Some people like to unwind with a long hot bath at the end of the day. Some people prefer a sound bath. We’re talking about sound therapy, an alternative healing therapy which uses ancient singing bowls to decrease stress, anxiety, and chronic pain levels. We talk to Elaine Wujcik, a registered nurse and certified sound massage practitioner at Metta Integrative Wellness Center about the ins and outs of this ancient practice.
What is sound therapy?
I don't really like to refer to it as sound therapy. I like to use the term sound massage, because what I'm doing when I am in a session is allowing a person to relax and get in touch with his or her own self-healing capacities. I'm not going to heal you with sound, but I will help you relax with it. I also like to refer to it as a soundtrack for self-healing.
How is it beneficial?
The biggest benefit with sound massage is that it can help with letting go of stress in your life. I believe there are so many conditions that are connected to having a high level of stress, so just to be able to let go of that allows your body to help recover or come back into balance. It can provide results for sleep disorders, anxiety, PTSD, depression, and types of pain management.
What is the process like?
The entire process is very calming. First you start to relax by lying down and slowing your breath. You are then told to think positively during the experience. You are able to move and stretch a bit while lying there so that you are able to be as comfortable as possible and listen to the sounds. I think it feels like getting a massage without the skin contact.
What instruments do you use?
I mostly use the Himalayan singing bowls I was trained with, which make really soothing noises. I also use a gong, chimes, and little bells. I don’t really like to start off with a gong, because it's not as calming as the singing bowls. They are a lot louder than singing bowls, and some people like that, but I really like to work my clients up to it. The bowls really do help take down the layers of stress and clients are more receptive to them.
How long is a session?
I like to keep each session around 90 minutes, especially when you are first starting out with sound massage. Trying to do those sessions in just 60 minutes ends up being very rushed, so if you are trying to create a space of relaxation and letting go, I recommend the full 90. I also try to work with people and their schedules because people are busy, so after your first 90-minute session we can make our way to 30 if requested.