We spoke with Susy Markoe Schieffelin, founder of The Copper Vessel and Sound Healer’s Academy, to discuss the incredible benefits of sound healing. The sound healer, reiki master, and Kundalini yoga teacher shares how she transformed her life with sound baths and explains the deep cellular healing that takes place during a sound bath. Because of the profound changes Susy experienced from sound healing, she has dedicated her life to sharing sound healing with others and has led sound baths for millions of people all over the world. She’s played crystal bowls alongside Leann Rimes and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and her work has been featured in Vogue and The Wall Street Journal.
Susy, can you tell us how you got into sound healing?
Sound healing helped me transform my own life! I have experienced intense anxiety since I was very young. When I was about 7 years old, I also began to experience a condition called Alopecia Areata, which is essentially unexplained hair loss. I was so ashamed and kept it as my biggest secret, which only led me to experience more anxiety. I had a really hard time relaxing and feeling calm. Most of my life, I felt like I was in a constant state of crisis. In trying to cope, I turned to alcohol to help me relax and feel more comfortable in my own skin. Eventually, I began to combine alcohol with drugs and prescription anxiety medications. I ended up going down a dark path of alcoholism and addiction in my twenties, wishing there was another way to help me feel better, but not knowing the way out. After hitting rock bottom in NYC in 2015, I went to rehab and began a journey into sobriety. I decided to start fresh in California and, in the process of moving to LA, my aunt brought me to a sound bath! In the experience, I felt completely at peace. I felt at home with myself. So, I began attending sound baths regularly, and my life began to transform! As my anxiety melted away and the light returned to my eyes, I thought to myself, “I would love to learn this modality so that I can share it with others and help them heal too.” I began studying with sound healing teachers, bought my first set of 3 crystal bowls, quit my corporate job, and dedicated my life to sharing sound healing with people all over the world!
How does sound healing work?
In sound healing, sound vibrations work on a cellular level to recalibrate the vibrations in the body. Sound vibrations have the capacity to shift energy, clear blockages, and restore the mind, body, and spirit to a balanced state. Sound shifts vibrations in the body both through entrainment, a process by which the vibrations of one object transform to match the higher vibration of another person or object nearby, and by stimulating electric signals in the brain that support healing frequencies. This powerful healing process can happen by using any type of sound vibration, including music, instruments, singing or chanting. In sound healing, we typically use healing frequencies that can have a relaxing and restorative effect.
Can you explain what a sound bath is?
A sound bath is a form of meditation that gently guides listeners into a deep state of relaxation using soothing sound vibrations. Sound baths are an amazing tool for people who struggle with anxiety or feel that they have a hard time relaxing and slowing down their busy mind because the sound can help to effortlessly slow down the mind and quiet restless thoughts. In a sound bath, the recipient will sit or lie down in a comfortable position as the practitioner guides them on a relaxing meditative journey. Depending on the practitioner, sound bath may include different instruments such as crystal bowls, metal singing bowls, gongs, drums, didgeridoos tuning forks, chimes, and even singing or chanting. These instruments are played with the intention of uplifting a person or group to a new vibration that supports health, harmony, and well-being. Sound baths offer a beautiful form of healing because they are very gentle, calming, and restorative.
What do people usually experience during a sound bath?
How a person experiences a sound bath can really vary. Most people experience a deep sense of relaxation during and after a sound bath experience. People often relax so deeply that they cannot believe how quickly time passed by. One hour can feel like just 5 or 10 minutes! Other people feel very creative and inspired. Others may have a deeply spiritual experience and feel connected to their higher self, angels, guides, or even loved ones who may have passed. Ultimately, most people leave feeling a deeper sense of connection to themselves, their wholeness, and a sense of inner peace.
What are some of the benefits of sound healing?
Sound baths offer a relaxing and fairly efficient (you can see benefits with even a short sound bathing session) way to heal the mind and body. There is a lot of research that demonstrates the benefits of sound therapy, which include:
Calms body and mind
Reduces stress and anxiety
Increases focus and clarity
Decreases tension and fatigue
Boosts mood and reduces feelings of anger
Elevates feelings of spiritual well-being
What happens to the brain during sound healing?
The frequencies played during sound healing can shift the brain into brainwave states associated with deep rest, meditation, and healing such as the Theta and Delta brainwave states. These states naturally help relieve anxiety, reduce stress, enhance sleep, enhance learning, improve mental clarity, and bring about overall healing.
What physical changes happen to the body during sound healing?
Sound healing vibrations can transition the body into a state of relaxation. In this state your body naturally reduces heart rate, lowers blood pressure, and decreases the overall stress response.
What kind of healings have you experienced or witnessed from crystal bowls and sound baths?
The main benefit that people will usually experience after just one Crystal Alchemy sound bath session is a state of deep relaxation that supports overall healing. With more prolonged experiences, people can enter deep states of meditation that lead to inspiration, clarity, and major life transformations. I have seen people who have struggled to get pregnant for years begin attending sound baths and finally succeed in conceiving their baby (on many occasions!!)! I have seen people reconnect with a deep sense of self love and in turn, they end up meeting their dream partner. I have seen people struggling with their purpose finally connect with a sense of clarity, access the courage to leave their job, and find or create a job that inspires and empowers them. I have truly witnessed miracles in the lives of people who attend sound baths (my own self included!).
Is there a difference between experiencing a sound healing in person versus listening to a sound bath on YouTube or Instagram?
There are many benefits to both! Oftentimes, when you experience a sound healing in person, it is in a group setting. A group healing experience can be very powerful. An in person experience also allows you to feel the energy of the sound vibrations in a live setting - many people find that the energy is stronger, sort of like when you attend a live concert versus listening to a song on Spotify.
On the other hand, listening to a sound bath online from the comfort and privacy of your own home can offer a deeply healing and restorative experience. Some people are very sensitive to other people’s energy and feel more comfortable in their own space. It’s also nice when you don’t have to get up and drive somewhere right afterwards! You can absolutely receive the same benefits as an in person experience, just make sure that you use good headphones or listen on a high-quality audio system.
For those interested in learning how to use crystal bowls, where do they start? Is this something that’s relatively easy to learn?
I teach a 60 hour online sound healing certification training where people can learn how to play crystal singing bowls, gain an understanding of the science of sound healing, the essential principles of energy healing, a basic understanding of music theory, and the business of being a successful sound healer. The Sound Healer’s Academy is a very special and unique training because it combines sound healing, energy healing, and the essential tools of business so that you can graduate feeling truly empowered to go out and share your gifts as a sound healer.
While you can absolutely purchase a crystal bowl and begin to play on your own, sound healing is a rich and in-depth healing methodology. If you feel called to work with crystal bowls, studying with a qualified teacher and becoming part of a supportive community of sound healers can have a profound impact on helping you feel empowered, confident, supported, and successful on your path.
To learn more, follow Susy on Instagram @thecoppervessel.