Feel the good vibrations at Sound Bath Sanctuary 

Former rock drummer Mike Reed hosting 90-minute sound-healing session

click to enlarge Mike Reed hosts “Sound Bath Sanctuary,” a 90-minute sound-healing session involving Tibetan singing bowls, ocean drums, and even a gong, on Sunday, Sept. 22 at Space Coworking in Function. Photo submitted
  • Mike Reed hosts “Sound Bath Sanctuary,” a 90-minute sound-healing session involving Tibetan singing bowls, ocean drums, and even a gong, on Sunday, Sept. 22 at Space Coworking in Function. Photo submitted

Mike Reed wants to clarify one thing right off the bat.

"I just want to be clear: I'm not a hippie," he says with a laugh. "I treat this very scientifically."

If you had to picture the type of guy who hosts "sound bath sanctuaries"—sound-healing sessions involving a range of percussive instruments and throat singing—Reed is probably not who you would envision. A former punk rock drummer, Reed came to sound healing after going through a rough patch in his life.

"I went through some hard times and was looking for ways to heal myself," he says. "I came across sound healing, and once I experienced it, I was like, 'I need to do that.' It totally resonated with me because it's musical and I knew immediately I could do it."

Reed typically starts off the experience with some breath work, before playing the ocean drum, which, naturally, mimics the soothing sound of waves crashing into the shore. He usually follows that up with a number of crystal singing bowls, before moving onto "the main event": the gong.

"I build everything up to the gong," he explains. "The gong is like a cleaner. It penetrates and washes through you and all the atoms in the body and realigns everything. It's sort of like sonic Drano, it just clears everything."

For the finale, Reed normally incorporates throat singing, a way to fill the space "with a lighter vibration and bring some musicality to the ears."

Despite its New Age associations, sound healing has, in fact, been practised in various forms for centuries. Dating back to the Ancient Greeks, Egyptians and vedic scriptures of India, sound healing is still practiced today by a host of different cultures as a way to reduce stress and create a sense of inner peace.

"It's becoming more and more mainstream and I think you'll see a lot more of it once people start to realize the power that sound and vibration can have on the body," Reed says. "It's been said that sound therapy is the medicine of the future. It's also the medicine of the ancient past. People have been using sound healing for thousands of years."

Sound healing therapy has also shown to have medicinal benefits for people with a variety of issues, both physical and mental, Reed says.

"I have seen a lot of different [responses]. People have come up to me after to say that it helped with their physical pain," he notes. Sound healing can also improve sleep, reduce blood pressure, and help mitigate depressive or anxious feelings, adds Reed.

"Any feelings of anxiety you can regulate in your nervous system, so it improves emotional regulation," he says. "In that state, while you're in that deep relaxation, your body is doing a self-healing process, and that includes the adrenal glands and the nervous system."

Typically, when someone experiences the different vocal tones, frequencies and vibrations of a sound bath, "the part of the mind that's thinking and analytical and trying to figure out what it's hearing, it can't quite figure out what to grab onto," Reed explains. That can lead to a "theta brainwave state," one of five frequencies our brain experiences, typically the barely conscious period just before sleep.

A theta state borders the conscious and subconscious worlds, and promotes learning, healing and growth.

"A sound bath is almost like involuntary meditation," Reed says. "When you go into this theta state, or meditation, you go from your sympathetic nervous system and switch over to what's called the parasympathetic nervous system. That moves you from your fight-or-flight, or innate problem-solving state of consciousness to resting and digesting.

"You ultimately come out of the experience almost reset and cued up to a higher vibration."

Reed is hosting a 90-minute sound bath at Space Coworking, behind Home Hardware in Function Junction, on Sunday, Sept. 22, starting at 7 p.m. Participants are asked to dress comfortably and bring a yoga mat, blanket and cushion for comfort, as well as eye covering. Tickets are $35, available at eventbrite.ca. Search for "Sound Bath Sanctuary in Whistler."

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