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When it comes to Xmas and its busy lead-up, we must admit to secretly enjoying the CHAOS it can bring. That feeling where everyone you know is strapping in, gearing up and running at full steam to reach that golden ‘end of year’ finish line.
The one thing we can live without though, is the increased stress levels that these end of year deadlines combined with late night celebrations can ultimately bring!!
No offence Chamomile tea and lavender oil, at this time of year, you just don’t cut it!
So, in true MNB Style we set out to find a solution to help balance out our end of year stress. And we found it… in a group of women sitting around giant mortar and pestle bowls looking so much more relaxed than we were!! Weird? That’s what we initially thought too!
But it didn’t take long for us to work out that these giant bowls weren’t a new decorative kitchen trend or capsule collection from West Elm - but part of a globally adored stress relief practice called ‘Sound Bathing’.
Sound bathing??? – it looked like the ultimate in relaxation therapies so much so that we wanted in and fast!!!! We did some research and here’s what we found …
A sound bath is a sensory experience where a selection of gongs, Tibetan bowls, chimes and other instruments are used to produce sound frequencies and vibrations that help you achieve a deep and meditative state of relaxation. Participants say that it feels like you are ‘bathed’ in a deeply relaxing soundscape of music and sacred sounds that soothe, warm, and calm you from the outside in.
UK based sound healer Jazreena Harlow, sums it up like this:
"Certain instruments, specifically alchemy crystal singing bowls, can create binaural beats when being played and these affect our brainwaves," Harlow explains. "Brain waves change according to what we are doing throughout the day and different brain waves have different functions." She goes on to explain that some sound frequencies can have a soothing effect on the nervous system. "Research has shown that sound vibrations and frequencies send signals to our body and brain that slow down our stress response,".
If Harlow’s explanation is anything to go by, the sound bath seems to be an experience we all should try – at least once!
For 60-90 minutes you will lay or sit, as you are guided through a soundscape of calming music and sonic frequencies. Your instructor may also encourage you to “let go of the days’ stress” or prompt a mental action to accompany the sounds. But- funnily enough - the biggest appeal of the sound bath experience seems to be the lack of mental effort required. Besides listening, there isn’t much required of you, other than to participate and reap the benefits. Simply be still, and let the musical waves flow over you.
The way a sound bath feels will vary from person to person. "Many people report feeling tingly or heat sensations in the body, feeling emotional waves, and feeling less stressed or tension melting away," Harlow says. "Many also report gaining clarity or having deeper introspection during and afterwards, and you can almost guarantee a good night's sleep following a sound bath."
Some people report feeling like they are floating out of their body. This is referred to as the theta brainwave state, the same type of reaction you get from float tanks. You also might find yourself in a deep dream-like state—the delta brainwave state, which is said to be a place of deep healing.
Besides good vibes galore, some of the most amazing benefits of sound bathing are:
If you’re a sucker for silence, noise cancelling headphones and solo reading sessions than perhaps this isn’t the relaxo activity for you!
But - if you’re like us it look and thrive off other people’s energy, listen to the occasional ASMR and have a sleep playlist on repeat- than you will be in heaven!!
If you're looking to try out a sound bath for the first time, you have options.