Sound bath meditation: what is the therapy used by Kendall Jenner and Holly Willoughby?

What is a sound bath and can it help with anxiety?

gong bath meditation

by Louise Bennett |

We’ve all stuck on our favourite song to cheer us up or listened to an angry tune when we’re feeling frustrated, but using sound to heal your soul is an ancient art which has been around for thousands of years.

Now that we live in a world of constant noise, celebs like Holly Willoughby and Kendall Jenner are embracing the art of sound baths so help them switch off. These sound-based meditations can have benefits to your mental and physical health and are particularly good if you’ve struggled in the past to switch off.

What exactly is a ‘sound bath’?

Spoiler alert – you won’t actually be getting into a tub. The term ‘sound bath’ refers to a meditation where your senses are bathed in sound. The sounds are produced using various instruments from steel or stone bowls, gongs, tuning forks or just the human voice.

Holly Willoughby This Morning sound bath
Holly slips into a sound bath on This Morning ©ITV

Why do we need sound to meditate?

We spoke to sound bath practitioner, Naomi Buff, who explained, “As women we often don’t give ourselves permission to relax and let go of everything, so as soon as you lay down and you’re quiet, all of the day-to-day stuff starts racing through your mind. That creates resistance to be able to fall into that meditation. When you introduce sound, it really helps to clear the way for you to access that state of peace. I almost think of the sound as a broom coming and sweeping through your energetic field and remove anything which is blocking it. It’s fine to have those negative thoughts and that chatter, just don’t attach to them.”

How do sound baths work?

Here’s the science bit. The vibrations created by the various instruments help to clear blockages within your nervous system which lead to healing.

Naomi says, “I have five gongs and my biggest one is called Pluto, which is the darkest planet in the solar system. All the gongs are tuned to the frequency of the planets, and Pluto is really deep and really dark. It can take you into the depths of yourself, so you have to be really careful in the way you use them. So each sound has its own properties and can access different areas.”

What issues can you treat with sound bath therapy?

Sound baths have great mental health benefits from helping to ease anxiety to allowing you to sleep better. But they can also tap into physical injuries too.

“I’ve treated knee problems and sciatica,” Naomi tells us. “The vibrations from the sound work their way through your body and it’s almost like a massage which can access any areas where there is a blockage or tension and just release it. Some people find they have a very emotional response and cry at the end, which isn’t a negative thing, it’s just a release. I’ve had people who have gone back into their past traumas and healed them, and I’ve even dealt with mental health issues and helped people who are feeling suicidal.”

Kendall Jenner sound bath
Kendall Jenner's a fan of sound baths ©Instagram

What can you expect from a session?

Naomi suggests its actually more effective to leave your expectations at the door.

“The sound will take you on your own personal journey and no meditation will be the same as the last and each one will be an extension of the last. You can never replicate the same amazing experience. I always say that I’m not playing the gongs, they’re playing me. I never know where a session is going to go so it’s very intuitive.”

Whilst most sessions last around 60 mins, you can do them in person or online.

“The effect of the vibration can stay with you for a week, but it’s like going to the gym; the more regularly and consistently you do it, the greater the benefits.”

Check out: the best self care apps you need in your life


Best self care apps

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Calm is one of the most popular and well known self care apps - and for good reason too. It is super user friendly and makes meditating and general self care a blast. We would 100% recommend to anyone wanting get their self care routine sorted. The app is designed primarily to help users with sleep and meditation. It's a great option if you have trouble sleeping or are finding it hard to get into a routine of meditation. Download: You can download Calm here.Price: 7 day free trial then £28.99 billed annually.

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CREDIT: Getty Images

Another popular self care app is Headspace. There are hundreds of guided meditations available helping with everything, from managing stress and anxiety to sleep loss. The voice of the speaker will honestly live in your head for days after hearing it, comforting you in times of stress. Download: You can download Headspace here.Price: 7 days free then £9.99 a month or £49.99 a year.

Fabulous-Daily Routine Planner
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CREDIT: Fabulous

Another great app for self care is Fabulous - Daily Routine Planner. This app is perfect for developing healthy routines through audio coaching and positive reinforcement. Fabulous takes holistic approach to motivate you to be more productive and have higher energy - a definite recommendation from the Closer team.Download: You can download Fabulous - Daily Routine Planner here.Price: 7 day free trial, then £26.48 a year.

White Noise Lite
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CREDIT: White Noise Lite

White Noise Lite is a great app for those that have trouble sleeping. Sometimes you just need a bit of white noise in the background to help you nod off. The app offers a wide range of sounds such as rain and birds chirping, It also offers a personal touch allowing you to mix your own sounds.Download: You can download White Noise Lite here.Price: Free

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CREDIT: Colorfy

When it comes to self care why not take a look back at your childhood? Who didn't enjoy a bit of colouring in? Even those of us who weren't super creatively gifted were able to make art. Well, Colorfy allows you to revisit the childhood bliss of colouring in as an adult. Give it a go, it's a great way to switch off after a long day at work.Download: You can download Colorfy here.Price: Free

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Shine is a great tool for self care - it's basically the perfect support system you can always rely on to give you that little boost. From sending you daily motivational texts, and providing "Shine talks" on everything from stress and anxiety to self-love to burnout, Shrine is a great tool in prioritising your mental wellbeing.Download: You can download Shine here.Price: £14.49 per month or £61.99 per year.

Smoke Free
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CREDIT: Smoke Free

What better way to help yourself than by kicking an unhealthy addiction? Smoke Free is the ultimate tool to help quit smoking. Not only can you use the app to track your cravings but it also provides you with the ultimate form of motivation by telling you how much money you've saved and how many years of your life you are gaining back - damn, can't get much more motivational than that, can you?Download: You can download Smoke Free here.Price: Free

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