According to the sound bath practitioner Sara Auster:

A Sound Bath is a deeply-immersive, full-body listening experience that intentionally uses sound to invite gentle yet powerful therapeutic and restorative processes to nurture your mind and body.

I have always been curious about sound baths and the effects that people have described, not only on their consciousness and sense of calm, but the sensations that reportedly course through your body. I had the fortune to attend a sound bath in Michigan in the summer of 2022 which is described below, but first, here is the work of contemporary artist Guadalupe Maravilla who uses sound baths as part of his sculpture practice.

Guadalupe Maravilla

Healing is an essential part of Maravilla’s work which was created in response to his own illness. He turned toward the indigenous healing practices of his Mayan ancestors which includes Sound Baths “that harness sonic vibrations from gongs, conch shells, tuning forks and other instruments to restore calm and balance and release toxins in the body.”

You can learn more about his work HERE.  But below is a link to a score for one of his sound baths as well as a sound file that you can listen to, preferably through a pair of good speakers or good headphones.

Guadalupe Maravilla

Sound Bath by Guadalupe Maravilla

Here is a LINK to Maravilla’s project at Creative Time.

Sound File of Maravilla’s Sound Bath

Ok, back to my experience of a sound bath

Often a sound bath involves a combination of guided meditation and sound. I am generally NOT a good participant in a guided meditation as my mind tends to wander.  Beth Brilinski (Centered by Sound) started me off preparing me for what was to come – that I would hear her moving around the space, but also that the sounds would travel on their own. 

The instruments were primarily a set of crystal bowls and metal Tibetan prayer bowls which could be struck or caressed with soft mallets to create long tones. There was also a tam-tam (that’s the gong in the picture below) a drum, and something called a “wave drum” which is a drum with tiny metal balls in it that create whooshing sounds like ocean waves rolling into the shore.


I was working on an immersive sound installation in a barn that focused on bees so I was prepared to hear some DRONES. Not surprisingly, it takes some time to settle your body and your mind, but the remarkable thing about the experience is that the sounds are indeed very PHYSICAL – particularly when you are close to the instruments. If the tones are low you can feel them hit different parts of your body depending on their frequency. One might center in your chest, another in your stomach.


Another remarkable aspect of a sound bath is that the sounds move around in space and if they are inside a room, their position shifts as they bounce off the walls and collide. It is common to literally feel the sounds swirling around your head from ear to ear.


As the pure sine tones from the bowls ring out, different pitches will interact creating pulses. You may be familiar with the idea of binaural beats. Ultimately this interaction of tones not only shifts our perception of pitch, but also creates the phenomena of sounds being perceived spatially. This is all part of something called Psychoacoustics, which you can learn more about HERE.