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by Jamie Bechtold

Sound baths

"We are all looking for ways in which to shut off the mind, relax the body and increase happiness."

- Jamie Bechtold

A Concert For The Soul

"Soundbaths continue to grow in popularity as people are experiencing extraordinary shifts in how they feel mentally, physically and emotionally. We are all looking for ways in which to shut off the mind, relax the body and increase happiness."

First experience

"The first time I heard the complex wave of sounds coming from a gong, I was enthralled! A biology student at the time, I had become so mentally focused that I had forgotten how to relax both mind and body, failing to connect with my inner world.

That first strike of the gong was pure magic as my mind quieted, my body softened and a sense of lightness and expansion could be felt. Surprisingly, this peaceful state remained with me, long after the sound had dissipated.

This is the goal of a soundbath, relaxation of mind and body, resulting in a sense of union with the deepest parts of oneself. That feeling of tranquillity and illumination is the reason I and so many others are drawn to the powerful sounds of the gong."

What is a Sound bath?

“A soundbath is a form of sound therapy whereby sounds are produced in a manner aimed at calming the body and stilling the mind. Most commonly a group experience, the sound therapist plays several instruments, creating those sounds which promote well-being while guiding listeners on a journey of self-discovery and inner exploration. A well-played soundbath should feel like a concert for the soul. There is a beautiful simplicity to receiving a soundbath as the participant is not required to "do" anything other than lay in a comfortable position (usually on one's back), listen and feel the vibrations.

The term "sound bath" or "soundbath" is a generic term that describes a multitude of sound experiences which can include various instruments such as gongs, singing bowls, chimes, drums, voice and even recorded tones. A quick investigation traces the term back to Tom Kenyon, a wellknown sound therapist, musician and researcher based in Washington State. A great encouragement to me in my work, I hold the utmost respect for Mr. Kenyon. While Tom no longer uses the term "soundbath" when describing his offerings, the word nevertheless caught on and is now used worldwide to indicate similar sound experiences.

While there are assorted types of soundbaths using numerous instruments, the gong is essential in my opinion. It is the gong which lends an element other instruments fail to supply. It provides depth, intensity, expansiveness and a feeling of activation that has to be experienced in order to be understood. A single gong can make the experience more like a meditation, where the mind is focused upon the sounds. Multiple gongs bathe the listener in many tones and vibrations resulting in an almost immediate state of relaxation."

How does a Sound bath work?

"Most people feel refreshed and at ease while actually looking brighter following a soundbath. The experience is unique to each individual and may include physical sensations, visual images, a range of emotions, creative insights or even a deep sleep.

There are moments of intensity, which will pass if the person remains relaxed and likewise moments of heightened clarity. One's sense of time and space is usually altered during the soundbath, often making it difficult to determine just how much time has elapsed. The feedback from regular "soundbathers" is that they have increased their ability to handle stress and anxiety, can move through challenging situations in a more graceful manner, experience improved sleep and have a better overall sense of health and wellbeing.

Pure sound, that is sound without words, generates a positive effect on the brain. A marked increase in alpha and theta brainwave activity has been observed when one is exposed to the vibrations of a gong and singing bowls. With this, the breath becomes softer, the pulse and heart rate decrease and the participant feels more connected with his or her inner world rather than the outside world. This is the golden state of a soundbath and it is the state in which the body's natural healing capabilities are triggered, at times resulting in miraculous shifts within one's body, mind, and emotional state."

About the Author

Jamie Bechtold has been playing gongs and soundbaths for fourteen years and owns The Soundbath Center in Los Angeles, California. She has also developed Soundbath Practitioner Trainings and teaches students from all around the world.

Read more about Jamie and her Soundbath Center in Los Angeles.

Website of The Soundbath Center

Instruments For Sound baths Explore

This article mainly focuses on gongs, but there are many other great instruments to discover for sound baths.

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