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What is Sound Therapy and What is a Sound Bath?

 

It's called a Soundbath because people feel a bit like they are being bathed (or enveloped or cocooned) in the sound. Everyone lies down and gets comfortable then the instruments are played quite quietly at first. The Himalayan Singing Bowls are gentle and usually experienced as soothing and nurturing. Gradually big Gongs come in, quietly at first, building the sound up and down in waves. At the climax they get really quite loud, what we call 'the fire' which people tend to feel as exciting, powerful and cleansing. At the end there is a series of graduated percussion instruments, to bring you back to a more grounded waking state and then a few minutes silence. We play in a very specific way to create a deeply relaxed state very much like meditation or daydreaming. In this type of state the body relaxes, heart rate and blood pressure drop and stress hormones fall. Most common experiences are deep relaxation, positive mood, colours behind the eyes, as well as dreamlike experiences, personal insights, and even what people have described as Spiritual experiences. 

 

Naomy is qualified in the BAST method of Sound Therapy where there is over 20 years of research and development into which sound techniques are most relaxing and best facilitate the meditative type state. Most people find sound a much easier way to achieve this type of state than meditation. During a 'Therapeutic' Soundbath a reflective process helps discover the thoughts and feelings around 'the problem' (pain, emotional distress, life challenge, illness etc. As with one to one Sound or Voice Therapy, almost any issue can be treated). Then in the state created by the sound, this usually begins to shift. After the treatment people often feel a long way from how they did at the start, often gaining a new perspective and can receive important insights into themselves and their lives. From this positive state they are supported in how to move forward. A Therapeutic Soundbath is a great way to experience Sound Therapy as we work very much as we would in a one to one session. People like being able to work more deeply than the purely relaxing soundbath meditation.

 

One to one can work more deeply still and tailor the treatment to the individual. The exploration can be more thorough and the sounds will be a more specific 'prescription'. As a Sound and Holistic Voice Therapist Naomy works with Gongs, Bowls, Drum and Voice. Each instrument creates a different kind of meditative state and is felt differently in the body. Gongs and Drum are felt very physically for example and therefore can be particularly helpful for pain and physical tension, though Gongs are also good to help with old patterns and emotional challenges. “I would play the gongs very differently if someone was coming for stress and anxiety than I would if it was say for anger-related issues or for feeling stuck in life. They are big gongs, played one at each end of the couch, it's important they be played very sensitively and if someone suffers from anxiety, even if it wasn't what we were working on, I wouldn't go into 'the fire'.” 

 

The Himalayan bowls, as they are more gentle might be indicated for example when someone is feeling more sensitive or upset and is more in need of nurture or soothing, though we often also combine them with the gongs as we do in the Soundbath if appropriate. A Himalayan Bowl treatment on its own can consist of a lovely vibrational massage with the large bowl, on the back and/or arms, legs or feet before moving into an off-body sound treatment. Again, it can be good for pain and tension in any of those areas or just as a lovely treat! You don't have to have a particular problem or issue to come for Sound Therapy, as it is found to be inherently relaxing and very enjoyable.

 

During a one to one Holistic Voice Therapy session, a lie-down treatment is an option, for relaxation and nurture, where long vocal tones and then overtones (designed as a personal prescription each time) are sung to facilitate the special meditative state described. Sometimes a partly active or totally active session would be more appropriate.  After a sharing of what you would like to work on, and you've been supported to gently explore it, I can offer from a whole tool box of vocal, breathing, movement and visualisation techniques, depending on what's needed. Holistic Voice Therapy is not just for working on the voice itself (ie for singing, public speaking, asking for what we want etc) but the voice, your own voice, is a very powerful medium to work on other issues, to express and release emotions and pain. In this way I've found it to be a truly powerful and transformative therapy and this of course is why I am so passionate about it!

 

Naomy has a degree in music and psychology and also teaches piano, cello and singing. Soundbaths and various Voice Therapy workshops are held regularly at The HolistiCentre along with one to one sessions of Holistic Voice Therapy and Sound Therapy treatments using drum, Himalayan bowls, gongs and voice.

 

Find out more about Sound Healing and Naomy on her page.

 
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