With the modern world getting increasingly more stressful, more people are struggling with depression and anxiety — instead of turning to daily medications, many are looking for relief from natural practices.
That’s why products like Moringa have become mainstream to combat sluggishness and provide calm energy, while also offering a slew of beauty benefits. One thing we’ve just added to our routine is the practice of crystal sound bathing.
The impact of sound vibrations on your soul can be pretty profound; it has been proven to ease stress, combat anxiety, and even work as a pain management tool.
The crystal sound bath trend is super hot right now thanks to social media influencers who have infiltrated your Instagram feed talking about the benefits of this practice.
While this is picking up new mainstream buzz in the West, the crystal sound bath is an ancient wellness practice. Sound is even used by practitioners to help reduce pre-operative anxiety in patients before they undergo surgery.
If you’re interested in strengthening your mind and improving your overall wellness, this is something you should seriously consider adding to your meditative and relaxation routine.
Try Doing a Sound Bath at Home
While these sound baths are relatively inexpensive, if you master the art of doing them at home, you can do one whenever you feel like you need to enhance your mood. You can buy a high quality crystal or brass singing bowl set online for the cost of a few sessions.
This also allows you to incorporate it into your full routine without having to leave your mediative space, seamlessly moving from one routine to the next. As mentioned, this should be thought of as a part of a routine, and therefore, requires a little prepping to optimize results. Here’s how to get ready:
Take an actual bath. Draw up some warm water and allow the water to relax your muscles as you breathe in the cleansing steam.
Use sage in your bath. For its many cleansing, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and many other benefits, sage is the perfect addition to your bath, just add 3-5 drops and let it get to work.
Sage your space. Saging or "smudging" your room clears out any negative, stagnant or tense energy. To clear out the negative energy you need to purchase a sage stick (available at Whole Foods), open a window or door, light the sage on fire until it begins to smoke, hold it in your hand like a wand and rotate it in circular motions around the room. Burning sage neutralizes positively charged ions in the atmosphere, allowing us to feel lighter and freer. You know how in tense situations you can "cut the air with a knife"? This is because stress and tension cause a buildup of positive ions. Burning sage turns these positive ions into negative ones and therefore cleanses and purifies the atmosphere.
Incorporate aromatherapy. After drying off, use your Serenity Aromatherapy Roller in the same way you already do before meditation. Roll it onto your temples to center focus and banish stress.
Get everything setup. Set your bowl(s) in a quiet room with low lighting. Candles in an otherwise dark room will offer the perfect warm glow to help you relax during your sound bath.
To start your at-home session, gently strike the middle, outside of the bowl and gently guide the sound around the rim of the bowl with the mallet or wand. You can then enhance the sound and control it while in a meditative state. There are many different techniques used to treat specific conditions, and experimenting is best to find your groove. Just make sure to use even pressure and place multiple bowls at least 12-inches apart (if needed) to avoid unpleasant sounds.
What to Expect During a Studio Session
It might be a good idea to first attend a studio session so you know what to expect, and give you a sense of if you’re doing it correctly to get the best results. The room is made to provide absolute comfort and relaxation. Most of these sessions are done in groups, but can occasionally be offered as private sessions for a higher fee on request. During the group class, you’ll be given plenty of personal space, and you’ll quickly forget that anyone else is in the room when the session begins.
Once you’ve settled into your space, which typically consists of a cozy blanket pallet and mat to keep, your guide will walk you through a warmup routine to get you mentally and physically ready for the sound bath. You will be guided through a few minutes of instruction on relaxing each part of your body, including your arms, fingers, legs, toes, neck and facial muscles, and even your ears.
When the ‘active’ part of the session begins, the sounds will start out very low and soft; starting this way helps to ease your mind and body into a relaxed state. As the crystal sound bath specialist leads the session, they use different motions and increase the sounds, a technique meant to completely wash away damaging feelings and thoughts to allow your mind and body to begin to forgive itself and heal.
A typical full-on crystal sound bath session will last about 45-minutes and up to 1-1/2 hours before you’re taken into a cool down period that slowly prepares you to face reality with your refreshed spirit. The cool down period consists of focused breathing to gently bring you back to full alertness. You will leave the session with an enhanced sense of focus and clarity, which will become more lasting as you continue your crystal sound bath sessions.
Tips on Getting the Most Out of Your Experience
To maximize your experience, there are a few things that you should plan on doing before, during, and after your crystal sound bath session, be it at home or in a studio, here is your checklist:
Turn your phone off: Don’t just switch it to silent, turn it off! The curiosity of seeing an illuminated screen or hearing a little buzz to indicate a notification will distract you from this experience. If you need to keep a few notes on hand while doing a sound bath at home, jot them down on a piece of paper to hang on the wall so you won’t have to rely on your distracting phone instead.
Dress comfortably: During the session, dress to your personal comfort level. You’ll find that a lot of people prefer to change into their pajamas during the crystal sound bath.
Flush your system: Just like after a massage, it’s important to take the proper steps to flush your system, drink plenty of water, and do your best to steer clear of mind clouding alcohol to achieve maximum results.
Don’t expect standard results: While many report a heightened sense of focus and wellbeing right away, some people might actually feel more spacey afterwards, and that’s okay. Each person will feel differently afterwards, so don’t get discouraged if it takes a few days for your mind to cleanse itself of negative energy.
Taking a break from the overwhelming thoughts of the day is a vital part of mental wellbeing. A crystal sound bath essentially offers you an alternative way to meditate than you’re already practicing. It helps you cleanse your mind of negative energies and reduces stress and anxiety, and even pain — while your experiences may vary. Check out our blog for more tips on natural health and wellness.
Where to go?
If you live in or around NYC here are some local spots you can go to for a sound bath experience.
The WOOM sounds experience is unlike any other sound bath. This 3 hour immersive sonic journey inward includes 5 chapters:
Talk. About the therapeutic properties of sound and how to use it as a meditative tool.
Vocal Meditation. Using our own voices, we will explore the delicate balance between contributing to and receiving from the collective in a meaningful way.
Breathwork. Inspired by Dr. Stanislav Grof’s Holotropic technique, we will practice a powerful form of breath that enables to disconnect from the “monkey mind” and reach heightened states of awareness and a deeper state of meditation.
Sound. We will play a variety of overtone-emitting instruments, including gongs, Himalayan singing bowls, tuning forks, bells, chimes and more.
Connecting. An opportunity to share musings, thoughts, feelings and poetics about our individual experiences.
WHEN: Every Friday @ 7:30pm -10:30pm
LEVEL: Open. No prior experience necessary.
LENGTH: 3 Hours.
PRICE: $40 in advance, $45 day-of
WHERE: Houston & Bowery
A powerfully meditative and deeply tranquil sound experience in a salt cave where you will simultaneously benefit from the negative ions of salt therapy. Improve your overall wellness as the micro particles dispense into the air and on your skin in a salt room filled with vibrational sounds of the singing bowl.
WHEN: Occasionally on Monday at 6:45pm
LENGTH: 15 minutes (but is followed by an optional guided meditation
WHERE: Park Ave & 33rd Street
3. Sky Ting
Imagine sinking in to a “bath” of soothing sounds that take you on an inner journey of relaxation and transformation. By using frequency and “entrainment,” a sound bath facilitates a shift in brainwaves from our normal waking state to alpha and theta states that are akin to meditation—where true somatic healing can occur.
Eye masks welcome (if you choose to cover your eyes during the session), yoga mat and blankets provided. Upcoming classes here.
WHEN: Couple times a month
LENGTH: 90 minutes
WHERE: Chinatown or Williamsburg (near Williamsburg Bridge)
4. Brooklyn Acupuncture Project
At BAP their sound bath is infused with the good vibes of group acupuncture. Depending on the evening, healing sounds are served up on didgeridoo, jaw harp, singing bowls, or vocals.
The acupuncture points are selected based on the lunar calendar - using a technique passed through a single family lineage in China and brought to Brooklyn by Serra Chase, BAP founder. The acupuncture and sound work synergistically to tune you into the flow of the season and balance your internal rhythms.
“Sound enhances [acupuncture] as the stimulated points are more sensitive to physical vibration and, because vibration is energy in motion, this helps ‘move things along,'” explains Stephanie Rooker, who often co-hosts the series.
WHEN: Several times a month
WHERE: Gowanus, Brooklyn