What is a Sound Bath? Jamie Ford Explains the Healing Benefits of Sound
We’re really looking forward to the upcoming sound bath on May 29th, led by Jamie Ford! Relax in savasana as the healing tones of planetary gongs and crystal singing bowls bathe you in vibration. Together, we will reach deep states of relaxation and meditation. Leave feeling “re-tuned”, restored and rebalanced.
Jamie’s intention is to help people experience more joy in their lives. She does this through her passion for sound and yoga. Jamie plays Paiste Planetary Gongs and crystal singing bowls, and has been healing with sound for nearly 10 years.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself
I am a California native and have lived in LA for about 16 years. While I’ve lived a few other places I am currently really enjoying living in LA. I”m married, no kids, but have a dog and a cat. My focus in life is joy and in my “work” I like to help others experience more joy and happiness on a regular basis.
What is a sound bath?
A sound bath is like a concert with gongs and crystal singing bowls. I work with gongs tuned to the orbital properties of the planets, sun, moon, and other celestial bodies so the energy of the cosmos are brought into the experience. Generally participants lay in savasana and just receive the sounds. The resonance of the instruments is strong and it’s not just an auditory experience – it’s also like receiving a sound massage. Most people experience deep states of relaxation and altered states of consciousness….some people fall asleep. You can also treat the sound bath as a meditation and focus your mind on the sounds. When doing this the experience can greatly expand consciousness, increase mental focus and awareness, and give you all the benefits of meditation. Generally people leave sound baths feeling relaxed, balanced, and re-tuned (and sometimes ready for a nap!).
What was your first introduction to sound baths and how did you get started?
I took my first yoga class in 2000 and the teacher played a gong at the end. I was immediately in love! I would go to class just to hear the gong and would be so upset if it weren’t played at the end. I credit the gong with sparking my interest in yoga. At the time I was in college studying Biology and had absolutely no idea that I would make gongs my career! I worked as a biologist for about 9 months, quit and decided to go to acupuncture school. It is there that I discovered energy work and soon massage. I enjoyed doing massage more than the idea of acupuncture so I started a massage business. About a year in I found tuning forks online and thought it would be fun to add them in to sessions. I loved working with sound and saw amazing benefits in my clients. I soon found a teacher who had gongs, bowls, and other sound instruments. I learned that gongs could be tuned to the planets and it was then I decided I would get them all and play the sounds of the universe for people. I bought my first gong (Jupiter), which I just played for my clients, and then another year later got a couple more and gave my first sound bath. That was about 9 years ago and I still absolutely love doing sound baths. They are so fun and creative – each one is different.
What kind of sounds do you create, what instruments do you use and what are the healing aspects of the sound, if any?
In sound baths I use primarily gongs and crystal bowls. In private sessions I use my voice, tuning forks, gongs, bowls, drums, rattles, and other sound instruments. I work with many types of sound as they all bring a different flavor to the session and can offer a different healing experience. Sound has been used for healing, increasing awareness, altering states of consciousness and more since the dawn of the human race. Chanting, singing, drumming are all important parts of indigenous cultures. There are many ways in which sound can create healing and a lot of research is being conducted now as interest in sound healing grows. One way sound can help create deep states of relaxation is through altering our brainwave states. When our brainwave state moves from the normal waking state (Beta) down to Alpha (conscious relaxed state), Theta (dreamlike state), and sometimes even delta (deep sleep) we experience a decrease in heart rate and blood pressure, our bodies relax, our breath deepens, and we move into a receptive state where deep healing can occur.
Sound has profound affects on our nervous system – helping to turn on our parasympathetic nervous system which is our relaxation response. Many of us spend too much time with an active sympathetic nervous system, which is our fight or flight response….when we can active our parasympathetic nervous system we give our bodies a chance to relax and heal. Through all of the various tones of the gongs and bowls the body is offered an opportunity to resonate with a healing frequency as opposed to entraining with a harmful one. You are in essence giving your body, mind, and energy an opportunity to shift to a higher frequency and let go of lower vibrational thoughts, emotions, and other issues.
What do you hope to share and what can people expect during your sound bath?
Each sound bath can yield a very different experience. No two are the same and your experience will have to do with the gongs I bring, the group you are with, the location, how you are feeling, how I’m feeling, what is happening planetarily and much more. Sometimes you may be very relaxed and even fall asleep, other times you may feel activated and have a hard time laying still. Neither is better than the other – they are just different. Generally people can expect to feel more calm, receptive, and balanced afterwards but sometimes the sound will activate what needs to be cleared out of the way in order to reach that state of peace. My intention is that each person receive what they need in order to live a more joyful, peaceful, and happy life.