Singing bowls and echoing gongs have made their way into the wellness industry, thanks to the healing properties of sound waves. Let’s learn about this latest trend of healing on International Yoga Day. By Shrimayee Thakur

Sound bathing involves generating sound waves that calm the nervous system/Shutterstock

What comes to mind when you read the phrase ‘sound bathing’? Something that feels serene, composed, and collected? These were my thoughts when I first heard about
this alternative healing therapy. The ancient healing practice of sound bathing goes as far back as the times of ancient Greek philosophers; they used sound frequencies to treat many physical and cognitive ailments.

The technique includes generating sound waves produced by Himalayan singing bowls,
crystal bowls, gongs, tuning forks, shamanic drumming, and more. These sound waves are
known to create calming effects on the nervous system. In fact, sound waves are also known to balance the subtle body. Now, you might wonder what the subtle body is! It is nothing but the energy that reverberates from the innermost layers of one’s body. Apart from these, sound healing is also great for stress management and combating insomnia, anxiety, chronic pain, and even depression. “Everybody wants physical, mental, and emotional peace, and sound healing helps you get exactly that,” says Yashika Jain,
healing and meditation teacher at Haritha Yogshala in Rishikesh.

Tibetan monks have been practising sound bathing for over 2,000 years/Shutterstock

This healing technique is popular among Tibetan monks; they’ve been practising it for
over 2,000 years using Tibetan singing bowls. These singing bowls are like bells that ring to
generate rich, profound sound that relaxes one’s body and mind. Such sound frequencies have powerful healing properties. In fact, Buddhist monks use this tool to meditate.

Moreover, such sound frequencies are known to penetrate one’s subconscious mind,
which in turn facilitates healing on a much deeper level—think chakra balancing and aura cleansing. Certified sound healing therapists often use sound to identify one’s chakra energy system, sacred geometry, and energy plane to create a distinctive healing session. According to sound healing therapists, everything in the world, including humans, is in a constant state of vibration. Thus, by tapping into that natural frequency, sound bathing provides instant relief from many ailments.

In a typical sound bathing session, metallic bowls are placed on one’s body, and struck to produce vibrations/Shutterstock

Rivesh Vade, founder of Wellness Vibe and widely acclaimed therapist who travels the world to speak about the many benefits of sound waves, says, “Our entire system is nothing but sound. Our emotions are nothing but sound. For every emotion, we have a distinctive tonality. The disturbance in the tone itself is a kind of illness. So, all emotional issues, as well as physical illnesses like diabetes, abscesses, knee pain, back pain, and more, can be taken care of by employing the right sound frequency. Pain is nothing but a blockage in the meridians, and this can be regulated by sound.”

Sound healing has helped Vade too. “When I was in the eighth grade, someone gifted me a cassette saying it would improve my grades in school. Within two years, the result was phenomenal. I was among the top five students in the 10th grade. Since then, I started studying the impact of sound and music.”

Vade reveals that singing bowls are known as ghosh pusht in India. “Ghosh means sound, and pusht means flower. According to ancient beliefs, even Buddha used this healing technique.”

In a sound bathing session, metallic singing bowls are placed on one’s body and then struck or rubbed to produce sounds and vibrations. Maayaa, the founder of Maayaa International Healing School in Uttarakhand, who teaches this technique all over Europe, the US, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Bangkok, says, “People use harmoniums, tablas, and other instruments for sound healing. If you are lying down for an hour with someone playing an instrument near you, you will automatically feel relaxed because you are entirely consumed with the sounds. The vibrations from the sound makers remove blockages from your body. If the blood flow or the energy flow is not in tandem, the vibrations cut through that. We have done research on how sound waves impact blood pressure. Within just 15 minutes, high blood pressure is known to drop.”

Himalayan singing bowls, crystal bowls, gongs, etc. are used to produce healing sound waves/Shutterstock

She further adds, “We have worked with people who have had fertility issues, and even failed to conceive despite using In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF). They experienced our healing
therapy and are now blessed with children.” Increasing levels of stress, according to Maayaa and Vade, is the prime reason why sound therapy is gaining popularity in India.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has called stress one of the most dangerous health
epidemics of the 21st century. Even Thrive Global, an American company that provides behaviour change technology and media to support individuals grappling with stress and burnout, has labelled stress as an epidemic.

With a rise in awareness about mental illnesses, people are increasingly opting for alternative healing methods like sound bathin/Shutterstock

An article published in 2018 on Thrive Global’s website by Tom Meyers, an osteopath and body-centred stress expert, addresses this issue. Here’s an excerpt:“Yes, modernisation
and the rise in technological and economic progress has made life easier. It has increased life expectancy. However, the unexpected drawback of this progress, especially over the last 10-15 years, is its detrimental effect on our health and well-being. Technological and economic progress has encouraged the rise of unhealthy lifestyles and increased stress levels, which in turn have contributed to the spread of chronic degenerative diseases and mental disorders such as coronary heart disease, cancer, strokes, Type 2 diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders, stress, depression, dementia, burnout, and more.”

In India, mental health is shedding its status of being a taboo topic, and awareness campaigns are being rigorously launched and championed by celebrities such as Deepika Padukone. According to the WHO, India is one of the largest nations affected by some form of mental illness. However, in 2011 the organisation had also said that India has only 0.301 psychiatrists and 0.047 psychologists for every 1,00,000 patients. Increasing awareness
about mental health is leading people to seek alternative solutions, which include sound healing.

It is believed that even Buddha used sound bathing for healing and meditation purposes/Shutterstock

Today, everyone wants instant relief, and they want it without medication. People are more open to trying natural and alternative means of healing. Inayat Rehmat Khan Pathan, the founder of the Sufi Order in the West in 1914, and teacher of Universal Sufi sm, once said, “The knower of the mystery of sound knows the mystery of the whole universe.” The healing power of sound, thus, is not a new discovery; it’s an ancient practice, and, perhaps, the need of the hour in the wellness industry.

Where To Heal 

London’s The Lanesborough Club and Spa offers crystal sound healing, wherein therapeutic oils are massaged onto the body while vibrations from crystal singing bowls work their magic on you.

At Woom Center in New York, a Woom Sound Experience takes you on an immersive sonic journey wherein vocal meditation, along with gongs, Himalayan singing bowls, tuning forks, bells, chimes, and more, helps you heal.

At Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa, you can choose one of many private sessions in sound therapy, such as Chorus Of Crystals, Spiritual Shamanism and Drumming, Shuniya Sound Ceremony, and Tibetan Chakra Balancing.

In Mexico’s Yäan Wellness Energy Spa, the Multi Vibrational Therapy uses Mayan shells and didgeridoos (apart from gongs, and crystal and Tibetan bowls) to create balance, harmony, and peace.

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