What on earth is a sound bath? You may ask. A Liverpudlian describing a relaxing wash? Nope.

In short, a sound bath is a meditative experience where those in attendance are “bathed” in sound waves.

These waves are produced by various "healing" instruments such as singing bowls, percussion, chimes, rattles, tuning forks, the human voice itself and even gongs.

During the sound bath, participants lie on their backs - also referred to as the Savasana position in yoga - the whole time.

What is a sound bath?

“The intention is really to change and help balance the energy of the participants. During a sound bath, you don’t want to hook into a melody. You don’t want to repeat things because you don’t want the brain to recognize a repeated beat.

"Instead, you want participants to release, and you want the brain to let go,” explains Tamalyn Miller, the lead sound practitioner at Naturopathica Chelsea in New York.

I like to consider myself open-minded and open to trying new things. However, I was more than sceptical upon learning someone would be bathing me in sounds.

My first sound bath took place in a lodge on the edge of Loch Lomond, courtesy of the wonderful hiking app AllTrails.

Sound bathing in Loch Lomond

The stormy weather, the mesmerising Loch and the warm lodge had already placed me in a tranquil state - it really is the perfect place for hikers. I remember staring out at a boat rocking upon the waves with an almost hypnotizing rhythm and becoming lost for a time. It was beyond peaceful and about to get even more so, in a way.

Our group entered a private room in the lodge and each had a mat, a pillow and a blanket set out for each of us. We promptly chose a mat and then listened to our sound bath instructor's introduction.

She was a lovely lady with a thick European accent that I couldn't quite place, but it was definitely suited to sound bathing. Her accent was in fact so soothing I have totally forgotten her name, so I will call her, Susan, henceforth.

Swindon Advertiser: I could've drifted away just watching this boat rock back and forth upon the waves I could've drifted away just watching this boat rock back and forth upon the waves (Image: Newsquest)

Susan gave a short summary of what the next hour or so had in store for us and said it was normal to fall asleep during the process. She then asked us to sing our names. 

"Matttyy", I sang briefly, as everyone else did with their name. Susan asked us to go again, "Mattyyy".

Susan then demonstrated how it should be done, "Susaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn", and asked us to go again. "Matttyyy", it was embarrassing, ok?

A miffed Susan eventually relented and began the sound bath.

Entering the sound bath

The various instruments used in a sound bath represent the elements, a gong for example is the wind element and the candles that were placed around the room represent fire.

We lay down and let Susan take over. I have to admit, it was relaxing from the get-go. Snug, sleepy and warm, with the gentle patter of rain on the window complementing Susan's elements, it felt like I could sleep for hours.

And that I did. It was a strange feeling caught in the purgatory between sleep and consciousness, almost like a lucid dream. 

“The general intention of a sound bath is to create a state of harmony in the listener by using sound to clear discordance from the participants' energy fields.

"Among the benefits are relaxation, an increased sense of wellbeing, expanded awareness, and access to inner visionary experience,” says Seth Misterka, co-founder of the Crystal Sound Bath in Los Angeles.

I can't recall which instruments Susan was playing exactly, but they were working an absolute charm. For the first time in my life, I was in a meditative state and actually really enjoying the experience.

Lost in Susan's elements, all preconceptions of meditation had gone out the window and I was thoroughly appreciating the benefits. That was until...


The silence and stillness in that room could've been disrupted by a mouse’s fart, but good god that gong (air element) took me back to Oppenheimer’s IMAX screening.

Startled, I jumped at the sound and genuinely clutched my chest as it rang out through my head, I'd never felt anything like it. Honestly, “waking” back up after what I had guessed was half an hour was surreal. It had actually been almost two hours.

Susan announced the sound bath was over and asked for feedback and to describe what we went through. No one really knew what to say, we were all still a bit caught up in the whole experience. 

Some recalled past memories being unlocked, some admitted they simply slept, and I was simply trying to hide my newfound PTSD.

"I really think that after this experience you should go outside and hug a tree, just to let it all out", she suggested. I'll be honest, I'll try a sound bath but I draw the line at spooning a sycamore, Susan.

And that was that, my first ever sound bath. Will it be my last? I'm not sure. I'd certainly like to go through it again but this time prepared for the air element.

Others in the room absolutely loved it and I did as well for the most part. Sometimes you have to give in to new experiences and see where it takes you. We will see.