If you haven’t yet experienced your first sound bath, you might be surprised to learn that practitioners are already taking this deep meditation to the next level. Using hands-on healing, breathing techniques and crystal energy, participants are now harnessing the vibrational energy of a sound bath to intensify therapeutic treatments or even correct specific chakra imbalances.
Sound and Meditation
The use of sound to help guide meditation is an ancient practice—think of the large gongs used by monks in Eastern tradition for one example. Even the concept that our bodies vibrate at a healthy or unhealthy frequency has long been studied. You’ve probably heard the expression “Laughter is the best medicine.” When you laugh, you literally change the frequency of vibration in your body, raising it to a higher level. “It’s all about clearing the low or heavy vibrations of energy in the body and replacing them with high-vibration energy,” says Meredith Sloane, a Los Angeles–based rainbow Reiki master who combines sounds with other healing methods for her clients.
While our understanding of the power of sound and vibration on the human body and psyche is nothing new, the sound baths you may see popping up at neighborhood yoga studios are. At a sound bath, carefully tuned crystal bowls, tuning forks and gongs are played in concert while the participants lay, usually in shavasana, and let the sounds wash over them, creating a shortcut to deep meditation. Specific tones are believed to help listeners raise good vibrations and sync brainwaves. “Sounds help the left brain and right brain to synchronize and balance quickly and simultaneously. We let go of analysis (left brain) and embrace experience and feeling (right brain),” says Melinda Hess, a clairvoyant teacher/healer based in Malibu.
The result? Thirty minutes at the local sound bath every week might bring you the same relaxed balance as hours of daily meditation. Or, if you can travel to a location like the Integratron—the famous wooden dome in the Southern California desert known for its perfect acoustics and group sound bath sessions—expect fast results. Hess, who brings groups to the Integratron for sound baths, points out, “These effects are achieved much more easily in a highly resonate place such as the Integratron.” If you can’t make the pilgrimage to the “mothership” in the desert, consider combining these other methods of relaxation and healing to bring your sound bath therapy to a whole new level.
3 Ways to Step-Up a Sound Bath
The term Reiki is made up of two Japanese words, roughly translated, rei meaning “universal life,” and ki, meaning “energy.” Through the hands of a trained Reiki specialist, this practice can transfer life energy and bring deep healing through touch. Used during a sound bath, Reiki can have a profound effect. “Your body is more open to relaxation and healing,” according to Reiki Master Christine Phan, founder Cedar & Rose sprays. “Once you are in the state, Reiki light energy can easily go through your body because there is less resistance and ‘mind clutter’ in the way.”
Using very simple breathing instructions during a sound bath, such as silently repeating a personal mantra, can help to focus your mind on the sound and vibrations—and keep your meditation on track, allowing for a more meaningful experience. “The breath helps to clear and release old energy as well as distract the mind so the high-vibration energy can penetrate deeper,” adds Sloane. This focused breath work might also be helpful for those who are prone to falling asleep during a sound bath and snoring—something that can ruin the experience for other bathers. If you suspect you might drift off or snore, use a quiet chant or mantra to keep your mind awake, aware and focused on the healing at hand.
Crystals and Chakras
The ancient belief that crystals carry energy and vibrations of their own is based in science and math: The perfect geometric patterns found in crystals and precious stones reflect cycles found in nature, repeated endlessly in a meditative sequence. Using the vibrational energy of the Earth, crystals and precious stones have long been tapped for their powerful balancing and healing properties.
Because crystals are affected by the vibrational energy at a sound bath, some practitioners will invite you to bring your gems and minerals to be charged. According to Arlene Uribe, owner of Sacred Light Soundbaths and Crystals in Los Feliz, California, clients who attend her very popular weekly sound baths also place crystals on specific chakras during the therapy to open blocked energy and heal imbalances. Uribe begins each session with seven chants, one to open each chakra, followed by Reiki healing, combining several methods to complete her sound therapy.
As with any form of meditation, there is real effort involved in making the vibrational energy of a sound bath work for you, whether you choose to tap into just the simple clearing of old energy or to take the vibrational healing deeper, with Reiki, breath work, or crystals. But the end goal remains the same: To use the power of sound and vibration to let go of low energy thoughts and emotions and begin operating on a higher, more balanced level. “You start to recognize the actions that feel bad, the lower vibrational actions,” says rainbow Reiki healer Sloane. And once you recognize them, you can work on changing those patterns, not only for yourself, but also for the others in your life. “We’re like magnets,” she adds. “Wherever we are vibrating is what we attract.” The journey to higher vibrations is up to you.
C.B. Ross began her meditation practice under Tej Kaur Khalsa over 10 years ago and is now an avid sound bather. She is the author of several novels and numerous articles.
words: C.B. Ross for Bodhi Tree