The Benefits of Sound Healing

Last Fall, my retreat participants and I experienced our first sound healing session in Asheville, NC with Billy Zanski, owner of Skinny Beats, located in the heart of this bustling wellness town. We got to sit down with the sound healing master to give our readers a little insight as to what to expect in a sound healing session.

Tell us a little bit about the background of Skinny Beats.

I was born and raised in Wisconsin.  In the year 2000, I met Bolokada Conde, who was on tour from Guinea, West Africa.  We became friends, and I traveled to Guinea to study the Djembe drum, and the Kora (21 string harp).  In 2004 I moved to Asheville and opened Skinny Beats, where I teach drum classes, and host sound meditations.  I became interested in sound therapy in 2006, and started playing and selling crystal singing bowls, gongs, and other tools for sound healing.   

Many, including myself, have found a more balanced life through a consistent meditation practice. For anyone interested in sound healing as a relaxation technique or a practice, can you describe the benefits of sound healing? I’m sure there are numerous!

While the simplest way to describe the main benefit of sound therapy is deep relaxation, it's clear that there is a lot going on in our minds and bodies, and our souls as well, so by relaxing, we can really feel into what's going on 'inside'.  It can be challenging to truly meditate on your own, many people don't want to try, or have tried and didn't get 'there'.  Sound therapy can help people shift into a state of meditation (deep relaxation without falling asleep).  Once that state is achieved, many benefits come in, such as letting go of past thought patterns....realizing you are in fact 'free'....bringing awareness of your connection to abundant energy that stems from beyond your mind/body....the list goes on and on. 

Walk us through what a session is like with you.

Many sound therapy sessions will employ the use of Tibetan singing bowls (brass bowls), Quartz crystal singing bowls, Gongs, Didgeridoo, Harp, Chimes, Rainsticks, Drums (deep bass tones) and many more.  I use all of these instruments.  In my approach, I begin with softer, subtle sounds, and a good bit of 'cascading downward' sounds, such as a long chime bar and rainsticks, also the didgeridoo is very good to help the initial process of unwinding our minds and beginning to open up to just being 'here', and relaxing.  I then will use some low frequency crystal bowls (these are 24'' bowls that create very deep sound) and a deep toned frame drum to help ground everyone.  As the group shifts into a more open and relaxed state, I use gongs to bring in some feelings of 'washing'....the wide range and power of sound that gongs provide can really guide people to face repressed feelings or fears, and bring them to an 'edge' where it's like they cannot keep hiding, it is a helpful nudge to realize who they are, which is not their past, or their feelings, so once the sounds and the feelings it stirs up are present, it's typical to experience a release, and a feeling of acceptance and clarity within oneself. 

 Anything on the horizon for Skinny Beats and your community?

I am planning to open a space that's dedicated to helping people restore the balance of mind, body, and spirit.  l want the space to be community based, so practitioners can work together and people can find many ways to connect and restore. 

I found this to be one of the most relaxing experiences I have ever had- right on the verge of sleepful rest, in a blissful state. It was a perfect enhancement to our weekend that focused on our physical and emotional well-being and I would tell anyone visiting Asheville not to miss an opportunity to experience one of Billy's healing sessions. The studio and shop alone are quite interesting and you may even find yourself leaving Asheville with a beautiful instrument of your own! Thanks, Billy!