With nearly 114 million views on TikTok, sound baths are one of the newest and most important health practices to take off on social media. From a practice that from Tibet Thousands of years ago, modern sound baths were still hitting all the right places, especially when you’re stressed after scrolling.
A typical sound bath is an immersive whole body, meditative experience which “baths” you in different sounds, says Gabrielle Juliano-Villani, MSW, LCSW, a sound healer and therapist. “If you do a sound bath in person, you can expect to be [in a studio] for about an hour, lying down, usually in low light conditions for [a practitioner plays different instruments] to facilitate healing such as gongs, Tibetan bowls, chimes, drums, crystal singing bowls, and many more,” she tells Bustle. You will often find pillows or blankets to help you be more comfortable.
Although many sound baths occur in yoga or meditation class, you can also find all kinds of variations on Instagram, Youtube and TikTok. Being there in person lets you feel the sound waves in the room, but listening online is just as effective, says Juliano-Villani, especially if you connect with headphones. Bowls and gongs produce long, reverberating notes that put you in a meditative state so you can rest, reset or focus on an intention.
A the sound bath can be incredibly relaxing, but this is not its only advantage. Here’s what else it can do for you, plus some samples from TikTok.
The benefits of sound baths
A major draw is how meditative a sound bath can be. “In a sound bath, you are usually guided by the practitioner into a lying down meditation,” explains Megan ShererRegistered Holistic Therapist and Founder of The self-care space. You might focus on a word or suggestion to relax your body and mind.
As the sound overwhelms you, they say it improve your mood by releasing difficult emotions – and that’s also why you might see TikToks suitable for some chakra, like the heart chakra. “The vibrations from the bowls help to dislodge blocked energy, which can lead to more clarity in your life overall,” Sherer explains. You might even cry or feel super tired afterwards, because your body releases pent up tension.
The tones help you tap into a theta brainwave state – the the brain waves that occur when you are in a half-awake, half-asleep meditative state. “When the sound bowls are played, they emit specific frequencies that engage your brain waves and allow you to become more relaxed,” says Sherer. “Theta brainwave states also allow you to reach a very creative meditative state, which in turn can help you process emotions and imbalances quickly and effectively.”
Not only can a theta brainwave state help improve your sleep and improve your well-being, Sherer says it’s also a way to increase levels of creativity and concentrate. Many people “take” sound baths first thing in the morning to prepare for the day, before bed to relax, or whenever they feel the need to reset.
If you like the idea of meditation but don’t think you’re very good at it, sound baths could be your ticket to centering. “Rather than giving you a melody to hang on to, sounds should help focus your mind and free it from searching for pattern in sound,” explains Brandt PassalacquaFounder, Director and Head Teacher of Deep Breathing Yoga Therapy. “You will let go of sound patterns, which will also help you release your thought patterns.”
As you relax and listen to the interesting and unpredictable intonations, you may find that you are actually able to relax. “If traditional meditation has been a challenge for you, or if you find it difficult to sit quietly, then a sound bath could be a great alternative,” he told Bustle.
Sound baths can also help you physically. “Sound is an ancient tool, and it is a tool that is easily used to mindfulness», explains Juliano-Villani. “Mindfulness is the act of being aware of the present moment without judgment. When we practice mindfulness, we are also in the “rest and digest” response of our nervous system.” Although more research is needed, sound baths are believed to help release physical tension and painand can improve your health by giving you an outlet for stress.
Although sound baths are considered safe, it’s good to keep a few potential side effects in mind. It’s better not to use them for treat a sickness, and you may want to avoid going to a sound bath if you’re pregnant. You should also ask your doctor if you have epilepsy or are prone to headaches.
How to make a sound bath at home
While an hour-long in-person sound bath would certainly be a treat, there are plenty of sound baths available on TikTok, and many are only 60 seconds long. Next time you’re stressed, just put on your headphones, listen, and see if that helps you feel more focused or refreshed.
According to Sherer, sound baths are an accessible and beneficial practice for almost everyone. And the more frequently you do them, the better you’ll feel. She recommends starting with 30 to 60 minutes once a week, but notes that even a sound bath can be a “transformative experience.”
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Gabrielle Juliano-Villani, MSW, LCSW, sound healer, therapist