Everything you need to know about sound baths, and how to give yourself one in just 10 minutes

If you've been wondering what is a sound bath, we asked an expert what you need to know about this meditative practice

Sam Bowers preparing a sound bath
(Image credit: Sam Bowers)

Are you busy, stressed, and in search of calmness? It may be that a sound bath is what you need. Their popularity can be seen across social media, with events popping up everywhere and their celebrity fans, but what is a sound bath?

Don't worry, you don't need to get undressed for a sound bath — it's the meditative practice of using sound to relax, tune into your senses, and take a moment to yourself and focus on what's happening right now. 

And the best bit is that all you need to do is turn up and lie down to reap the rewards. You don’t need any equipment either, just something comfortable to lie on, like one of the best yoga mats.

What is a sound bath?

A sound bath is an event where you rest your body while listening to relaxing sounds being played by a sound practitioner. You are effectively bathed in sound, and the act of lying down combined with the sounds helps you relax and enter a meditative state.

There are no rules for what sounds they are, but often sound baths use singing bowls or gongs, which create sounds as well as vibrations. This helps you relax, and many people find them to be calming and restful experiences.

It’s important to know that although people often say that sound baths can 'heal' you, that's not quite what's happening, says Sam Bowers, an experienced sound practitioner who creates immersive soundscapes using crystal bowls and drums. 

“Sound healing does not imply a cure, but it does facilitate brainwave states that promote a deep sense of relaxation, which stimulates the body’s own innate healing abilities,” she says, in a similar way to learning how to meditate

Headshot of Sam Bowers
Sam Bowers

Sam Bowers is an intuitive teacher who works with sound, is a kundalini yoga teacher and performs ceremonial cacao. Bowers is passionate about connecting breath work, sound and movement to help people tune into their inner wisdom and ability to calm and soothe their own bodies.

Sound baths can be especially useful if you struggle to switch off. “In this fast-paced world where everybody is on the go, one of the best gifts you can give yourself is to pause,” says Bowers. “There is nothing to do at a sound bath but be there and experience it, and you can’t do a sound bath wrong.”

What happens during a south bath?

Sam Bowers performing a sound bath

(Image credit: Sam Bowers)

You can find sound baths at venues including yoga studios, community centers, and festivals or arrange private or small group sessions directly with a sound practitioner.

You arrive at the space and get into a comfortable position, as you will be still for around an hour. “I always say be as comfortable and cozy as you can be,” says Sam. So, think sweatpants or even PJs—the comfier the better.

Many studios will have props and equipment for you to use, like mats, bolsters and blankets, though you may want to bring your own. Most commonly, people lie on their backs, but you can lie or sit however you like as long as you feel rested.

There’s no set format for a sound bath, but often they include breathwork or meditation to arrive and settle into the space, followed by the sound itself for between 30 minutes and an hour, ending with a period of readjustment. 

Sound baths can include many types of sound. Common instruments include Tibetan singing bowls, crystal singing bowls, gongs, drums, tuning forks, and even voice. “The person or people leading the sound bath will weave together sounds using the instruments, including periods of silence,” says Bowers.

And, yes, you can fall asleep. “The sound will benefit you whether you are awake or asleep or somewhere in between,” says Bowers. “You can consciously listen, or let the sounds wash over you; you will still be getting the benefits.”

What are the benefits of a sound bath?

Sound baths can help you relax, unwind and switch off and they can be particularly beneficial for people with busy minds who find it hard to slow down, or struggle with guided meditations

Sound baths offer a chance for rest. “You are giving yourself the chance to be, rather than do,” says Bowes. The hard work is done once you arrive, all you need to do afterwards is lie down and experience the sound.

“As you lie down and listen to the sounds, your mind stops racing, muscles start to relax and you breathe more deeply,” says Bowers. “All of those things are signals to your nervous system to relax and your body can enter the parasympathetic nervous system, which is where it can fully rest and restore.”

Research published in the Journal of Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that singing bowl meditation can help reduce tension, anger, fatigue, and feelings of depression, and the benefits were even stronger for first-time sound bathers. 

How do you give yourself a sound bath?

"It is possible to give yourself a sound bath by deeply listening to any sounds you enjoy,” says Bowers. “Try sitting in the garden and consciously listening to see if you can identify specific sounds, types of bird or the wind in particular trees.”

Conscious listening is a form of mindfulness as it forces you to be in the present moment, but you can also allow sounds to wash over you. You can find soundscapes on YouTube and music streaming platforms, but make you won’t be interrupted or be tempted to check your phone.

If you want to give sound baths a try, this 10-minute singing bowl meditation from yoga instructor Jessica Richburg is a great introduction. It's short, so you can give it a go even when you're short on time and see if sound bathing is right for you.

Listening to music you love can be a form of sound bath too, but not always. “The difference between listening to music and a sound bath is that you can listen to music while you are doing other things,” says Bowers.

“To get the benefits of a sound bath, make sure you allow yourself to really rest: lie down and don’t be tempted to do anything else.” This allows you to dedicate your full attention to what you hear and how it makes you feel.

Sound baths are safe and accessible for most people, although there are some specific considerations for There’s not much to lose; almost anyone can attend one, the costs are accessible and there are many available to try.

If you're after more low-cost ways to boost your wellbeing, use these self-care ideas to increase mindfulness, relax into your day, and reduce stress without breaking the bank. 


If you are pregnant or have a heart conditions, epilepsy, metal implants, or sound sensitivities, you should speak to a doctor or medical professional before attending a sound bath.

Annabel Lee

Annabel Lee is a freelance writer specializing in wellbeing with over a decade of experience. Her work has appeared in titles like Glamour, Business Insider, and Huffington Post. Although she no longer teaches, Annabel trained as a yoga and mindfulness teacher and is also a co-host of the Selfie Development podcast, which explores the world of wellness, self-development, and spirituality.