by Amanda Mittleman, M.S.
One of my favorite books of all time was unexpected. It was assigned as an “optional” reading by my professor for one of my exercise physiology classes when I was working toward my master’s degree.
The book was called, Surviving the Extremes: What Happens to the Body and Mind at the Limits of Human Endurance, written by Dr. Kenneth Kamler a hand surgeon who was invited to join an adventure club of people who traveled around the world to places where people don’t always belong…but for those who want to adventure.
He begins his prologue to the book sitting next to a dying man, in a freezing cold tent with minimal medical equipment, on one of the top levels of the highest mountain in the world, Mount Everest. A skilled sherpa had slipped off a ladder, falling 80 feet. He had a serious head injury, was unconscious and his heartbeat was barely detectable. A rescue helicopter couldn’t reach to the crew until morning.
Kamler administered an IV and kept the dying man as warm as he could. The other sherpas gathered around in the tent and began to chant. Until the chant began Dr. Kamler was very worried the injured man wouldn’t make it through the night. Over the course of the night and with the continuous chanting by the other sherpas, the dying sherpa’s heart rate stabilized a little at a time. By the morning, while the helicopter made it’s way up the mountain, the man opened his eyes.
Kamler explained his thoughts and his learning beautifully, “Pasang should not have survived, but he did. Over the course of the night, his thready pulse strengthened, the swelling in his face receded, and he opened his eyes. With the morning light, the chanting stopped and the spell was broken. Though I felt I had been watching the scene from afar, I was certain I had witnessed a healing force that was beyond medicine. The chanting had released an energy within Pasang, a will to live, and this had reversed his decline. A spiritual force had created tangible effect, what a religious person would call a miracle. My medical training should have led me to explain his recovery in terms of nerve impulses and chemical reactions, but confronted with such in controvertible testimony high on a Himalayan mountain, even a faith-less man believes. There was no medical reason for Pasang to be alive. I realized then, that practicing extreme medicine would sometimes mean witnessing, and working alongside, phenomena I might never understand.”
This passage is what I thought of the first time I attended a sound bath. Vibrations have an understated but powerful impact on our brain waves, our stress levels and our recovery mechanisms. I wasn’t sure what a sound bath was when I attended one for the first time. I could feel the sounds (vibrations) the singing bowls made in my body. It was incredible and I can’t find better words (yet) other than it felt like a massage on my heart, brain and cells. And, when the sound bath was done, I felt calm and centered. This is not always easy for me!
What Is A Sound Bath?
A sound bath is a meditative experience in which attendees are “bathed” in sound waves. These sound waves are produced by healing instruments such as gongs, singing bowls, percussion, chimes, rattles, tuning forks, and even the human voice itself.
The goal of a sound bath is to give our brain a chance to “let go” for a while, heal, and rest. In addition, to help your body to relax, sound baths may help you unblock energy through various frequencies of the sounds you experience.
Sound therapy is deeply rooted in quantum physics. There are hundreds of clinical trials and peer-reviewed studies on the healing properties of sound. Western medicine uses sound waves on a daily basis in the form of ultrasound technology, which can be used to break up kidney stones and way more.
At Mo-Mentum Fitness we teach that recovery is as important in our lives as training hard to strengthen and challenge our bodies so we can live extraordinarily and vibrantly. For people who thrive on working hard and challenging our bodies, it’s extremely challenging for us to take time to recover. A sound bath is the prescription to help you connect with your body, mind and spirit and to allow the calming sounds presented by experienced and passionate practitioners to help you restore your body to optimal.
Our sound bath practitioners are incredible. Marianne Hunter and Marizol Ortiz are passionate and so talented at delivering amazingly restorative, beautiful and calming sound baths. I challenge you (you know who your are…the woman or man that has a difficult time slowing down your brain to relax) opportunity to be accountable and challenge yourself to lay still for a while and allow the surrounding sounds and meditation guidance to help you rest and heal and connect your mind and body and spirit.
Click here to sign up for our Sound Bath at Mo-Mentum Fitness on Thursday, June 30, at 7:30pm!