Sound healing is a practice that uses vibrations from either vocals or instruments, such as Tibetan and Crystal singing bowls, to relax the mind and body.
While many of us are familiar with the benefits of meditation and the sense of peace, comfort and tranquility it can bring us, sound healing as a form of holistic therapy is less well known.
Sound healing is useful practice that can help you to really switch off and relax. It’s a form of healing that has been used in many cultures for thousands of years, using both instruments and the voice in the form of singing, humming, or chanting. These sounds have a meditative effect acting in the most natural of ways. Holistic therapist Naomi McLean believes this is because we are all connected to sound: “Sound is intricately connected with the human consciousness and the innate spiritual side of us – it’s an ancestral practice that we may feel a link to without knowing.”
Thankfully sound healers like Naomi are continuing this revered practice, giving us the chance to experience this ancient holistic therapy. She runs sound healing retreats with Sound Healer Kaz McDonald under their collective Unalome Connection.
Both women experienced the life-enhancing benefits of sound healing before realising they wanted to share it with others. Kaz reveals: “At my first session I remember laying there wondering how I was going to relax as it seemed so loud – and then I woke up. I couldn’t quite understand how it happened, but it gave me an incredible feeling which I hadn’t experienced before.” Naomi too felt a shift after her first ‘soundbath’: “It was such a profound experience. I connected with myself on a much deeper level. I was hooked and knew I was being called to learn more.”
“It was such a profound experience. I connected with myself on a much deeper level.”
What to expect at a soundbath session
Sound healing is typically experienced at a ‘soundbath’, a group gathering with the healer sitting amongst their instruments while participants lay down on mattresses, beds or yoga mats. It’s best to wear loose, comfortable clothing and blankets are provided to help you adjust during the session as when you relax, your body temperature can drop. Kaz adds: “Get yourself into a comfortable position and be open to receiving. It’s best to close your eyes as this aids the relaxation process.”
The sound healer will then begin using sound bowls and some may use the gentle chimes of a gong. As you drift into a calming state the soothing sounds will take effect as Naomi explains: “During a soundbath, the therapeutic sound impacts the nervous system, slowing the heart, brain and respiratory rates down to induce a state of deep relaxation and peace. When the brain waves and body are synchronised, balance can be restored, and stress can be released. You may feel different sensations within the body, and/or see colours during your sound journey.”
The benefits of sound healing
Like every new experience it can feel intimidating to try but the results you’ll feel are positive as Naomi explains: “The sound and vibration reach into every cell of your body helping to restore balance at the cellular level, giving a feeling of harmony, deep state of relaxation and mental clarity. Physically it can release tension, alleviate muscular aches and pains and increase energy levels.”
Wondering if sound healing is for you? Sound healing practitioners believe the following benefits are possible by attending a soundbath:
- It relaxes the mind and body
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Helps with insomnia
- Promotes relaxation
- Can help to reduce pain
- Helps releasing old traumas
- Shift blockages in the body
- Opens and balances the chakras.
Sound healing is generally safe, but it’s not recommended to someone who has a pacemaker, heart condition, epilepsy or severe or clinical mental health problems, or if you are in the first trimester of pregnancy. Sounds can affect people in different ways so if you have any concerns, speak with a qualified practitioner before you book a session.
How to try a sound healing session
Sound healing sessions can be experienced through virtual sessions and apps, but the most beneficial way is to attend an in-person workshop as you’ll be able to appreciate all the different layers of the relaxing notes which is a deeply personal experience. Kaz and Naomi run regular retreats in London, follow them at Unalome Connection on Instagram to find out more.
This article was written by Momtaz Begum-Hossain