If you are feeling the stresses of life, you may want to skip the massage and consider a sound bath instead. Here Gráinne Courtis, a local Cookham mum tells me why she re-trained as a sound bath practitioner and what we can expect from a session - no water invoved.
Tell me about you? Your background? How long have you been living in Cookham?
My name is Gráinne and I am a mother of two beautiful boys. I work as a sound therapist and myself and my husband Joe who grew up in Maidenhead moved back to Cookham in 2015 to be close to family.
We love the sense of community here and have made great friends!
Before becoming a sound therapist, I worked as Visual Effects artist for ten years. It’s a wonderfully creative industry and I spent time between London, LA and Dublin.
What is a sound bath?
A sound bath does not involve water! The room or bath is a safe space to gently but purposefully guide your mind to switch off from the daily stresses and worries you may experience in life. I use instruments to create comforting sounds which resonate at different frequencies. This helps shift your brain to an “alpha state”. This is a state of mind where you can easily switch off “chatter” or “noise” to help focus the mind to find calm and reassurance. Most of my clients prefer to experience a sound bath lying down but it’s also possible to be seated. We use eye masks and blankets to stay warm and comfortable.
How and why did you make the leap to becoming a sound bath practitioner?
Sound and music has always been important in my life. The visual effects industry is intense and late evening deadlines are common. Listening to music was always a natural stress relief for me.
Towards the end of my career, whilst I loved my job, stress was something I experienced almost all day every day. My body started to protest . Headaches were normal as was anxiety, worry and fatigue. I had a general sense of feeling unwell and exhausted all the time. It was at this point that I decided to take a different path that would provide me with more flexibility to prioritise myself and my family.
In 2012 I experienced sound therapy for myself and I couldn’t believe the effect it had on me. I find my mind races a lot and I literally switched off for the whole session and felt amazing afterwards! I had also been quite unwell after a viral infection in 2010 and found the session helped with pain relief. I decided initially to learn more for myself in 2013, and my journey to practitioner began from there.
What can the client expect in a session?
For my 1-2-1 sessions the initial consultation explores the history of your health. We focus on any health issues or concerns and then progress on to a personalised sound bath. According to your needs, a variety of instruments will be used on and off the body. I also incorporate sonopuncture: the application of sound vibration to acupuncture points. I have had very positive results from reducing eczema to aiding muscle and bone recovery after multiple fractures. Each session lasts 60 minutes.
Group sessions work slightly differently. During the hour you are bathed in the sounds of Himalayan and Crystal singing bowls, chimes and tuned pipes to bring balance to the body. This session is a fantastic way to experience sound therapy and to restore your bodies natural rhythms. It’s an incredibly positive way to help let go of any stresses or anxieties you may be experiencing.
How can a sound bath benefit the client?
The benefits of a sound bath are immediate but they also have a cumulative effect. I think the most immediate benefit is that it helps to switch off the internal chatter. This is something that I find a lot of people struggle with. Life is so busy and there are so many day to day stressors. A sound bath can be very powerful in reducing anxiety and stress, bringing us out of a “fight or flight” state. This has many beneficial effects on the body which in turn can lead to improved long term health.
On a much deeper level the sounds that are being emitted from the bowls are not the same as relaxing music. The frequencies of the bowls are created to work on a cellular level in your body. Every organ and muscle in your body is in a state of vibration and has a resonant frequency. This can change when you are stressed or unwell. The combinations of notes I use in my sessions helps entrain the body into a more coherent state leaving you feeling calm and centred. This is why it is termed a sound bath as it is a truly immersive experience.
What training have you had to undertake to practise?
I trained for 3 years to become a qualified sound therapist. This training is recognised by The Institute for Complementary Therapists and also globally. I began in 2013 and originally focused on seeing clients 1-2-1. I have since extended this to group work. I am currently training in new fascia release techniques for my 1-2-1 sessions. This focuses specifically on chronic pain release. I also tutor those looking to incorporate sound therapy into their daily lives as well as those looking to practice it professionally.
This all sounds wonderful, how can we book?
I regularly post upcoming local group sessions on my facebook page and you can purchase directly through my events there. Do take a look at reviews to see what others have to say. You can also get in touch to opt in to my newsletter or ask any questions by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Website: Coming soon