Life is always going to be stressful, but modern life can result in more than just stress. Anxiety is a common issue, too. You likely have plenty of sources of stress and anxiety in your life. What you might be lacking is opportunities to unwind and calm down.
You probably already know the usual suggestions for dealing with stress and anxiety. Take vacations, get some exercise, and find time for yourself. While great suggestions, not everyone can get enough of them. Worse yet, some people do these things and still have anxiety.
You need and deserve something more. Sound baths might be just what you need. If you're not sure what they are, now is your chance to learn. You can also find out how sound baths can gently ease your stress and anxiety.
What Are Sound Baths?
A sound bath can involve waves of echoing, soothing sounds. These come from traditional instruments in the percussion and wind families. Research is limited, but there are indications that a sound bath can alleviate anxiety, fatigue, stress, and symptoms of depression. Sound baths might also help manage the stress and anxiety of chronic conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes.
Advocates of sound baths claim that they're able to trigger a specific phenomenon they call "sound healing". This is a home remedy steeped in thousands of years of tradition in multiple cultures. In most sound baths, you'll lie down in a reclining position after you do some meditation or yoga exercises. Then, a provider who is trained in the arts of sound bath music and techniques will utilize one or multiple instruments to soothe you with overlapping vibrations.
In theory, these vibrations put you into a deeper state of relaxation or contemplation than you would normally achieve otherwise. The goal is to minimize or even deactivate your fight-or-flight reflexes which result in a lot of stress and anxiety. Once the session is concluded, your provider should guide you back toward a state of awareness. They will then wish you well in the hours and days ahead.
Sound baths rely on particular instruments. What these instruments have in common is the ability to make deep and resonating vibrations. Bells and gongs are common examples. So, too, are crystal bowls or Tibetan singing bowls.
How Sound Baths Might Reduce Your Stress and Anxiety
There's been some scientific research already done on sound baths. However, more research studies are necessary to confirm the results and success. Still, early research has demonstrated potentially positive effects.
Mental health might the biggest area where sound baths can help. Stress, depression, and anxiety all seem to improve with sound baths. A study in 2016 measured over 60 adults about their feelings before and after sound baths. Negative moods, anxiety, and tension were usually much lower following a sound bath therapy session. Another study in 2018 tracked 60 adults. Half were exposed to sound baths. The other half was a control group. Measurable vitals, including heart rate, were lower after Tibetan singing bowl music for the test group.
Stress and anxiety can often manifest as physical pain. The 2016 study participants were asked to rank their bodily pain before and after each session on a five-point scale. The average scores after the sessions were lower than what they indicated going into a session.
The Actual Experience
One of the big benefits of sound baths is how little there is in terms of requirements. You don't need to visit a doctor's office. You don't need to be trained in yoga. In fact, you don't even need to go anywhere.
Sound baths are common workshops or classes at yoga studios and other places where alternative medicine might be common. You can wear whatever is comfortable for you. You can do it away from home as part of a group. However, you can also practice this at home and even listen to digital, recorded music so you can practice alone.
Word to the Wise
Sound baths are considered at this point to be complementary or alternative medicine. They might work for you if you do them in conjunction with conventional or mainstream treatment for stress and anxiety. However, you should not use them alone or as your only means of stress relief. They can add to the benefit of what you're doing already but should not be a replacement.
Sound baths are sessions of the desired relaxation by listening to the deep, resonating sounds of particular percussion and wind instruments. Potential benefits include less physical pain and lower levels of stress and anxiety. You can practice easily in group sessions or alone.