Ky group uses 'sound healing' to help people reduce stress
It's a Saturday evening in Lexington, 20 people rest on yoga mats or in reclining chairs at a large dance studio. They’ve come to explore a technique known as sound healing where specific instruments are played to help relax the body.
As the evening begins yoga instructor Jaime Brown guides the group into a deep meditation combined with the sounds of harp music by Sally Kelton.
Once everyone seems to be resting comfortably, certified sound healing practitioner and Jaime Brown’s husband, Ronnie Brown uses various musical instruments that create soothing sounds, sounds of nature, and what he calls healing vibrations.
“Sound healing is used to guide the body into relaxing and being able to use its natural healing abilities by relaxing to the sounds of the music with deep listening,” said Brown.
Brown has been a musician for 33 years playing guitar and bass but said in these sound sessions or so-called sound baths he uses special instruments like crystal/Tibetan Singing Bowls, gongs, flutes, chimes, the sound of rain, and the instrument he’s especially drawn to called the handpan. He said it’s the vibration of the instruments that participants need to experience.
The handpan is kind of like the steel drum, the Caribbean steel drum, they’re hollow kind of like a cereal bowl. They dip down. The vibration of the handpan is what they really need to feel,” explained Brown.
Brown has been a certified sound healer since 2019. And now he has worked with more than 800 people. Most of his sessions are group sessions but sometimes he works with people one on one. Tonight, he said is the first group sound bath in which he’s invited two other practitioners to join. Versailles resident Sally Kelton plays the harp during the beginning of this evening’s session. She said she can feel the vibrations of the different instruments being played.
" I think that it relaxes you. There’s just something to it. It might bring up some feelings you haven’t really revealed. It’s just interesting to me," said Kelton.
Brown also invited Amy Hudson who plays crystal healing bowls and a rain drum. The 38-year-old said she’s been practicing sound healing for 5 years.
“Oftentimes we don’t allow ourselves to just be present with who we are and when you’re in a sound healing session you don’t have anything to distract you from what it is that you have avoided," reported Hudson.
This isn’t Sara Newbury’s first session in Lexington. She enjoys the sessions.
“I recognize just the value of this in creating peace and clearing out negative energy. For me, I experienced interesting colors when the lady was doing the sound bowls and I was seeing almost like metallic colors of blue and yellow and pink with different sounds. There’s really something powerful that happens and we don’t have to understand it fully, you know but to experience it is where it’s at,” said Newbury.
Dr. Tamara Goldsby is a University of California, San Diego clinical research psychologist in integrative medicine with a focus on, sound healing research. In the Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine, Goldsby and her colleagues published a study that examined the effects of sound meditation, specifically Tibetan singing bowl meditation, on mood, anxiety, pain, and spiritual well-being. Sixty-two women and men participated by using self-report surveys.
“What we found was that they had significant reductions in tension and anxiety and reduced depression and even reduced fatigue and anger which was really amazing and then they showed increases in spiritual well-being. People who had pain before invariably had a strong reduction in pain afterward, physical pain," said Goldsby.
Lexington resident Zach Scanlon said he sought out sound healing to help him heal from a traumatic brain injury.
“I am watching energy shift through my body, through the seven energy centers we have through our body. I am watching pain move and then go away over the course of two hours here tonight.”
Like Scanlon, a couple of other participants reported a shift in their physical pain during this evening’s session. Many people reported deep relaxation.
After walking through the room with various instruments and playing them close to each participant sound healing practitioner Ronnie Brown ended the session with the sound and vibration of the gong.
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