These days, there’s no shortage of Cannabis-infused wellness activities available – from yoga and meditation to massage and tai chi. One modality that’s taken center stage recently though is the sound bath: A full-body meditative experience employing various instruments to generate vibrations meant to heal and balance one’s mind, body and spirit.
To see (and feel) what all the buzz was about, I signed up for a 60-minute group session at Let’s Get Tuned – a gorgeous sound healing/yoga studio overlooking the Pacific in Morro Bay, California. This new studio is owned and operated by a married couple of holistic healing practitioners named Jon Nowaczyk and Natalie Teichmann, whose hundreds of hours of sound-healer training translates into profound insights into the practice.
“We don’t just hear with our ears – we also hear through bone conduction and through our skin. So in a way, we are all one big ear … or rather, millions of small ears,” Natalie explains. “The harmonious tones in a sound bath provide a steady vibration to the body, allowing you to enter a state of balance called neural coherence. It’s like taking a deep breath for your nervous system. That creates a feeling of being at peace, and once your body feels safe and relaxed, it can begin to heal itself.”
Psychologically speaking, the meditative mindset induced by sound bathing can help ease anxiety and facilitate better sleep, as well as fuel motivation, inspiration and creativity. Physiologically, the vibrations activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which in turn can increase blood flow and help reduce pain and inflammation. It also stimulates nitric oxide production, which aids in digestion, and bolsters memory and the immune system. Basically, sound healing acts like a massage for our internal organs.
“All matter is vibrating, so everything has a sound – including the cells in our bodies,” explains Natalie. “During the sound bath, it’s like your cells are having a synchronized flash mob dance party … they’re getting shaken up. If we’re in a pool and I push the water towards you, you can see that wave. Well, it’s the same with sound – only it’s not as tangible.”
One way to visualize that effect is with cymatics (the science of seeing sound) – where sand on a blank plate vibrates into intricate geometric patterns when different sounds are played.
“With cymatics, that’s the visual representation of a frequency,” Jon notes. “The higher the frequency, the more intricate the pattern gets … the lower the frequency, the wider and bigger the pattern is. We can almost imagine that happening to the water molecules in our body as they’re shaping to that frequency.”
Considering the human body is composed of 70% water, you can imagine the kind of effect that’s having on a cellular level.
“These frequencies are like sonic multivitamins,” he continues. “If you have just one frequency, the sound is very targeted … but for overall health, you want a full spectrum of sound.” (You know – kind of like with cannabinoids.)
After our discussion (and a quick puff for me outside) it was time for the session. Once we all picked our spots, got comfy with our yoga mats and blankets and closed our eyes, Jon dimmed the lights and began the sound bath. First came the Crystal Tones singing bowls – sculpted from quartz crystal and infused with precious metals and gemstones like topaz, gold and selenite. The sound was so relaxing that I immediately felt my jaw fully relax and my face soften.
Next up were the steel gongs from Grotta Sonora in Italy, which he played by sliding a silicone friction mallet across them. At first, the low hum came in soft waves and ripples … but as he began to play harder it felt like a herd of wild horses running by us. I took deeper and deeper breaths as I felt the vibration of the sound permeate throughout my entire body.
Finally, Jon eased us out with the soft, soothing sound of Koshi chimes, which washed over each person as he circulated around the space. The gentle tinkling sound made me feel like I was entering a magical woodland, being greeted by fairies and gnomes. I was indeed in the safety zone and felt amazing. Before I knew it, the hour was up and I was slowly opening my eyes, readjusting to the light, and feeling relaxed and refreshed.
Sound healing offers us a safe space where we can truly let go and get our inner frequencies in tune with the universe. If you are looking to go deeper within your own wellness practice, I highly recommend it.