A few years ago, meditative sonic sessions could be found only near Joshua Tree at the Integratron — the acoustically awesome white-domed, parabolic structure erected in 1959 by the aeronautical engineer George Van Tassel (who believed that aliens showed him how to build it). Now in L.A., metaphysical pop-up shops host soothing evening sound baths with crystal singing bowls. Hip Westsiders flock to Guy Douglas aka the Gong Guy's intensive sound baths at Unplug Meditation in Westwood. But the mother of the sound bath movement in L.A. is Jamie Ford. She's been practicing sound healing for nearly a decade, and last spring opened her own studio in Eagle Rock devoted entirely to sound baths, called the Sound Space. In this intimate space, attendees in loose attire recline on yoga mats and blankets as Ford invites the room of eight to 12 to quiet their minds as she manipulates sounds from her 17 gongs tuned to the orbital properties of the planets, moon and sun — which may explain why some bathers describe her sessions as “otherworldly.” Sound proponents, such as Ford, say the sessions relax brainwave patterns, lower heart rate, reduce stress and pain and even relieve anxiety. Bathers often leave recharged, or at peace — either way, they go home feeling a little trippy.
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