For some, a sound bath is a chance to enjoy a relaxing session in the company of others without the need to socially interact a great deal. As such, it provides a shared therapeutic – and even spiritual experience – without the group dynamic of a religious service or a group therapy session. In this regard, they are unlike many other types of alternative therapy, which are more of than not carried out on a one-to-one basis. Perhaps this is why they are so popular these days. Of course, given that sound therapies have been around for a very long time indeed in one guise or another, you could argue that sound baths are nothing new and their popularity is very long-standing. However, this would miss the point that in western culture, at least, music has been the predominant form of shared audio experiences for many years. Only since the 1960s has it been commonplace for people to bathe in sounds without the need to also listen to musical structures.
However, the connection between sound, music and spirituality
should not be overlooked. Certain ragas in Indian music are more spiritual in their nature than performance pieces, for example. Indeed, droning sounds like that which are produced by Indian shruti boxes are often the sort of audio that is used in New Age sound bath sessions. Indeed, classical western music began to engage with these washes of sound from the late 1970s onwards when minimalist music began to appear for the first time. For many, though, a sound bath will never be a type of concert but a therapy session that seeks to heal both body and mind or, at least, provide some respite from the stresses of modern life.