Get to know more about the ancient-practice-now-wellness-trend that’s got even Kendall Jenner and Bretman Rock hooked
In a nutshell, sound healing describes the practice of producing sustained vibrations using specific instruments to help promote meditation, relaxation, and overall well-being. At guided meditations and sound therapy sessions, specialized instruments like Tibetan and Himalayan singing bowls, gongs, tuning forks, and drums are used to create deep tones for therapeutic atmospheres or sound baths.
Over the past decade or so, scientific communities have also acknowledged this practice by studying the links between sound baths and improved moods. Sound baths have also seen an uptick in interest in the past few years due to major proponents like Kendall Jenner and Bretman Rock using crystal singing bowls to meditate and soothe their anxiety.
An immersive meditative experience, sound baths are done while seated or lying down to help release stress, anxiety, and tension with help from experts using singing bowls and other percussion instruments. At guided meditations and sound therapy sessions, meditation prompts and visualization exercises could be incorporated as well to help you along in your immersion. That said, many people also create their own sound bath experiences by circling or striking mallets on a spread of metal and crystal bowls.
One such person is Kendall Jenner. In 2021, she posted a video of herself circling and striking her singing bowls to produce sustained vibrations. In 2022, she credited her meditative practice with helping to quiet her mind and allow her to be more present. Bretman Rock also commonly uses crystal singing bowls to meditate in his garden, which he shares on his Instagram Stories.
As mentioned, sound healing isn’t just a recent fad. It has a storied origin in Tibetan and Himalayan cultures, with the first record of sound being used to heal going back to 207 BC in China during the Qin Dynasty. Now, there is a growing body of research lending credence to sound healing and its impact on certain mental and physical conditions, such as chronic stress and metastatic cancer.
Some studies corroborate the merit of sound healing for improving emotional and spiritual well-being, such as a 2022 study and a 2016 study. Both noted that singing bowl meditations can be used as low-cost and low-technology therapeutic techniques for reducing feelings of tension, anxiety, and depression, and increasing spiritual well-being. Sound therapy can also be seen as a low-risk complement to physical therapy.
Nevertheless, there is not enough evidence to substantiate that singing bowls and sound baths would definitely work to improve the health and well-being of most people. One systematic review published in 2020 even said that singing bowl therapies cannot be recommended at this stage, but that more robust studies on singing bowl therapy should be made since the little evidence so far suggests positive health effects.
Our takeaway? While sound baths may not work on everyone and may not have proven effects, giving yourself the time and space to just meditate through sound would still do you some good by encouraging deep breathing and relaxation. After all, what harm could come from taking a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life? Instead of investing in crystal singing bowls and guided meditations straight away, check out pre-recorded sound baths first and see how it feels for you.