings without judgment of yourself, because there is no “right” way to feel during this powerful form of therapy.
- For the rest of the day, you should strive to remain relaxed and energized, having a light healthy meal and going to sleep early to extend the healing effects of the session.
What to Expect After a Sound Bath
The deep relaxation and release the harmonic vibrations create in your body are intended to stimulate alpha and theta brain waves, literally changing how you think and feel. While one session can be transformative, regular sound bathing sessions have even greater effects by returning the body and mind to this natural state of balance and healing.
After a sound bath you should expect to:
- Feel less physical pain and mental stress. The waves of healing sound reset your mind and spirit, bringing them in harmony with the healing vibrations around you.
- Observe physical effects including lower levels of stress hormones, blood pressure, and heart rate – a reset of the physical body which, with regular treatment, can become your new normal.
- Feel more able to focus and think clearly about where you are on the path to recovery, and what hidden feelings or past trauma may be holding you back.
- Experience increased energy and confidence in your ability to feel well again without drugs or alcohol.
- Find a sense of inner peace by reconnecting with yourself and releasing pent-up or long-hidden emotions that may have fueled your addiction and prevented you from enjoying life.
Extending the Benefits with a Home Sound Bath
Sound healing practitioners are trained in how to use the tools and techniques of sound bathing, but you can experience and extend the benefits of a sound bath at home with some preparation and equipment. As a daily practice, sound bathing at home can help keep your mind, body, and spirit in that healthy and invigorated state you achieved at your professional sound bath.
For a home sound bath, you would most likely use singing bowls or a high-quality digital recording. Having the singing bowls physically present near you is very effective but requires you to play the instrument and meditate in the spaces between. To bring this experience to your everyday life, try these home sound bathing techniques:
- Eliminate negative energy from the space you will use by first clearing your own mind, then striking the singing bowl as you walk around the room or area, letting the vibrations clear the air and cleanse the objects. You might light a candle at the end of this ritual.
- Position yourself comfortably on a mat or soft surface and surround yourself with your singing bowls. Even one is enough for home use, but a small set will give you more tones to use as you find the ones that resonate with you best.
- Focus your mind on your intentions, which are positive thoughts on peace, hope, love, and healing, as you strike the bowls one or two at a time, and bathe in the vibrations you create. Breathe deeply and let your body find harmony with the sound.
- Remember that you may feel strong emotions and to let these flow through you without resistance or judgment, since this is one of the most impactful benefits of sound therapy. Do not stop your session if you feel emotional – continue with your bowls until those feelings are washed clean.
- You may find yourself humming or singing along with the bowls as part of your meditation, and you should follow your instincts to reach your intentions of healing.
- When you feel the session is complete, relax and practice deep breathing in a resting position, focusing on gratitude for the healing experience and the insights you gained.
Sound Bathing as Part of Recovery
When a recovery center brings the best of all worlds to your treatment program, your life can be healed more effectively. No single treatment can cure addiction, but there exists a combination of counseling, medication, compassion, understanding, and healing therapies that will do more than restore what has been damaged by addiction.
True rehabilitation is life change, an empowering choice to move beyond what you have experienced in the past and embrace a new way of thinking about yourself and the world around you. This path is different for everyone, but you or your loved one can find the right combination of therapies to not only restore but to move beyond the obstacles and past trauma that may have played into your substance use.
Sound bathing is now available at Apex Recovery as part of an integrated and comprehensive program designed around the individual facing the challenge of addiction. Incorporating nutrition, medication, exercise, and a broad range of holistic and experiential therapies, our inpatient and outpatient programs will provide the healing environment that leads to a better life than you ever thought possible. Reach out to us today to talk about the right treatment plan for you or your loved one.