Sound Baths: What to Expect

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For centuries, healers have recognized the restorative power of sounds and vibrations. Today, these elements continue to be incorporated into many types of treatment, including a practice called sound bath therapy.

What is a Sound Bath?

Sound baths may be referred to by a variety of terms, including sound therapy, sound bath therapy, and sound bath meditation. Though there can be variations depending on who is conducting (and participating in) the session, most share a few common features: 

  • A sound bath is an immersive, full-body experience that incorporates resonant sounds and vibrations.
  • Sound baths are typically group events, with participants lying comfortably on their backs while the sound washes over and around them.
  • Some sound bath practitioners encourage participants to chant or repeat mantras, while others prefer that participants remain silent.
  • The sounds that are central to sound bath therapy aren’t usually melodic or rhythmic. In other words, you shouldn’t expect to hear recognizable music when participating in a sound bath.
  • Sound therapy can incorporate a variety of instruments, including singing bowls, chimes, gongs, and tuning forks, as well as the human voice.


Experts aren’t entirely sure how sound baths produce their beneficial effects, but one common theory is that certain sounds and vibrations can prompt the brain to produce alpha or theta waves, which are associated with serene moments such as periods of deep relaxation and light sleep.

People getting sound bath therapy for their mental health
People at a sound bath therapy session Conscious Health in Los Angeles, California

What Does Sound Bath Therapy Treat?

Sound baths have been used to treat a variety of physical and psychological concerns, including:

  • Muscle tension
  • Stress
  • Pain
  • Sleep problems
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Trauma


Few, if any, experts would claim that sound baths alone can cure problems like these. In most cases, sound therapy may be most beneficial when used in conjunction with other therapeutic techniques and self-soothing practices.

This is similar to how mindfulness, meditation, journaling, yoga, and other holistic services can promote improved quality of life. These practices are often incorporated into comprehensive treatment plans for mental and behavioral health challenges, but their benefits aren’t limited to the treatment environment. They can also be valuable self-care or stress-management tools that you can use throughout your life.

As either a one-time experience or a regular practice, sound baths can fit into your overall wellness plan in whichever way works best for you. 

Do Sound Baths Actually Work?

In theory, sound baths seem like they could be helpful. But how can you know if they really work?

Although this practice falls outside the bounds of traditional Western healthcare, that doesn’t mean that researchers have ignored the topic. Several studies have investigated if (and how) sound bath therapy works.

For example, in September 2016, the Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine published an observational study on the effects of singing bowl sound meditation. That study, which involved 62 participants (53 women and nine men, with an average age of 49.7), yielded the following information:

  • Participants’ pre- and post-session scores on the short form of the Profile of Mood States (POMS-SF) indicated that this form of sound therapy had “highly significant effects” on relaxation and stress alleviation.
  • The experience led to reductions in anxiety and depression as scored on the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). 
  • In the immediate aftermath of the singing bowl sound therapy session, participants exhibited an increased sense of faith and spiritual well-being as scored on the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Spiritual Well-Being Scale (FACIT-SP).
  • Participants in the 40-59 age range reported the greatest reduction in physical pain, with an average reduction from 2.0 to 0.79 on a five-point scale.


The corresponding author of this study was Tamara Goldsby, PhD, a research psychologist with the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). In 2021, Goldsby told TODAY that sound bath therapy can produce notable physical reactions that are associated with stress relief.

“We found that sound baths elicit the relaxation response, and in the relaxation response the body relaxes, the blood pressure lowers, heart rate lowers and the body basically goes into healing mode,” she said. “This is a counter to the fight-or-flight response. People, when they are in chronic stress, they tend to be in fight-or-flight mode.”

Finding Sound Baths Near You

When you’re trying to find sound baths near you, it is important to pay attention to who is offering the service. 

There are no mandatory education, licensing, or certification requirements for becoming a sound bath practitioner, which means that virtually anyone could offer this service. 

To ensure that you have the best experience, you will want to be sure you’ve found an experienced and reputable provider.

As you evaluate your options, here are a few questions that can help you make the best choice:

  • How long have you been providing sound baths?
  • Can you describe your training and experience?
  • What prompted you to become a sound bath practitioner?
  • What types of benefits can I expect to get from a sound bath?
  • How would you describe a successful sound bath experience?
  • Can I talk to any of your current or previous clients?
  • Can I observe a session or learn more about how you conduct sound baths?


Reputable providers should always be happy to answer these or any other questions, so that you have the details you need to make the most informed decisions.

Visit Conscious Health for Our Next Sound Bath Event 

Conscious Health provides a dynamic array of innovative, evidence-based mental health services to help adults achieve improved well-being and elevated consciousness. 

To educate the public about the power of transformative mental healthcare, we regularly invite renowned professionals to speak about emerging therapeutic techniques and cutting-edge technologies. We also host sound bath sessions and other interactive experiences at our center in LA’s Larchmont neighborhood. 

To ensure that you don’t miss our next sound bath session, or to learn about our many other educational and therapeutic opportunities, please bookmark our Events page – and be sure to check back on a regular basis! 

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