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Published: June 8, 2024

What Is Sound Therapy?

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What are your favorite de-stressing techniques? For some, a high-intensity workout does the trick, while others prefer a walk in the park, quality time with loved ones, or a bubble bath. If you’re looking for a new relaxation method, sound therapy could be the answer.

Also known as sound healing, it involves using meditative noise to reduce stress and pain. You may have heard these sounds—such as from a gong or singing bowl—in yoga or meditation class. The British Academy of Sound Therapy (BAST) website shares a rundown of the five most common instruments used in the practice. The first is the human voice, which can be particularly therapeutic in a low hum (Think: the vibration of “om.”) According to BAST, the powerful sound of gongs can help release tension in the body, as can Himalayan singing bowls. Drums can alter brainwaves and promote tranquility. Lastly, crystal singing bowls help improve emotional wellbeing. 

Although scientific studies on the effects of sound therapy are limited, music in general has been found to help with relaxation. As this New York Times article points out, sound therapy may help with pain management because it acts as a distraction. According to Wellness Today, research has found that music can also increase workout endurance, improve sleep quality and cognitive function, and help people perform better in stressful situations. One study found that listening to music and getting a massage have a similar effect on anxiety. Listening to slow music can actually alter the speed of your brainwaves, similarly to a meditative state.

In recent years, sound baths have been popping up in cities such as New York and Los Angeles. A sound bath combines listening and meditating, explains Well + Good. An instructor plays various instruments as you lie on the floor in a savasana-type state, for example. Because of the parallels between yoga and sound therapy, some yoga studios are combining the two practices. Sound bath classes can either be done in a group or private setting. And some studios, like Electric Sound Bath in LA, use more intense instruments such as bass guitar and pedals.

If you’re not quite ready for a class, check out the soothing sounds we’ve rounded up on YouTube including Tibetan singing bowls, crystal bowls and gongs. You may also find our on-the-go meditation guide helpful. If you think sound therapy could help you, we say give it a try. It could feel as refreshing as a day at the spa! 

Would you try sound therappy? Share with us in the comments below!


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