This article was written by aub from Dandelion Branding about getting a sound massage for the first time.
I never got to experience the invincibility of being in your 20s.
Just after my 20th birthday I fell down a flight of icy stairs taking my dog on a walk. I injured my L5-S1 vertebrae (permanently, they tell me) and knocked my whole lower body way out of alignment. I’ll spare you the gnarly details and just say that it hurt - a lot - and that I refused the suggestion of surgery.
I had decided to take my wellbeing into my own hands, so rather than being invincible, I was busy re-learning how to walk upright. I learned how to find my balance, changed my diet, my habits, my routines, and my whole life became about healing.
After 10 years of focus, most people wouldn’t recognize that I am more intentional with the way I move. You wouldn’t guess that my herbalist certification was to be able to use plants to help manage my pain and my inflammation, and you’d think I just LIKE yoga and walking every day.
I turned my pain into experiences - going to the spa, getting regular massages, pushing my physical limits, taking ‘aub days’ to do nothing (read: to drop my physical and emotional walls around my pain). From moxibustion to somatic therapy to steroid injections, I’ve spent more than ten years trying to live through a self-care model and find something that works for me.
So I thought I knew what I was getting into when I decided to get myself a sound massage.
What is Sound Massage Therapy?
I’ve been to sound healing in groups before - laying with the masses in temples or at Burning Man events, listening and sharing vibrations together. I’ve also had regular manual massages and adjustments for years with sound and music. So for that reason I thought that getting a sound massage meant that my masseuse would have a Tibetan singing bowl resonating while they gave me a manual massage.
A sound massage practitioner actually uses a series of Tibetan singing bowls and other tools, like chimes, woodstock chimes, gongs, and cymbals to give the massage.
The idea behind sound massage is that the vibration of the sound acts as an example of resonance. The vibration travels through the body and helps us to realign our own vibration, bringing us into a state of balance within ourselves.
It’s not physically manipulative at all, but somehow this vibrational sound massage is so much deeper.
The Sound Massage Therapy Experience
The massage felt pretty standard to start. I undressed and slid onto the massage table, belly down beneath a sheet. I always love the feeling of how the face pillow cups my cheeks and keeps my neck straight and aligned.
The practitioner walked into the room, and rather than spreading an oil on my back, he put on a silk cloth, and then another layer of fabric. He slid a bolster pillow under my ankles. I felt contained and comfortable, but a little skeptical that the sound massage would give me what I needed - which was calm balance after weeks working on a stressful renovation project. I decided to drop into this modality of healing though, however it was.
He started with a deep gong, and then by tapping a few different singing bowls so that their sounds filled the room together. I could feel the ritual, the energetic cleansing of the space to make way for my own energy.
I wasn’t ready for that.
Frustration and Resonance
After that first sound cleansing, the practitioner placed a medium sized singing bowl on my back. I asked him how he chose the bowl afterward, and he told me that it’s just the right size and sound for the vibration.
He spent time tapping the bowl on each part of my body. Across my shoulders, down my arms, down the left and right sides of my spine - all of which was lovely. I could hear how the bowl would get a tap, I could hear it and feel it vibrating through my muscles. I felt that I could hear the potential of my muscles and my bones vibrating together.
Then he got to my hips. He places the bowl on my low spine injury, taps it, and my body just absorbs the sound. I can hear the sound, but I can’t hear it resonate. I can’t feel my potential there. He does it again. And again. I feel a sense of loss and grief swell up from somewhere I haven’t looked at in a long time.
And then he moves on. Atop my left thigh, down my left leg. I can hear it resonate. And by the time he gets to my left foot, I can feel the single resounding tap all the way back up my leg.
I lay there silent, thinking I had imagined it. Or that the angle must be that I just can’t feel it or hear the resonance as well in my hips. That must be it.
He moves back up my left side, and shifts back to the center, back to the spinal injury. Again he taps, and again I hear the sound, but I don’t feel the resonance. This time, I start to feel stubborn, I feel stuck. For several minutes I’m so frustrated. I wonder what HE is doing differently for it to feel stifled.
And then I can feel the injury.
Subtle, but deeply into the right spot, I feel the loose ache of the cartilage pushing out on the right side of my spine. Peaking into the bundle of nerves that act as the connectors for the vibrational, electric current that runs down my right leg.
I feel the nerves vibrate. And it aches with memories of sciatic pain… but it’s not pain. It’s balance that I feel. As the practitioner taps the Tibetan singing bowl and waits, taps and waits, moving over my hip, and down my right leg, I start to hear the beginning buzz of resonance.
When he rests the bowl on my right foot, I feel the vibrational resonance up to my mid thigh. Higher than I have felt a connection (anything except pain) for a decade.
And when he moves on, I am wishing for just a few more moments of those taps. I went from total skepticism to wanting more in a single sound massage.
I didn’t think it could get better than that. And then it did.
Hearing My Own Power in Sound Massage Therapy
After the vibrational balancing, the sound massage practitioner placed the singing bowl on my back, and made it sing.
The first place he chose was between my shoulder blades. The singing was almost immediate. As the bowl sung, I felt the sound - pulling from me, and pushing into me, sharing energy. So deep and so connected, that it felt like the sound, the singing, was OF me.
Then he moved the Tibetan singing bowl again to the center between my hips. Right at my pain. I felt myself getting curious, and a little nervous. What would it sound like? Would this power sound different? Would it feel different?
The bowl was slow to sing. I could feel the vibration within my nerves again, branching into my right hip - the place I feel pain when I flare up. And then it dissipated. And the bowl sang. It started to resonate and it got LOUD. I sent intentional energy to my hips and willed it to get louder - the singing grew.
Of all the massages, the physical therapies, the yoga, the adjustments, and the therapies of the past ten years, none of them have made my body literally resonate with power. I have never heard my strength, and I haven’t felt my own potential like this - something I didn’t know I needed.
The practitioner never laid his hands on me directly, which ensured that my own energy was honored and heard. It was, indeed, a deeper resonance than I have ever experienced. I didn’t just physically feel better. I felt balanced emotionally too. Like my physical and emotional bodies found a vibrational match.
The Vibrational Match
I will absolutely not claim to understand the physics here. I’m a well-informed writer, not a scientist.
But I will tell you, dear reader, that working on a vibrational level unlocked part of my healing journey that I haven’t been able to reach in a long time.
I work with Omnia and our vibrational content on a regular basis (hi!), and I have to say that I didn’t fully understand the depth of vibrational balance until I experienced sound massage therapy. That’s why I wanted to write this.
Creating a vibrational match is something easy to miss. It is not simple to define because there is no wound healing, no adjustment made, there’s nothing to SEE - it is something to feel.
And it is a subtle feeling. A right feeling. When you’re in a new resonance, it’s easy to find your way back to positivity and alignment. It feels easier to bring a smile to your face and the simplicity of self care seems easier in our fast-paced world.
This modality of wellness is what Omnia is dedicated to. And whether you’re a skeptic (as I am) or you’re a die-hard believer in the law of resonance, I think it’s worth leaning into the well-meaning positivity of vibrational healing. Because so much of health, wellbeing, good vibes, whatever you call it, is just FEELING GOOD and feeling safe and feeling your own potential.
The Sounds that Heal Series
Hear Your Power: A Sound Massage Therapy Experience (you are here)