Isn't it interesting that in the age of on-demand music streaming, we still pay good money to attend concerts. We listen to podcasts, but we want to see them recorded live. We could go for a solo bike ride, but many of us opt to ride on stationary bikes in a room full of people where music takes center stage. We've downloaded meditation tracks but would prefer to sit or lie in the comfort of a live sound experience with others.
Sound facilitates connection both to others and to ourselves, and it's human nature to seek it. Unlike energy work, which is invisible to the eye but its effects can be felt (by some), sound therapy is both heard and felt. As a way to cope with the constant demands of modern life, an increasing number of people seeking meaning, purpose, and intention are turning to sound. "Now more than ever there is an interest in sound baths in particular, group sound experiences," said Sara Auster, a New York City–based practitioner and key player in the sound healing movement. "I still facilitate private healing sessions, but my public sound baths sell out weeks in advance."
It's true that sound baths have been rising in popularity for the last five years or so—and sound therapy has been around for thousands of years—but they continue to garner attention. The Rubin Museum of Art, for instance, has dedicated its main summer 2017 exhibition to the cultural importance of sound as a modern medium of art and healing. The exhibition, called "The World Is Sound," asks guests to experience sounds with their whole bodies, not just their ears. Visitors are encouraged to listen to works of art and sit in the OM lab, where tens of thousands of museum-goers recorded their oms to create the largest collective, rolling chant of om. It's a wild, diverse, beautiful harmonization of voices and was, by far, the most captivating part of the exhibition.
Chloe Kernaghan, co-founder of SKY TING Yoga in New York City, has also seen an increased interest in sound experiences from her clientele. "Since introducing sound baths on our schedule, there's been an increase of demand and more and more students are expressing interest. We even hosted a sound healing training immersion with Sara Auster and have started to include a "power of sound" lecture in our 200-hour teacher training."