The Healing Benefits of Sound Baths - With Jen VuSep 13, 2023
In today’s fast-paced world, people are always looking for ways to unplug, slow down, relax their minds and go within. And this is why sound baths are so perfect for that (and much more) because they can create a calming environment where you can tune out any distractions and simply focus on bringing peace and tranquillity into your whole being.
So what exactly is a sound bath, how does it work, and what are the benefits? In this blog, we talk to Jen Vu, one of our associate teachers at The Sound Healing Academy, about her journey with healing sounds and how she ended up hosting large sound baths over the last few years.
What is a Sound Bath?
Sound baths are therapeutic and meditative experiences where the participants “bathe” in the sounds and vibrations produced by different sound healing instruments such as:
- Crystal singing bowls
- Tibetan singing bowls
- Shruti box
- … and much more
Through these sounds and vibrations, the mind enters into a deeply meditative and relaxed state, bringing about healing at all levels of our being: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. The beauty of sound baths is that each note you hear in a sound bath has a purpose. It’s more than just a string of beautiful sounds tied together - a powerful healing intention is behind every single note and sequence!
As an extremely effective form of meditation, sound baths are an excellent way to let go of any worries and sink into a deeply serene experience. Adding sound to the meditation experience can take your relaxation to a new level!
The Benefits of Sound Baths
How many of us sometimes feel anxious, stressed, and burned out? A lot!
We might even find ourselves holding on to negative energy that makes us feel heaviness in our hearts, but sound baths allow us to let go of all that and return to a natural state of calm and well-being.
Some of the main sound bath benefits that we’ve seen throughout our time teaching sound healing include:
- Calming your body and mind
- Reduced stress and anxiety
- Increased focus and clarity
- Decreased tension and fatigue
- Better mood and reduced negative thoughts and emotions
- Improved sleep
- Reduced muscle and joint pain
- Lower heart rate
- … and so much more
We are often asked, “How do you feel after a sound bath?” - Well, there’s a wide range of different emotions that can come up, from blissful to spaced out. But most people feel a sense of relaxation, peace, and love.
Sound baths are much easier to participate in than many other meditative practices because they don’t require a lot of discipline or patience to learn how to do it - all you have to do is listen!
A Deep Dive into Sound Baths with Jen Vu
Jen Vu is a certified sound healer based in Austin, Texas, who loves integrating sound, movement, play, self-care and good vibes into all her offerings! So, let’s hear what she says about her journey with healing sounds!
When and how did your journey with healing sounds start?
"I have played music since I was 5, starting with violin, then piano, woodwinds & percussion. Additionally, I’ve been playing big gongs and drums in the back of the orchestra since I was 11!
I remember not liking to practice my scales, but I always really enjoyed playing with other musicians. Along the way, my interest in sports and dance began to take up more of my time.
In 2006, I was in a car accident that left me in pain. For 2 years, I went to physical therapy, acupuncture, the chiropractor, etc., which would only give me temporary relief from pain. I would have flare-ups where there were days when I couldn’t walk because the pain was so bad.
I started seeking alternative medicines and met with a healer (now one of my mentors) who placed Himalayan bowls on and around my body. After 2 sessions with her, my pain was gone and never returned! I was amazed by the healing power of sound and vibration and got my first 2 singing bowls soon after and started my journey with sound healing."
In what ways has sound healing changed your life?
"Sound healing has been such a gift. Not only has it had profound healing effects on my body and my physical healing, but it has also been a way for me to support my mental health.
I meditate with my instruments, and it helps improve my mental focus, gain clarity and relieve stress. I love being a channel for sound as it’s offered me a way to connect back to my musical roots in a heart-centred way, where the sound flows through me. However, the wisdom & healing that arises is for everyone! "
What made you want to become a professional sound healer and a teacher?
"It honestly happened on its own! I have been connecting to sound through playing singing bowls in my meditation practice for years and also sharing sound in my yoga classes.
During the pandemic, I would sit in my front yard and play bowls. Everyone was outside because we were all so sick of being inside. My neighbours would walk by, ask me what I was doing, and then ask if they could join - I would have neighbours spread out, socially distanced, all over my front yard. It was so obvious that we all needed the healing power of sound.
This was when I decided to study more deeply and get professional training in sound healing. The rest is history! Teaching came as a natural extension of sharing my work, whilst my clients kept asking me if they could learn what I was doing, and I decided to lean in because the world needs more of us sharing sound!"
What are your favourite instruments to use and why?
"Oh, this is the hardest question because it’s like asking someone who their favourite child is! Every instrument is special and has its role to play in a sound journey. I do have a special affinity for crystal alchemy singing bowls, which are infused with precious gemstones, metals and Earth minerals which have their own healing properties, which can add a beautiful intentionality to my sessions."
What feedback do you get after a sound healing session?
"Most people leave my sessions feeling good, relaxed and rested. They wanted it to keep going and can’t wait for the next one!"
What are the biggest and smallest venues you’ve offered sound baths?
"I have had a lot of fun offering sound baths in different venues. I love doing small group sessions in swimming pools, as the sound travels in the water differently, and the way the receiver can feel the vibrations in the water is magical.
One of my favourite venues for sound meditations is the James Turrell Skyspace, an art installation that is the perfect container for deep contemplations and self-inquiry. In his work The Color Inside, the artist explores the relationship between light and space. This intersection between art and wellness invites the viewer to be enveloped by the sound and connect to their own inner light. It also allows me to connect to my alma mater (The University of Texas at Austin, home of the installation) and give back to the student community - I wish I had been introduced to sound meditation at a young age."
Is there a difference between the preparation you do depending on the size of a sound bath?
"Yes, absolutely! The selection of instruments will be different depending on size & intention. If I can, I always like to be in the crowd offering sound close to the body, so if it’s a smaller sound bath, I may plan to bring certain instruments that I can place on the body.
The other biggest thing I would plan and adjust for is the need to amplify if the room is big so that every participant can hear and feel the sound clearly."
What should people expect before, during, and after a sound bath?
"Before sound baths, you’ll want to give yourself enough time to arrive and get set up in the space to not add extra stress to yourself. Allow yourself to settle and set intentions for your session, as it’s nice to have a minute to connect with your practitioner and the community.
During the sound baths, expect to go on a journey that affects the mind, body and spirit. You may feel tingly sensations in the body, and you may experience physical or energetic release in the body that can sometimes feel euphoric, emotional, or even uncomfortable.
As you go deeper into the journey and shift into different states of consciousness, most people feel deeply relaxed and at peace. The mind begins to calm down, making space for deeper self-inquiry. Some people are so relaxed that they fall unconscious, which is wonderful to let the body receive rest. I always remind people that it’s likely that your body temperature may also drop during a sound bath, so make sure you are comfortable & cosy!
Afterwards, because our bodies are made of water and so responsive to sound and vibration, the effects of the sound bath will continue to stay with you. Often, people tell me they have very vivid or interesting dreams, and they have the best sleep!"
Can you describe in just a few sentences what a sound bath with you feels like?
"A sound bath with me will be a gentle, full-body listening experience where you will feel the sound deeply. The instruments and I will take you on a journey to relieve tension & stress, and you'll leave feeling restored and balanced in the mind, body & spirit."
Are there any last words for anyone who has never been to a sound bath?
"If you’re even a little bit curious, it’s worth trying out a sound bath. You will be surprised at the difference in how you feel afterwards!"
And here you have it - all you need to know about sound baths!
In the end, a sound bath is a subjective experience, and you can try out different sound baths to see what works for you. Ideally, you should feel that the healer you choose to go to offers a sound bath that has positive intentions of wellness, love, and healing.
If you’re curious to learn how to offer sound baths, at The Sound Healing Academy, we offer a Level 2: Practitioner Diploma In Integral Sound Healing (Multi-Instrument) Groups Course in which you can learn how to offer relaxing sound baths, gong baths, sound meditations, and more! For more sound healing inspiration, knowledge, and tips, check out our articles on:
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