Our Journey...And Yours
Updated: Dec 1, 2019
Chronic stress and feelings of overwhelm are what led me to searching for solutions. One bright sunny day at a seaside market in Southern California, I came upon a monk-like man from Nepal named Deep Deoja selling odd-looking metal bowls that looked like salad bowls (called ‘singing bowls’ due to the humming sound created when the bowl is tapped or rubbed with a mallet). With a warm and welcoming smile, he tapped these enigmatic metal bell-like bowls near me, letting the sound trail off. I was enveloped by a soothing gentle vibration that somehow calmed my nerves. “Wow!” I exclaimed to my husband, Mike. That was weird and yet felt oddly soothing. The monk-like man, Deep, told me about his ‘sound baths’ in which he played numerous metal singing bowls. I was intrigued, feeling compelled to try it out and explore it, being drawn to this strange calming vibration from these bowls.
One evening, I followed Deep’s directions to a cozy studio in which we all laid down on yoga mats and bathed in sound vibrations. The calm, peaceful, tranquil feeling I felt after this sound bath beckoned me to return again and again. What really struck me, though, was that everyone at these sound baths had such a relaxed facial expression and demeanor after experiencing the sound healing. They were in the zone, so to speak.
“Hmmm,” I thought, incredibly curious. The research psychologist in me was deeply intrigued by this phenomena. How could tapping and rubbing these strange metal bowls, gongs, and other vibrational instruments have such an obvious and profound effect? Thus began my journey into studying the effects of sound baths, also called sound healing or singing bowl meditations.
The results of our sound healing study were significant and exciting. Participants of the sound baths invariably reported extremely reduced levels of tension on their questionnaires. Additionally, anxiety and depressed mood scores were strongly reduced. Interestingly, participants’ feelings of spiritual well-being were increased and physical pain levels were decreased.
We are eagerly anticipating conducting our next studies which will involved physiological measurements such as blood pressure, heart rate, heart rate variability (a measure of relaxation), and EEG (to measure potential changes in brainwaves indicating a deeply relaxed state). Additionally, we will take blood and saliva samples to measure the body’s chemical changes such as changes in cortisol (called ‘the stress hormone’).
So, how could this help you? Excellent question, grasshopper. By proving the physiological changes in your body, including reduced stress, the applications are almost unlimited for improved health and well-being. These sound baths (a low-cost, low-technology technique) could be implemented in community centers, clinics, hospitals, the list goes on. If these sound baths were proven to have a strong impact on the reduction of stress (as well as tension, anxiety, and depressed mood), our next steps would include pursuing insurance coverage of this complementary health technique, which would make this affordable technique even more widely available to the public – including to you.
We are on the verge of a breakthrough in complementary medicine with potentially profound effects for you. We hope you join us as pioneers in supporting this journey through being a research subject, donating to our research, or offering any special or unique skills you can provide to this exciting endeavor. We look forward to hearing from you!
Dr. Tamara Goldsby and the sound healing research team.