Categories
Sound Healing

Not all sound baths are the same

If you’ve never been to a sound bath, you might be unsure what to expect as there are so many different ways of working with sound.  Sound baths are definitely not all the same!

  • Some sound baths involve loud gongs
  • Some have crystal bowls played really loudly
  • Others might have only 1 or 2 instruments (mostly Tibetan bowls or most crystal bowls)
  • While others might feature a range of instruments.
  • Other sound baths are more gentle focusing on relaxation.

There are sound baths out there to suit everyone but not all sound baths will be suitable for everyone. There are a number of contraindications you should be aware of. I list these on my booking site.

So how do I know what to expect?

Check out the person’s website. What level of training do they have? Many people say they are sound healing practitioners after only a few days training while others have completed a 1-year or a 2-year diploma course with one of the main British sound healing schools.

Contact them and ask them how loudly they play their instruments. Some people love loud gongs. Others just find them too much.

Some people are very sensitive to sound and can be triggered by the intensity of crystal bowls which are very powerful.

Is the practitioner well trained or someone who has just bought a set of bowls? Would they know what to do if you started to feel emotional?

Does the person have a background as a musician or are they an experienced therapist? Both may have completely different approaches to how they run a sound bath. It shouldn’t be a performance but a therapeutic, relaxing experience.

A good practitioner will play for their audience (not to their audience). They will keep an eye on the reactions of their participants. I always let people know that if any sounds make them feel uncomfortable, they can give me a wave and I will change them. I watch people as I play. I watch for restlessness or people looking uncomfortable. Hands over the ears are a sure sign they’re not happy. I placed my hands over my ears recently at a sound bath – the crystal bowls were causing me physical pain. The person leading the sound bath didn’t notice.

As a teacher I hear many stories of people being traumatised by sound baths with sounds played too loudly and insensitively. Recently someone reported feeling physically sick and dizzy. They approached the practitioner and were met with a shrug of the shoulders.

As sound healing becomes more well-known, many people are setting themselves up without proper training. Do your research, ask them questions, get referrals from friends. All these will ensure you book with the right person for you and have a good experience. Stay safe. Sound baths, when handled sensitively, can be a wonderful therapeutic, relaxing experience allowing the body to really let go and sink into deep rest.

Categories
Sound Healing

The beauty of crystal singing bowls and why they’re so special

Since I started studying Integral Sound Healing I’ve become fascinated by how different sound frequencies can clear deep-rooted and long-standing energy blockages in the body as well as promote general health and well-being. In that time I’ve loved expanding the range of tools or instruments that I bring to my sound journeys.

Recently I invested in a chakra set of 7 beautiful white frosted crystal singing bowls which I really love: I frequently set them out in the living room and get totally lost in their exquisite sounds.

So what is it that makes crystal singing bowls so special? And what can they add to a sound journey?

Well firstly, crystal singing bowls have beautiful pure, clear sounds. They have an angelic quality to them which creates a feeling of peace and harmony. Nothing scratches or grates. They have a long sustain and amazing harmonic tones.

Crystal singing bowls are a by-product of the electronics industry. They were originally used to make components for microchips as they could withstand very high temperatures. Somewhere along the line, sound healers found that they created beautiful healing sounds and they are now made specifically for sound healing. They are made of 99.9% quartz and so contain all the qualities of quartz crystals. Quartz has the innate ability to amplify, transform, store, focus and transfer energy which is why it is used in the electronics industry. Likewise, the human body is said to contain crystalline structures which will transmit the sounds received from the bowls through our organs, tissues and cells. Hence, having a strong positive intention is very important when working with crystal singing bowls.

Because they produce exact notes and pure tones, they are very effective in chakra balancing and can be used on and off the body. Placed directly on the body they give the client a direct experience of the vibrations moving through blocked chakras removing deep, ingrained physical, emotional and mental imbalances and getting to the root of issues. Long standing pain can be alleviated as the emotional blocks behind the pain are removed. If you have a long-standing back problem for example, you may not even be aware of the fact that you are creating tension through the way you stand or hold yourself – you may be protecting your back from further injury and so creating tension. Once you become aware of this, the pattern can be released, the natural energy flow restored and the back pain vanishes as if by magic.

Finally the frequencies of crystal singing bowls have the abilities to affect our brainwaves slowing them down from our daily waking state of beta into the relaxed meditative state of alpha or even deeper into the theta state where we can change our subconscious beliefs and activate our bodies’ own healing. The most common feedback that I receive from participants at my regular sound events is that they have never felt so relaxed. And it feels effortless – like meditation without the work it usually takes to get there. There is a very special silence at the end of a sound bath as people slowly start to become present again.

So crystal singing bowls can bring us back to our natural state of balance returning our chakras, aura and physical body to its natural vibration and flow.

I love playing my crystal bowls as they allow me to enter totally into the present moment. Absorbed in their sounds I feel at one with my bowls.

If you’ve never experienced the wonders of crystal singing bowls, I’ll be doing a special meditation with them at my next sound bath – to help you relax into the sound bath and connect with your emotions.  There will also be Tibetan singing bowls, gongs, some Shamanic drumming, koshi chimes and healing voice. I’m so looking forward to sharing my beautiful bowls with you.

Next sound journey: Friday 10th June

Categories
Integral Sound Healing Sound Healing

So how does Integral Sound Healing work?

Integral Sound Healing is a powerful process which balances the five levels of our being:

  • the physical (our body)
  • the emotional (our feelings)
  • the mental (our thoughts)
  • Soul (our inner wisdom)
  • Spirit (our higher guidance)

You can read about it here

But in this post I’d like to focus on how it works and what to expect when you have a 1 to 1 session.

Many of you will be familiar with the structure of a sound journey and how the sounds of singing bowls, gongs and other instruments entrain our brainwaves to a state of deep relaxation. Many people report sleeping really well after a sound bath and feeling more balanced in general.

But Integral Sound Healing is so much more. Deep relaxation is just the first part that allows us access to our subconscious beliefs. Working with these can facilitate change on a deep level. They can help us move forward from places we are stuck. They can help us let go of old emotions that are trapped in our bodies leaving us space to enjoy the present moment.

When you come for a 1 to 1 session we start with some coaching about where you are in life and what you would like to achieve. We then set a positive intention for your session. How would you like to feel? What would you like to have in your life?

The next part is quite magical. Once you are relaxed on the therapy couch I carry out an energy assessment with a chime bar. When you have energy blockages in the body, the sound of instruments will change – either suddenly dropping off or fizzing/getting louder. This allows me to hear which parts of your body and your biofield need attention. I work in 5 layers corresponding to the 5 levels of consciousness.

After playing some relaxing sounds to engage your parasympathetic nervous system (and the vagus nerve), I will then work with instruments directly on your body; that could be with singing bowls or tuning forks. The vibrations from these instruments will either break up blocked energy or nourish areas of depleted energy.

I always liken the energy flow in our bodies to a river that might have been dammed – the flow is held back and the water becomes stagnant while the ground on the other side of the dam may be arid/bone dry. Once the dam is removed (slowly and gently!) the river starts to flow again, the blockage is removed and the land on the other side receives the nourishment it needs. And so it is with our bodies. If we have a blocked chakra, the chakras either side may be depleted and need nourished.

So sound healing will allow whatever is suppressed in your body to be released – that could be old emotions, old grief, old anger or old thought patterns that no longer serve you. It could also be muscle tension as tuning forks, in particular, stimulate blood flow in the body by dilating the blood vessels. So you may feel warmth and tingling as the energy flow is restored.

A 1 to 1 Integral Sound Healing session is interactive: I may ask you to make sounds, to move your body, to sigh, to focus inside on a particular area, to use visualisation and other techniques to help this release.

There may also be some resistance to letting go. Often we fear the unknown: we prefer to keep old feelings even if they are painful and uncomfortable because they are familiar. Have you ever heard the saying “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t”?

I prefer saying something like: “Why choose to stay with old pain, when you could recreate an amazing future full of joy and energy?”

Once we release what no longer serves us, there is a vacuum which we now fill. Now is the time when it’s important to remind ourselves of our new positive beliefs to replace the old, helping us to create new patterns. I will play gentle, harmonising sounds reminding you of your intention for this session.

After this I will use some shakers or a soft drum beat to ground you again so that you will feel back in your body after your journey. Then finally you will have some moments of silence. Sound healing is like throwing a stone into a pond – the vibrations will move through your cells like the ripples. It’s like taking a sonic pill which takes time to take effect. In fact, you will feel the effects for the next few days.

I’ll also encourage you to take charge of your own healing: between sessions, I might suggest a daily self care practice for you like playing your own sound healing instrument, or chanting a mantra daily or using vowel sounds. I might even give you some tracks to listen to on YouTube if you have sleep problems. You will get an After Care sheet too.

Integral Sound Healing is very much about taking charge of your own health. That way change comes much quicker.

If you would like to book a 90 minute session, please get in touch by emailing info@soundbalancescotland.co.uk or texting 07756 490562. I look forward to hearing from you and accompanying you on your journey.

 

Categories
Sound Healing

The Healing Power of Sound

Are you someone who finds it hard to meditate? Do you get restless and feel as if your mind goes into overdrive? Do you find it hard to relax and let go?

Taking part in a sound journey is often described by my participants as going into a deep meditation without the effort that it usually takes to get there. In fact, singing bowls are so powerful that they work even if we are trying to stay alert.

Personally I love to take part in sound journeys as a participant and I am aware of the part of my conscious mind that is trying to work out what the sound practitioner is doing – playing bowls or using chimes or a certain sequence. My mind gets intrigued and thinks, “Mmm, I must remember that”. But despite this, I always find that 10 minutes in, my mind just lets go, relaxes and I fall into a deep relaxation. I feel so relaxed that I get little tingles up and down my spine. I go on a journey. Sometimes I am totally unaware of where I’ve gone, other times I get guidance that’s relevant to my life. I might meet a spirit guide or receive a message from an angel. My inner critic and my thinking brain go quiet. They allow my intuition and inner guidance (what I like to call my wisest part) to shine through often with moments of great clarity. I return with a deep sense of calm and the knowledge that all my problems are going to work out and that I am ok.

As a practitioner, I tune into the energy in the room and am often in awe of the changes. I can hear people’s breathing change and feel tension dissipating; everyone is very still.  I also love the sharing part at the end where people share their experiences and some of the journeys they’ve gone on. This deep sense of calm permeates the studio. And I feel privileged to be able to channel this energy.

So what happens in a sound journey and what should I expect?

Singing bowls create vibrational energy which entrains our brain waves. Normally, when we go about our everyday business, our brain waves are in beta: thinking, doing, being busy. Then when we slow down and meditate, our brain waves slow into alpha and if we go really deep, they slow into theta. This is where the magic happens: our conscious mind lets go and our natural healing mechanisms kick in. Our muscles and blood vessels relax so the energy can flow more easily around the body. This is why we feel so deeply relaxed and nourished by sound. And since sound vibrates, different bowls and sounds will work on different chakras on the body helping to clear any blockages.

Come with an open mind and make sure you have a comfortable space at home where you can relax and not be distubed – have plenty blankets and pillows to hand.

Everyone has a different experience so leave your expectations at the door. All you have to do is lie down or sit in a comfortable position, relax and let go.  Allow your consciousness to really focus on the sounds, tune in and let them transport you to a different place. I play Koshi Chimes, Tibetan Singing Bowls, percussion, Shamanic Drum and Healing Voice. Breathe and relax. At the end, just lie in stillness for around 5 minutes as the sounds continue to work. Then I bring you gently back with a song or a poem. You have plenty of time to reground, drink some water and share your experience if you feel drawn too. The vibrations will stay with you for several days, having worked deeply on your body.

Sound Journeys take place regularly on Zoom. The next one is Friday 10th June. Details on the events page.