How can a soundbath help people?
Soundbaths work by inducing a near-sleep like state called an Altered State of Consciousness (ASC). You are then taken in and out of sleep, like a daydream, which allows the mind and body to rest.
No two soundbaths are ever likely to be the same as there are lots of factors which can have an effect on the experience; from the obvious such as the types of instruments used, through to the less obvious such as whether you've had anything to eat or drink beforehand (e.g. strong coffee) or your emotional or physical state (e.g. lack of sleep).
In the unlikely event that you do have an unpleasant experience with me, I'd always urge you to try another sound practitioner if you do and I'd be happy to recommend someone else.
There is a white paper available here which is authored by Lyz Cooper at The British Academy of Sound Therapy, which details the effects of a soundbath recording and in person.
Resonance & Dissonance
Resonant sounds generally relax or uplift, whereas dissonant sounds stimulate or aggravate. There is a balance to be had and timing of when a dissonant sound is required; it's as much of a science as it is an art and it takes a fair amount of practice. It also depends on an individual to a certain extent too.
It's a bit like if you've ever done some kind of wine-tasting; you get shown a bunch of different types of wines and you sample each; some will appeal to you more than others. I'm doing something very similar but with sound; showing you a broad range of sounds, sonic textures and intervals for which your body takes the ones it feels it needs.
Too much dissonance and I will likely wake you up or agitate you to varying degrees. But we all need a little dissonance to find where we have resistances in our minds and bodies. This is why I always encourage you to take slow movements during a soundbath if you feel the urge to move one way or another, including sitting up if that is more comfortable.
Ultimately, it's your time and I want you to be as comfortable as possible. Although you are listening to the sounds, you are still in control; each sound will pass, so if you do encounter one which dissonates with you, try to notice the difference in you as it changes to the next sound.
Entrainment is where two or more oscillating bodies move into synchronisation with each other. Check out the video below to see it in action.
"Well that's all very well Andy but what does it have to do with Soundbaths?" In short; drums and to a certain extent Gongs as well.
You know what also has a beat? Our hearts. And we know from the work of Dr Stephen Porges' Polyvagal theory that a lower heart rate slows the breath and relaxes the nervous system.
Different rhythms can also affect us in different ways. Marches stimulate whereas waltzes relax. The timbre of the drum, the size of the gong, the speed, volume and rhythm that I play will all contribute to how I can relax your mind and body.
Your Nervous System
Dr Alfred Tomatis claimed that the primary function of the ear is to positively or negatively charge the brain. The inner ear is comprised of a snail-shell object called the Cochlea, which is filled with tiny hairs (Cilia) which move as vibrations pass over them. These hairs convert that vibration into an electrical impulse which it sends to the brain on an auditory nerve.
Another nerve connected to your inner ear is your Vagus Nerve which is part of your parasympathetic nervous system. It runs down through your neck to your major organs such as your lungs, heart, stomach and liver distributing messages from the brain to slow your breath, lower heart rate etc.
This is how I can use sound to speak the language of your nervous system allowing you to rest, replenish and recharge.
If you're interested in learning more, I came across this amazing video a few years ago and I still think it's amazing; fast, but amazingly interesting. Enjoy!
Is there anyone who won't benefit from a Soundbath?
Although Soundbaths can help lots of people; it's not for everyone. If you know that you find certain sounds uncomfortable; maybe due to tinnitus or suffer from sound-induced epilepsy (Musicogenic Seizures), this might not be for you. If you're suffering from suicidal thoughts or psychosis, then I would encourage you to speak to your GP/nurse before booking anything.
It's also not recommended that you attend a soundbath if you are in the first trimester of pregnancy, not because there is any evidence it may harm you or your baby but because insurance companies are unlikely to cover individuals like me if your were to lose a baby.