Jeddah: In a dark room, surrounded by flickering candles, soft music and whiff of wafting fragrance, around 12 men and women sat on comfortable mats in a yoga position facing Saudi Arabia’s first sound therapist Bayan Abuzindah, who sat in front of two pairs of huge gongs and numerous singing bowls and big glasses set in a pattern.
There was exciting murmur, as attendees got ready for an enchanting two-hour sound bath experience.
Abuzindah signalled the attendees to get quiet after which, in a soft, soulful voice, she briefly explained what one could expect during the session before guiding them on breathing exercises followed by exposing them to sounds in different patterns and frequencies.
Ghadeer Zainy, who often comes for a session of a sound bath after a stressful week at work, said, “A sense of relief, calmness, and relaxation washes over me after the session. It feels like excess weight has been uplifted from my body. I sleep peacefully and wake up rejuvenated in the morning. It’s wonderful what two hours of breath work and sound can do to your body and soul.”
Baker Al Turkestani, a Saudi song producer, said, “I feel completely surrendered. It is beautiful.”
What is sound therapy?
Sound therapy is an ancient technique that was used to cure emotional, physical, or mental illness by many early civilizations in India, Tibet, Greek and Egypt.
In the past few decades, however, it has made a comeback because a lot of research and experiments have shown positive effects of sound and music on body.
Sound therapy is now being practiced all over the world including Saudi Arabia.
Abuzinadah, 35, is credited for introducing sound therapy in her country.
A member of the International Complimentary Therapist Association and a certified sound therapist from the Technical and Vocational Training Corporation in Saudi Arabia, she runs Saudi Arabia’s first and only known sound studio in the coastal city of Jeddah since last year.
“Sound therapy is the medicine of the future. Many hospitals, especially cancer hospitals, in America now have a sound department as it is now being considered as the best therapy to provide relief from pain as it restores balance to the body. Here (Saudi Arabia) people who suffer from anxiety, depression, stress, and trauma among others usually use sound therapy as an alternative to medicine,” she says.
How does it work?
Shedding light on how sound heals, Abuzinadah explains, “Sound therapy works on all layers of our existence that is emotional, physical, and mental. To make it a meditative experience, we induce the body to sounds and slow down the brain waves from theta to alpha. Alpha waves is our frequency bridge between our conscious mind and the subconscious mind theta — and that is where all the magic happens. The body is in the healing mode now, and the person gets connected with his/her subconscious mind, which controls 80 percent of what he/she does. At this stage, we plant and manifest positive vibes, release negative emotions, limiting beliefs and habits, or anything that doesn’t serve us purpose.”
Citing another example of how sound physically heals a body, Abuzinadah said, “Everything in our body from cells to organs vibrates. Let’s assume if the kidney is not functioning properly; it means that the vibration of that organ is slow or out of tune. Now, our body is made up of around 60 percent of water. So, by technically striking certain instruments, we create sounds that penetrate and travel in the body and create a vibration that forces the organ to synchronize and work in tune with the rest of the body.”
While it is very gentle, safe and suitable for everyone, people who have metal implants like pins, screws or pacemaker cannot attend sound session, Abuzindah advises.
How many sessions do you need to get results?
The number of sessions is different for each person.
“Sometimes, even one session (typically lasting for 60 minutes) is a life-altering experience for a person.”
What is a typical session like?
For a one-on-one session with a patient, Abuzinadah uses gongs and singing bowls only.
For group classes, she uses Shruti boxes, alchemy crystal bowls, didgeridoo (ancient Australian instrument) along with gongs and singing bowls.
While the patient is just required to dress in loose, comfortable clothing and be hydrated, Abuzinadah has planned ritual.
“Every therapist practices the ritual based on their personal preference. I stop eating meat three days before a session to detox. I take salt baths, meditate, and chant to look and feel good.”
Abuzinada’s path to sound therapy
Abuzinadah took the rare, unconventional path of sound healing after working in the corporate world for ten years.
“I had had enough. I was not happy; I was not enjoying as I used to and had lost all passion for corporate life. It was time to move on.”
She took a few months off and went to Amsterdam and did spiritual training.
“It felt good, and I found answers to what I was going through. I liked it, but I hadn’t decided to pursue it then.”
After returning home, Abuzinadah quit work for good and flew to Ibiza to volunteer at a retreat.
It was there where she had her first sound bath.
“It was an out of body experience. I went to a totally different dimension. What I experienced that day told me that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life, and the rest is history,” she said.
In the course of just three years, Abuzinadah poured her heart and soul into it, learning sound techniques.
She travelled to Ireland, Bali, Portugal and Madrid, among other places, to learn sound healing.
“I trained with one of the best masters in the world and my guru Patricious, and Don Conreux, who is like the Harvard of sound healing,” she said.
Equipped with certificates and license to practice, Abuzinadah returned to her country and upon much encouragement from her folks, decided to open a sound-healing studio — much to an overwhelming response. With more than 8K followers on Instagram, one needs to take prior appointments to attend Abuzindah’s sound therapy classes.
Is sound therapy available in the UAE?
Healing of the body and mind through sound frequencies has gained wide currency in the UAE.
On December 15, 2019 five sound healers using different instruments such as harps, Tibetan bowls, gongs, crystals and chimes came together at a public event attended by hundreds at Manarat A Sadiyat in Abu Dhabi and many reported feeling a complete rejuvenation and relaxation through that one hour session.
Sonia Gonzalez, one of Venezuelan healers who is an opera singer and a sound healer described the therapy which falls under complementary and alternative medicine: “Using sound at certain frequencies makes people’s body’s resonate at that frequency stimulating self-healing. Sound communicates with the subconscious mind and creates an emotional pattern that induces holistic healing, “ said Gonzales who has done her sound healing training in Bali and is a practising sound healer for the last three years.
Gonzalez holds sessions at Manarat Al Sadiyat regularly that begin with breath work followed with sound healing and conclude with meditation.
She said : “I have worked with people undergoing deep depression and anxiety and the shift is amazing. It takes several healing cycles and works differently on every individual.”
Modern study of epigenetics says sound vibration can alter body’s molecular structure and induce healing.
Counselling psychologist, Laura Brennan, who is the director of an Abu Dhabi-based therapeutic institute called ‘From Light into Darkness” seconded Gonzalez’ viewpoint saying that sound healing was acknowledged by the community of psychologists to have a very strong impact on mental health of people.
“There is clinical and scientific evidence now to prove that sound healing does not just belong to the realm of complementary medicine but has a direct impact on curing diseases and blasting tumours. Research done in the field of epigenetics and astrophysics has indicated that various frequencies have a deep impact on the molecular structure of each cell in the human body.”
Brennan explained that according to epigenetics, the human body functions on different levels through multiple electric systems. “one of them is the bio electricity in cells. All cells vibrate with sound. When they vibrate at the correct frequency and mili volt, they create a harmony. But when they vibrate at wrong frequencies that creates a sense of ‘Dis Ease’ which manifests in the physical system as a malady. Correcting the frequencies can help the cells vibrate to healthier harmonies and can actually heal the DNA.”
Blasting malignant tumours through ultrasound waves
Brennan gave an instance of patient’s suffering from restless leg syndrome. “Sometimes a blast of energy can get trapped causing pain and discomfort in the body. In the case of restless legs, with sound healing one can help the cells resonate to a healing frequency and release the trapped energy triggering the restless legs.”
Brennan reiterated that the sound of healing bells, chanting, Tibetan bowls, ultra sound waves can heal very deeply. “There is scientific evidence to show that ultrasound waves can actually blast tumours and stimulate healing and similarly many other sound frequencies can work on Cardio Vascular Diseases and other illnesses.“