Understanding the Difference Between a Sound Bath and Sound Healing

This is a subject matter that I receive a lot of questions about, so I’d like to explain the difference between a sound bath and sound healing. Even though I offer sound baths at the studio most weekends (and online), it is different when I work with individual clients in an intentional manner. 

For example, I have a weekly client who is a business owner. Because of her role, she often has a blocked throat chakra. I’ve been working with her on a weekly basis for over six months, and she has seen an incremental difference each week in her state of mind, body, and spirit. 

In a recent session, I dedicated the entire time to the throat chakra and relaxation. I did humming with her, played the large throat chakra crystal singing bowl, various Tibetan bowls around, tuning forks off the body, and surrounded this area with sound. I also led in and out with other instruments to bring her to a state of deep relaxation. At the end, she felt her throat chakra was more balanced, evidenced by her coughing several times during the session, but mostly at the end. 

The throat chakra is about speaking our mind and listening, which highlights the importance of expression and communication. This is one example of an intentional private sound healing session and how it is targeted. Sound itself is healing no matter how it takes place.

Sound Bath: A sound bath is a meditative experience where participants “bathe” in the sound waves produced by various instruments such as gongs, Tibetan singing bowls, crystal bowls, chimes, and other resonant instruments. The primary purpose of a sound bath is to promote deep relaxation, stress relief, and a meditative state.

Key Features of a Sound Bath:

  • Passive Experience: Participants typically lie down on a comfortable mat or recline in a relaxed position.
  • Immersive Sound: The practitioner plays the instruments in a continuous flow, creating an enveloping soundscape.
  • Relaxation and Meditation: The goal is to help participants enter a meditative state and experience deep relaxation.
  • Group Setting: Sound baths are often conducted in groups, though private group sessions are also available.
  • No Direct Interaction: The practitioner does not usually interact directly with each participant individually, but it may occur briefly.

Sound Healing: Sound healing, on the other hand, is a therapeutic practice that uses sound frequencies to address specific physical, emotional, and mental health issues. It is a more targeted approach that involves the application of sound frequencies to the body and mind with the intention of promoting healing and well-being. 

During a sound healing session, the client is typically on a massage table surrounded by Tibetan singing bowls, with additional bowls placed underneath. Bowls are floated above and around the body, and at the client’s request, bowls and other instruments can be played directly on the body to enhance the therapeutic effects. The practitioner will choose from a plethora of sound healing instruments to achieve the intended goal.

Key Features of Sound Healing:

  • Active Participation: The practitioner may work directly with the individual, using instruments or vocal tones close to or on the body.
  • Targeted Therapy: The sessions can be customized to address specific issues such as pain relief, emotional release, or energy and chakra balancing.
  • Vibrational Frequencies: Different frequencies and instruments are chosen based on the therapeutic goals.
  • Individual Focus: While sound healing can be done in groups in a minimal form, it often involves one-on-one sessions tailored to the individual’s needs.
  • Interactive Techniques: The practitioner may use in addition to singing bowls and other instruments, more specific tools like tuning forks or vocal toning, to interact directly with the client’s energy field. 

Comparison Table

FeatureSound BathSound Healing
ExperiencePassive, meditative, and relaxingActive, therapeutic, and targeted
SettingUsually group-based but can be privateOften one-on-one but can be group-based
FocusGeneral relaxation and meditationSpecific physical, emotional, or mental health issues
InteractionMinimal, non-specificDirect, customized
Instruments UsedGongs, singing bowls, chimes, etc.Same but in addition: Tuning forks, vocal toning, specific instruments
GoalTo induce a state of relaxation and meditative calmTo promote healing and well-being


Both sound baths and sound healing offer unique benefits and can be powerful tools for promoting wellness. Amazingly enough, you can receive the benefits with either both in person and online. Sound baths are ideal for those seeking deep relaxation and a meditative experience, while sound healing is more suited for individuals looking for targeted therapeutic interventions. Understanding the distinctions can help you choose the right approach for your needs.

For personalized sessions and more details, visit my services page.


Deb Phelps

Deb Phelps

Deb Phelps is a certified Mindfulness and Meditation Teacher, and Practitioner since 1980. She is also a Mindfulness Coach, Sound Energy Practitioner, and Yoga Specialist who uniquely assists her clients to overcome stress, anxiety, PTSD, grief, and other life situations so that they can once again live purposeful, joy-filled lives. Deb has overcome significant life challenges aided by a variety of mind-body-spirit practices. By diligently using these tools over many decades, she found a life of contentment and equanimity. Through extensive education and life experience, including living for one year in a spiritual community, she assists and inspires others to do the same. ~ Deb Phelps, C.MI, MMT, E-RYT500, LVCYT, YACEP

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