The warm tone of a singing bowl, the chimes of a tuning fork and gentle rattle from a shaker create soothing waves of sound to ease the mind and body.
Danielle Hall immersed her client in what’s called a “sound bath.”
“You show up, lay down, close your eyes, and be open to where you’re hearing the sounds in the room and where you’re feeling the sounds in your body,” the Atlanta-based sound healing practitioner told CNN.
“Sound and vibration kind of act like a butterfly net capturing all of that mind chatter that we’re constantly bombarded with throughout the day.”
Over the last few years, an increasing number of people have turned to the ancient technique to reduce stress, depression, and anxiety.
The gentle sounds and vibrations guide listeners into a state of deep rest known as the “relaxation response.”
“That’s a counter to the body’s fight or flight response,” explained research psychologist Tamara Goldsby from the University of California, San Diego.
Goldsby said when bodies are in fight or flight, blood pressure goes up, heart rate goes up, and healing stops.
“In the relaxation response, the body just chills, and that seems to happen as a regular kind of situation in the sound baths,” explained Goldsby.
In a clinical study, Goldsby examined the effects of sound meditation on mood, anxiety, physical pain and spiritual well-being. Participants reported significant reductions in tension, anger, fatigue and depressed mood.
People with epilepsy or extreme sound sensitivity should avoid sound bathing. Pregnant women should consult their doctors before participating.
Research on the soothing power of music is well documented, but research on this specific form of sound meditation is still in its infancy.
“We plan to take this much further and study physiological responses,” said Goldsby.
Danielle Hall sees additional benefits to sound bathing, such as gaining a sense of community.
“You gain this community conversation around wellness and what means to be healthy, connected, and empowered.”