“What intrigued me about sound healing is its non-invasive and gentle nature, complemented by its profound effects,” says Mags Zywica, the co-founder of Me Time Away, a premium well-being booking platform that makes booking retreats that suit individual needs a simple process. “Whether used in conjunction with other healing practices like meditation, mindfulness sessions, and gentle yoga practices, or as a standalone approach, sound healing offers versatility and adaptability to suit different individuals and situations,” explains Zywica.

These healing practices can be traced back throughout the years among various cultures from around the world. However, the profound effects of sound healing can now be seen and studied on a cellular level. Letizia Silvestri, the founder and chief healing officer at Altha, a team of experienced sound healers who host events and retreats centered around the concept of healing with sound and vibrations, explains: “to understand how sound can interact with the body and to create change, one must understand what sound is. Sound is vibration. When certain healing frequencies (e.g. 432 or 528 hertz) interact with the body, they raise the vibrations of our cells, bringing them into a restore and repair state.”

The ancient belief that sound could heal was often practiced throughout Greece, China, Australia, and elsewhere, but was difficult to prove. A connection between sound and healing was also made in America in the 1890s when music was believed to improve blood flow and mental clarity, and has continued to garner interest since. “Music therapy was also used during the 1940s to rehabilitate soldiers returning from World War II,” says Silvestri, who has tried nearly every natural remedy over the years from meditation, yoga, and breathwork to tapping and hypnosis.

A sound healing session can look different depending on the overall goal. Some sessions consist of large gatherings of people, or there are more personalized, one-on-one treatments. However, most sessions include a specific set of tools and frequencies. Depending on the healer, a session can feature a wide variety of instruments that include gongs, alchemy and crystal singing bowls, Tibetan bowls, ocean drums, rain sticks, shakers, hand drums, water, air, fire and earth chimes, flow chimes, and more. The overall process is simple. The client finds a resting position and is surrounded by sound instruments and then immersed in healing frequencies. These instruments are often incorporated into meditation and yoga classes as an additional comfort or way to relax, but there are also more intense therapies that are more focused.

Sound baths are fully immersive treatments that can have a profound effect on the client and many have described them as spiritual experiences that are often extremely emotional and uplifting. The effects often help clients sleep better, ease anxiety, and lift their moods. “It’s called a bath because the sound waves wash over you as you relax and enjoy the melodic journey,” says Silvestri. “The harmonics and frequencies effortlessly lull your mind into a deep meditative state, while the healing vibrations revitalize your body and help release tension.”

For Zywica, the very first experience with sound healing was enough to convince her of the positive, lasting effects. She describes the initial strike of the gong to be resonating and immediately feeling her body release stress and anxiety. “An hour later, I left the session feeling deeply relaxed and calm, and that night I slept soundly, experiencing a level of tranquility I hadn’t felt in months,” adds Zywica. A transformative experience such as this is quite common for those exploring sound healing and has ignited a passion for the practice around the world.

The wonders of sound will likely continue to be further explored for years to come. “As humans, we turn to music and sound at many different times — celebratory, emotional, and spiritual. Sound healing stood out to me as a powerful healing modality because music can take us on a journey to the depths of the soul,” says Gibson.

It’s no surprise that wellness retreats and spas are incorporating more music and sound practices into their itineraries as the benefits continue to grow and gain attention as an accessible and simple, yet profound method for healing the body and mind.