Immerse in the Healing Power of Sound Therapy for Relaxation
A sound therapy retreat is an experience like no other. Soothe your soul and relax your mind with the power of music, from gongs to singing bowls to drums and bells.
The resonance and vibrations felt during a sound therapy session have the power to help release tension and blocks in the body, allowing you to connect with your life force and truly be your best authentic, loving self.
This practise began in ancient Tibetan and Himalayan cultures, where Tibetan singing bowls were struck during spiritual and healing ceremonies. Further studies into sound therapy continued in the mid 20th Century in the 1960s, when an English osteopath named Sir Peter Guy Manners conducted research into the effectiveness of audible voice frequency in several different treatments. He believed that his sound healing methods stimulated the body’s natural healing abilities, with the technique used to treat chronic inflammation and arthritis with varying degrees of effectiveness.
Today, sound therapy has become in vogue again. The use of Tibetan singing bowls has increased, with sound healing and therapy workshops and courses gaining popularity too.
“The benefits of sound therapy are almost limitless,” Matty Rainbow, co-founder of Sound Healing Australia, says. “By having a calming effect on the nervous system, sound therapy can support participants to reduce stress, regulate hormones, improve sleep quality and duration, enhance the immune system, move through physical, mental and psychological trauma, reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, reduce inflammation, and much more.”
In addition to these fantastic benefits, sound healing can also support participants to experience a deep space of meditation “The frequency of the sound offers a point of focus for the mind, allowing participants (even those who are completely new to meditation) an opportunity to experience a deep state of relaxation and thus the attributed benefits of meditation,” Matty says.
Sound Therapy Vacations
Many wellness providers offer sound therapy vacations or incorporate sound healing into their wellness retreats.
“We believe in order for a participant to get the ‘best’ possible experience, participants need to feel safe,” Matty says. “That is why we believe working with a trained therapist is paramount.”
Even when working with a trained therapist, your sound therapy treatment can take many different forms. Typically, participants can expect to engage in either a group or a solo session. Tibetan singing bowls are often used, with hand-hammered bowls placed around the room, around the participant, or directly on the participant’s body to gently vibrate the cells. A tuning fork could be used to enhance vibrations, and soft music could be played to further enhance the sound therapy experience.
Sound healing can involve meditation and it can involve participation, with some sessions requiring participants to actively make music with the instruments provided. There is no one fixed approach — it’s a practise that can take many different forms.
What does appear uniform, however, are the results. “Commonly, participants note they experience physical sensations such as temperature changes, vibrations/sensation throughout the body, twitching, and a deep heaviness or relaxation in parts of the body and the body in its entirety,” Matty says. “People experience imagery like flashes of colours, people’s faces, different locations (not necessarily places they have physically been) and/or memories.”
Other common reactions from participants include an overload of emotions. “Certain sounds and frequencies can trigger emotional releases,” Matty says. “These aren’t necessarily limited to crying but could also be feelings of joy, excitement, and gratitude. It is important to remember that an emotion is just ‘energy in motion’, and to live fully, it is healthy to experience ALL emotions.”
During a sound therapy session, it is common to feel like you are surrounded by sounds and that those sounds move in a non-linear fashion. Smells, or other sensory-based experiences, are also heightened during this time.
When preparing for a sound therapy session, it’s recommended to be well hydrated not only for your comfort, but also because sound travels well through water. And, despite some sessions being labelled as “sound baths”, you don’t need to pack a bikini. Wear loose, comfortable clothing to your sound therapy session to again optimise your comfort during the experience.
Taking The Feeling Home
A sound therapy vacation is a great way to rejuvenate your body and mind, but how can we continue to practise sound therapy after this wellness experience?
“Sound therapy gives us the opportunity to notice that everything in existence is vibration. Witnessing how particular sounds and frequencies are effecting your mind and body after a sound healing supports the continuation of the work,” Matty says. “Sometimes we don’t notice the subtle sounds that are present around us. By becoming more aware and sensitised to sound through sound therapy, we begin to notice the impact other ‘noise’ has on our nervous systems. For example: traffic noise, the buzzing of electrical equipment, certain music, conversations, etc.”
These sounds can weigh negatively on our nervous systems, and learning to identify this helps us then be better able to actively avoid them or balance them with more pleasant sounds, such as the noises of nature — think running water, tumbling waves, and the wind blowing through the trees.
“Even things we do in every moment of every day, if practised correctly, can have a significantly positive impact. Singing, humming and conscious breathing all can have an incredible impact on your overall health and wellbeing,” Matty says. “These are in fact some of the most simple sound healing techniques we all have free access to.”
Finally, finding a training therapist near you is also another great option especially as you are developing this practice. “You can head to our website, www.soundhealingaustralia.com, to see a list of amazing therapists Australia wide,” Matty says.
Accessible To Most
There aren’t any noted groups who won’t benefit from sound therapy. Pregnant women can enjoy this experience, although Sound Healing Australia recommends that they are at least two metres from any sound instruments and that no instruments are placed on the pregnant person’s body.
Those who wear hearing aids can also enjoy sound therapy, although it’s recommended they remove their device to ensure no frequencies trigger a response from the aid. As the benefits of sound therapy aren’t just in the audio but the vibrations and the energy, this therapy can still be beneficial.