You've listened to music. You've taken a bath. So wait, what's a sound bath? This relaxing, sensory experience can awaken your sense and enhance your relaxation routine.
So how does it work? We asked singer and sound healing artist Molly Rabuffo about the practice — including why you might want to add it to your self-care routine, and how to take one at home right now.
Who are you and what do you do?
I'm a classical singer, sound healing artist, and experience designer. In 2022, I founded Bloom Sound Collective, a community of musicians and healing artists in Brooklyn, New York, devoted to creating meaningful experiences with sound and music.
Since our founding, we have collaborated with Choral Chameleon to create the world’s first choral sound bath, which sold out and continues to tour around the Northeast. We are always dreaming up collaborations with artists of all kinds to celebrate sound, meditation, and music in community. My goal is to provide safe spaces for sonic exploration, self-discovery, and connection to others.
What's a sound bath?
A sound bath is a sonic journey designed for rest, relaxation, and energetic clarity. Led by sound healing artists, participants are invited to get comfortable by lying down and closing their eyes. Using a variety of instruments including singing bowls, gongs, chimes, percussion, and vocals, sound healing artists guide participants through the practice of deep listening — both in the sounds they are hearing and also in the emotions that arise throughout.
What kind of feelings or sensations can be evoked during a sound bath?
There is a wide spectrum of emotion that can come up throughout a sound bath, and it is different for everyone each time. Some people feel a sense of deep rest and relaxation, while others feel massive releases that result in physical reactions like crying, deep breathing, smiling, laughing, or twitching and shaking.
All of these reactions are simply energy moving through the body, catalyzed by the sound waves and vibrations of the healing instruments. The sound is a tool to move trauma and tension out of the body, which is why many people will leave a sound bath feeling lighter and more connected to the present moment.
Molly Rabuffo, founder of Bloom Sound Collective (Michaela Hession Photography)
What do I need to create a sound bath experience at home?
Before trying to accomplish a sound bath experience at home, I would recommend becoming more aware of the sounds around you in your daily life. What sounds do you notice to your right and left, or in front of and behind you? Being mindful of what you’re hearing is in itself a practice of meditation, which can achieve the same results as sitting through an hour-long sound bath.
If you are interested in sound meditation, you can find beautiful recordings online (just make sure you have a great pair of headphones, a comfy place to sit or lie down, and put your phone in another room!). You could also consider investing in a singing bowl, a shruti box, or a pair of Koshi chimes to play on your own.
Do you recommend any recordings for people to get started?
One of my favorite projects during the pandemic was creating an at-home guided sound journey for people to enjoy from home. It is only 20 minutes and includes a few suggestions and post-journey activity prompts. Enjoy here.
What would you say to people who are intrigued but also skeptical of the idea of sound baths?
The worst that can happen is you spend some time resting with yourself. You might even get a little nap. There is no right or wrong here — show up exactly as you are, be proud of yourself for trying something new, and know that you are welcome.
By Lindsay Goldwert
Lindsay Goldwert is the content director for Stripes.
Photo by Arina Krasnikova/ Pexels