We’re all big fans of sound baths at The Natural Health Hub. Sonja Gundry‘s monthly sound baths are a highlight that get booked up fast. You come away so rested and calm and at one with the world – yet all you’ve done for the past hour is lie on your back and let the sounds of music bowls and gongs waft over you! People report not only feeling more relaxed and energised afterwards, and sleeping better, but also being in less pain, less anxious, more cheerful, more productive and creative, and and and… How does something so simple have such profound effects?
We asked Sonja to explain
Brainwaves: the all-important element
As humans our brainwaves operate at different levels, or wavelengths, depending on what we are doing – and it is by taking us ‘down’ into lower-frequency bandwidths that sound baths achieve this deep state of relaxation. Here’s the difference between the various types of brainwaves.
- Beta waves Our brain operates at this frequency in our normal awake state. Beta waves occur when we are alert, concentrating and operating day to day. It is the wavelength we use for focused mental activity.
- Alpha waves Here we’re soft and daydreamy. It’s the state you slip into when you are drifting off to sleep, often associated with a meditative state of deep relaxation which can aid the reduction of our cortisol stress hormone levels. You can experience emotions such as joy, peace, tranquility and bliss.
- Theta waves This frequency of brainwaves occurs most often in sleep (during the periods of rapid eye movement), but also in deep meditation. You withdraw focus from the world, turn your consciousness within and tune out. This is where sound baths take you if you allow your mind and body to fully surrender to the sounds. Five to 15 minutes of theta waves help replenish our sodium and potassium levels, which benefits fluid levels for healthy muscles reflexes and nerve function.
- Delta waves Fast asleep! It is preferable that you don’t go into delta during a sound bath but if you do that’s just fine and is a repair state. Or you obviously needed a kip…
Benefits of alpha and theta waves
Sound baths put us into a deep relaxed state where alpha and theta waves are dominant. If you allow your mind and body to surrender or ‘soften’ into these brainwave states it is deeply restorative for the body.
This is how Sonja describes alpha and theta waves: ‘They have potential to take you into a relaxed altered state of consciousness. Physically, mentally and emotionally you are allowing yourself the greatest power to repair. You may relax to an extent that people often say they felt they were floating, or the edges of their body “soften”. Sometimes you might see a kaleidoscope of colours, or you might have fascinating imagery flit through your thoughts like moments of your life playing out as in a film.
‘Alpha and theta waves are a window into joy, peace, clarity, intuition and enlightenment.’ Which is why people often report having lightbulb moments during a sound bath, or solving a problem they’ve been grappling with.
Why Sonja’s sound baths are so special
There are many sound baths being advertised – which is great because more people are learning about them and benefiting from them. But, says Sue Leach, owner of The Hub, it is important to choose your sound bath wisely: ‘Sonja is a trained Therapeutic Sound Practitioner so her sound baths take you on a “sound journey”. She uses a progression of sounds, carefully weaving the low relaxing tones with the higher, more stimulating tones so you can slowly and progressively “descend” or “soften” from your everyday beta wave state. There is a mix of frequencies, moving, for example, from the Himalayan bowls to gongs to the crystal bowls, to gently allow you to surrender.
‘But Sonja is always mindful of how people are responding and watching constantly to make sure everyone is comfortable with this progression. Even more importantly, she always ends with percussion – percussion instruments like a rain stick bring people’s brainwaves back into beta.’ Which is crucial, of course, to allow you to enter back into your normal life. And drive home safely!
Dates for Sonja’s sound baths: 6.30-7.30pm on 17 September, 15 October, 12 November on 3 December.
To book: head on to our Events page