It’s called a Soundbath (or Sound Bath) because people feel a bit like they are being bathed (or enveloped or cocooned) in the sound and like a bath, it is very relaxing! Usually, people lie down and get comfortable but you can experience the session in a chair if lying down is not as comfortable for you. Then the instruments are played quite quietly at first.
The Himalayan Singing Bowls are gentle and usually experienced as soothing and nurturing. Gradually big Gongs come in, quietly at first, building the sound up and down in waves. At the climax they get really quite loud, what we call ‘the fire’ which people tend to feel as exciting, powerful and cleansing. At the end, there is a series of graduated percussion instruments – twinkly sounds and then shakers, to bring you back to a more grounded waking state> Then we end with a few minutes silence.
We play in a very specific way with specific instruments, to create a deeply relaxed state very much like meditation or daydreaming. In this type of state, the can body relax, heart rate and blood pressure drop and stress hormones fall.
The most common experiences are deep relaxation, positive mood, colours behind the eyes, pain reduction, as well as dreamlike experiences, personal insights, and even what people have described as Spiritual experiences.
Naomy is qualified in the BAST method of Sound Therapy where there are over 20 years of research and development into which sound techniques are most relaxing and best facilitate the meditative type state. Most people find sound a much easier way to achieve this type of state than through other meditation techniques.
During a ‘Therapeutic’ Soundbath you are guided through a reflective process to help discover the thoughts and feelings around ‘the problem’ (pain, emotional distress, life challenges, illness etc. As with one-to-one Sound or Voice Therapy, almost any issue can be treated). Then in the state created by the sound, this usually begins to shift, often seeing the situation in a different way and answers come from yourself as to how to move forward.
After the treatment people often feel a long way from how they did at the start, often gaining a new perspective and having received important insights into themselves and their lives. From this positive state, they are supported in how to move forward. A Therapeutic Soundbath is a great way to experience Sound Therapy as we work very much as we would in a one-to-one session. People like being able to work more deeply than the purely relaxing sound bath meditation.
One to one can work more deeply still and tailor the treatment to the individual. The exploration can be more thorough and the sounds will be a more specific ‘prescription’. As a Sound and Holistic Voice Therapist Naomy works with Gongs, Bowls, Drum and Voice. Each instrument creates a different kind of meditative state and is felt differently in the body. Gongs and Drum are felt very physically for example and therefore can be particularly helpful for pain and physical tension, though Gongs are also really good to help with old patterns and emotional challenges. “I would play the gongs very differently if someone was coming for stress and anxiety than I would if it was, say for anger-related issues or for feeling stuck in life. They are big gongs, played one at each end of the couch in a one-to-one session. It’s important they be played very sensitively and if someone suffers from anxiety, even if it wasn’t what we were working on, I wouldn’t go into ‘the fire’.”
The Himalayan bowls, (sometimes known as Tibetan Singing Bowls) are more gentle, so might be indicated for example when someone is feeling upset or vulnerable and is more in need of nurture or soothing, though we would often also combine them with the gongs as we do in the group Soundbath for many issues when appropriate.
A Himalayan Bowl treatment on its own can consist of a lovely vibrational massage with the large bowl played on the person’s back and/or arms, legs or feet before moving into an ‘off-body’ sound treatment – where the bowls are played away from the person. Again, it can be good for pain and tension in any of those areas or just as a lovely treat! You don’t have to have a particular problem or issue to come for Sound Therapy, as it is found to be inherently relaxing and very enjoyable.
During a one-to-one Holistic Voice Therapy session, a lie-down treatment is an option, for relaxation and nurture, where long vocal tones and then overtones (designed as a personal prescription each time) are sung while the client lies down, to facilitate the special meditative state described. Tones are long sung notes on a vowel sound like ‘ah’ or ‘ooh’. Overtones are where the practitioner makes whistly overtones over the top of a low note – actually creating more than one note at the same time with her voice.
Sometimes a partly active or totally active voice therapy session would be more appropriate. “After a sharing of what you would like to work on, and you’ve been supported to gently explore it, I can offer from a whole toolbox of vocal, breathing, movement and visualisation techniques, depending on what’s needed, for the client to use themselves, guided and supported by the therapist. Holistic Voice Therapy is not just for working on the voice itself (ie for singing, public speaking, asking for what we want etc) but the voice, your own voice, is a very powerful medium to work on other issues, to express and release emotions and pain. In this way, I’ve found it to be a truly powerful and transformative therapy and this of course is why I am so passionate about it!”
Naomy has a degree in music and psychology and also teaches piano, cello and singing. Sound baths, Gong baths and various Voice Therapy workshops are held regularly around Kent in Whitstable, at The Manor Barn and The Quiet View near Canterbury, in Folkestone at Studio Adore and Shakti Den in Whitstable along with one-to-one sessions of Holistic Voice Therapy and Sound Therapy treatments using drum, Himalayan bowls, gongs and voice. She also offers various groups such as Earth chanting, healing mantras, drum circles and women’s groups as well as offering sessions online.
Contact Naomy at www.sacredvoicehealingdrum.co.uk