In this series, we give first-hand experiences of different practises and sessions, so those who have never done something can get an understanding of what happens during them. To start, our founder Alex Holbrook takes us through her first gong baths; both physically and digitally.
Sound healing comes in many forms, from gong baths, crystal bowls and light language right through to sonic acupuncture. Still, at heart, sound healing is using sound to bring about a state of harmony and wellbeing. Sound is one of the most ancient and natural forms of healing, with Aristotle writing ‘music can help purify the soul’. Before even then, instruments such as Tibetan bowls and even didgeridoos were used to support our ancestors to rebalance themselves. With mantras and chanting awakening consciousness and align chakras.
Often when we feel out of balance, it can be that our frequency has fallen out of rhythm, sound healing is a way to realign ourselves.
Every organism and cell has its own vibration rate, with every single thing in the universe having a unique resonant frequency. Our bodies have their own orchestras with each cell working as if it were an instrument; when one is out of tune, it affects the whole symphony.
When we imagine a glass of water near a speaker, then you can begin to understand how sound works inside us. Sound vibration causes patterns on the water, this is what happens to us on a cellular level during a sound bath; these vibrations can shake out stagnant energies, blocked emotions and trapped thought patterns. Our bodies are made up of 70% water and sound can travel at 3,350mph in water, making us incredibly good sound conductors.
The sound also works on another level to soothe brainwaves using binaural beats to induce theta brainwaves. These are sounds that consist of two frequencies that produce a third, with which your brain waves will synchronize with that frequency to create a brainwave pattern that you would experience during meditation; enabling the listener to drop into a more relaxed state. These also allow us to drop into our theta brain waves, which occur during dreaming, but not in the deepest phases of sleep – being in these brain waves is said to enable mental reprogramming and healing.
We ask Alex to share some insights to her first sound healings, both in person and digitally:
I had no idea what to expect in my first physical sound bath. Some questions that came up for me included should I bring a swimming costume and towel? Would I freak out with the gong? Will I be hard of hearing for days after?
With my first digital one, I wondered if it would have the same effects and also how powerful something could be when listened through headphones; very, as it turned out!
Once you arrive, you are invited to lie down on the mats provided and just receive. We were asked to have an intention in mind for the session, so something that you might want to release, something that you would like to call in or even just to really drop out and relax.
During the session I had some quite trippy visuals come to me (I was actually in the earth at one point!) but also some ideas to overcome blocks I had been experiencing in my work life. The gong could get quite overwhelming at times, but as long as you keep breathing through then, it passes. The conch is also VERY intense when used and almost made me want to clamp my hands over my ears.
With a digital sound bath, you will have different vibrational healing, of course, it will be almost identical to a physical one if you have good speakers/ headphones. I find I can drop deeper into a meditative state with a digital session, I think as it is more intimate and you have fewer distractions. I feel more refreshed and focused after a digital offering, it is something I like to do before I sleep, to calm my mind.
Digital sound sessions have become those I turn to the most to relax and switch off, also if I need to concentrate (actually as I’m writing this I am listening to Urmi’s session!). I’m not great at silent meditation as my mind wanders, so find sound meditations the best way to drop me into relaxation, I would recommend those who have trouble meditating to try a gong and crystal bowl bath.
To start I would really recommend wearing clothes that are comfortable to lie down in, also a thick blanket/cover and an eye mask to make sure you are not distracted by being too cold or light changes.
My main recommendation is just to really let go. Let your mind wander and take you where it wants to go; it’s such a powerful, profound thing to disappear into wherever you are called for a while!