I’d never been to or even knew what a Soundbath was until just over a year ago. I’d heard of sound healing over the years but didn’t have a great understanding of it and when I visited Woodstock in America last year, I came across a sound healing therapist in my quest for new types of healing experiences. I was in Woodstock afterall, the hippie epicentre of the east coast! I went for a one to one sound healing and the experience was completely mind blowing. The practitioner was warm and gentle, she was intuitive and curious. Her therapy room was a sight to behold. Every surface was covered with instruments of sound, wall to wall, they were even hanging from the ceiling. There were countless Tibetan singing bowls of all sizes, massive gongs, rattles, bells, drums and all sorts of instruments I’d never seen before. We talked for a bit and she got a sense of what she needed to work on. I lay on the plinth, closed my eyes and for 90 minutes I was transported to another dimension. I was in a world somewhere between awake and asleep. I would later discover that my brain waves had switched to theta – the level at which we feel bliss, at which meditation is successful, which induces deep relaxation, where healing and coherence can happen in the body. After I came back into my body, I felt physical shifts in my energy, I felt like a weight had lifted. I felt like a lot of healing had taken place. It elevated my mood, I felt bliss, calm, love… I was hooked. A few days later, I went to a soundbath event run by the same therapist where 50+ people came and experienced the sound together. Again, I felt bliss, deep relaxation, experienced another dimension. This time was different, because it wasn’t a tailored one to one therapy but it was still a hugely enjoyable and healing experience.
That was in September 2018. I came home and started looking into attending soundbath events. I found one in Athlone and I attended it once. It was a lovely experience but it was an hour’s drive and I didn’t feel like a long drive after being in a meditative state for an hour! There was nothing closer to home so I put the feelers out on Facebook to see if anyone was practicing locally. A few people mentioned sound therapist Andy Tyler-White. We chatted online and connected, decided on a date to run an event and over 30 people showed up. We couldn’t believe it. So we decided to make it a monthly event. The event grew more and more popular with most selling out weeks in advance.
Andy is an amazing sound therapist. He has been using sound healing for 19 years. His gentle manner and soothing voice allows for an easy transition into the theta brainwave state. He holds the space for the 50-60 attendees, guides us into a journey of breathing, colour, sounds and relaxation. He makes the space feel safe while he looks out for every participant. He encourages us to get comfortable, move around on the mat if you need to, snuggle up under the blanket and be bathed in sounds. He uses singing bowls, tshinga, tongue drum (my favourite), gongs, chimes and other instruments rich in harmonic frequencies. Stresses are melted away, toxins are flushed from the cells and if you are lucky, you might slip into a deep meditative state. I often use this time to go into my body to ask it what it needs, I use the time to connect to my intuition, it is ripe for the picking.
Sound therapy is not a new thing, it dates back to prehistoric times. Many tribes used drums and chanting as a way to heal the sick. The body contains thousands of frequencies, many of which resonate with the instruments used in a sound healing experience. The body’s cells and energy fields respond to the sounds causing them to do many things – release toxins, become coherent, align allowing energy to flow better resulting in enhanced health.
The feedback from people who have attended the events over the last year has been so encouraging. About three quarters of the attendees are regulars with many reporting that they live for this event every month, some me time, some self care, time away from the house and the kids! Every month is different and some experiences are better than others. I find sometimes that I am extra tired after a soundbath and then that night I will sleep like a log. Sometimes I find that my energy is renewed. Sometimes I fall asleep for the whole lot of it and sometimes I’ll lie awake unable to slow down the thinking. It varies. It is time out, it is chill time, it is time to think if that’s what you need to do! It’s time to sleep, time to meditate, time to connect within, time for chilling. It’s what you make of it.
Andy finishes off the session by using a rattle over every person individually and declares ‘In beauty it is done’. We then have herbal tea kindly donated by Teresa in Healthy Beings food store and healthy treats, usually some organic biscuits or some homemade energy balls. This month for our first birthday, we will be having cake and treats – healthy ones of course!
This video from Anthony Holland shows a scientific explanation of the benefits of sound healing for health if you’d like a look, it’s fascinating how it works.