It seems like there’s a new wellness trend popping up every day on TikTok and Instagram. A recent trend touts crystal singing bowls, some priced from $200-$500 a pop, but on the other side of the aesthetically-pleasing tools is a streamlined healing practice rooted in sound. Sound healing therapy uses aspects of music to improve physical and emotional health and well-being.
According to holistic healer Jazreena Harlow, sound therapy or sound baths can be considered a complementary healthcare practice, enhancing and stimulating the mind and body’s ability to heal. “You experience sound therapy via a sound bath —being ‘bathed’ in acoustic sound frequencies and vibrations using instruments such as gongs, Tibetan bowls, crystal singing bowls, and chimes that fill a space creating a deeply sensory sound experience that will result in a deep state of relaxation,” she says to ESSENCE.
Sound therapy can help Black people dealing with trauma or the stress of navigating deep layers of limiting beliefs in response to being told how to show up in the world due to systemic and overt racism or simply seeking rest, as the use of the practice is believed to benefit the emotional state of a person. “Black women deserve to rest. For centuries we have cared for everyone else first; sound healing is a way to give back to ourselves,” says LeNaya Smith Crawford, a holistic therapist who practices sound healing therapy often.
According to Harlow, physical and psychological benefits such as increasing relaxation, alleviating anxiety, overcoming insomnia, and reducing stress are also gained. Research shows that sound therapy boasts other significant health gains like pain relief, boosting your immune system, improving circulation, and soothing depression and PTSD-related symptoms.
Crawford adds, “Sound therapy allows us to invite a sense of peace and calm so we can show up in the world with a regulated nervous system. From experience, a sound bath before or after a stressful day can ease your mind, body, and spirit, helping you start or end your day with a clearer mind and calmer body.”
According to Harlow, sound therapy can transform presenting invariances within the emotional and physical state. Deep relaxation is mostly experienced, but other effects can also occur. Some people report feeling tingly or having heat sensations in the body, emotional waves, less stress, or tension melting away. Other experiences can include gaining clarity or having deeper introspection during and after the practice. Whatever the outcome, you will most likely receive a good night’s sleep following a sound bath.
She recommends using Alchemy Crystal Singing Bowls to activate our brain waves to induce a restful and deep sleep. That specific bowl can create binaural beats when being played, affecting our brainwaves. Brainwaves change according to what we do throughout the day. For example, Gamma waves can assist with increased mental activity, including perception, fear, problem-solving, and consciousness; Beta waves are responsible for thinking actions, anxiety, and the feeling of being stressed; Alpha waves deal with relaxed focus, such as daydreaming, watching a movie, or recalling fond memories, Delta waves induce a profound sleep, which is what helps the body to repair itself and strengthen the immune system, and lastly, Theta waves help you sleep and deeply relax.
Harlow believes the different frequencies of a sound bath can also 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.
Understanding how frequencies can stimulate our brain waves and nervous system allows us to see the powerful correlation between how a sound bath can bring about the phenomenon that is called sound healing.