Splish splash, I was taking a (sound) bath…
Detractors might call it one of the more ‘woo woo’ wellness practices, but sound healing and more specifically, sound baths, have health benefits that go far beyond taking a bougie little nap while a woman in yoga pants plays a meditative concerto of quartz crystal bowls, drums, gongs and wind chimes.
One of Tāmaki Makaurau’s most prolific sound bath practitioners, we catch up with Sophie Correia – corporate world escapee and founder of Crossing Paths – for the lowdown on sound healing, and how in just four years she has transformed a fledgling business into an in-demand experience attracting wellness enthusiasts from all walks of life to her range of events across Auckland.
Hey, Sophie! Firstly, talk to us about sound healing. For the uninitiated – what is it, and how does it work?
Sound healing operates on the belief that dis-ease can stem from the body being out of tune, or having energetic blockages. The aim of sound healing is to restore the body’s natural resonance and bring it back to its most harmonic state and optimal wellbeing.
Sound healing has been used for centuries by indigenous cultures around the world, and now is becoming more popular in the mainstream as a natural and non-invasive way of calming the nervous system and improving health. It’s known for helping reduce stress, anxiety, high blood pressure, depression, sleep disorders and body pains. It also improves blood circulation and stimulates the immune system.
What elements of the practice do you specifically offer through Crossing Paths?
Sound healing techniques vary depending on the practitioner, but during my sessions you simply lay down and relax while I play Quartz Crystal Bowls, a Rav Vast Drum, a Gong and Wind Chimes. When you are exposed to these sound frequencies your brainwaves can move from a normal waking state to one of deep rest and relaxation. Even sleep and your inherent optimal vibration can be restored.
The Quartz Crystal bowls I play have different notes that resonate with corresponding energy centres in the body, known as chakras. This method of sound healing is known for balancing and moving through any static energy in the body and liberating blocked energy. My regulars say a sound bath is their weekly ‘reset’, and they leave with a greater sense of clarity, feeling better in their body and mind.
I offer my sound bath events twice a month and incorporate sound baths into my monthly day retreats and corporate wellness offerings. I also offer private events at people’s homes and sound baths for special events such as brand launches, birthday parties, art exhibitions, baby showers and private retreats. I have recently recorded a 30-minute sound bath which I will be offering for private sale soon.
Your Crossing Paths sound baths have absolutely taken off in 2023. Talk to us about this year of growth – what does it look like by the numbers?
Okay so I actually crunched the numbers and wow, I felt so grateful! That’s a huge year so far:
|Crossing Paths Offerings||2023 Total||% Increase from 2022|
|Sound Bath Events||36||57%|
|Corporate and Private Events||15||88%|
|Sound Healing Trainings||2||new offering in 2023|
|Mailing List Subscribers||955||28%|
What about by less-tangible metrics?
With every sound bath, you’re bringing your body and mind into its most optimal state and allowing your nervous system to enter rest and restore mode, which is when dis-ease can be alleviated. This can have transformative impacts, improving your physical and mental health beyond the session.
Most people rave about how their sleep improves, and how they feel they are just nicer to be around. One of my regulars told me she comes because she sleeps well for the entire week afterwards. Another regular mentioned she’s very aware of when she’s had too long between sound baths as she feels out of alignment and more agitated.
In late 2022 you added the Kula Muriwai Day Retreats to your offering. What was the nexus for this idea?
With the toll Covid had on mental health and wellbeing, I sensed the need for a sanctuary to connect, relax and refuel. I’m passionate about cyclical living. I think paying attention to the signs of nature and our natural cycles empowers us to feel a deeper sense of connection and feel happier.
I’ve always dreamed of hosting retreats, having worked on international retreats myself and attended them. It’s where I’ve met lifelong friends and had the most life changing experiences. I wanted to create a day of nourishment that was inclusive, luxurious, and convenient so you are exposed to a selection of micro rituals that can be introduced each season to live in greater accordance with nature.
Turns out it was an absolute hit and I haven’t looked back!
The wellness industry attracts some criticism for its ‘woo-woo-ness’, especially at the more premium end where you operate. What’s your most compelling argument for investing in something like sound healing, reiki or an all-encompassing retreat?
We are more depleted and sleep deprived than ever before as a society. These practices allow us to find time away from our screens and the roles we play, to soothe the nervous system and improve our health in a relaxing, non-invasive and accessible way.
The uptake of sound healing in mainstream medicine speaks for itself. Music therapy has been shown to decrease pain and anxiety for patients undergoing surgery, improve motor function in stroke victims, and help manage symptoms in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
What’s a wellness practice you’ve experienced here or overseas that you would love to offer – or see offered in NZ by someone else?
Pyramid’s of Chi in Bali – sound healing on water beds with light therapy.
I’m drawn to people that are authentic, and inspiring spaces that are beautiful and luxurious. I have a strong sense of respect and loyalty to those I partner with which is why we have such longstanding and successful collaborations.
What’s something happening in your sector that is really exciting to see?
Four years ago when I began my sound healing events there was only one other practitioner I was aware of, and they moved overseas. Now, I could probably name about 20 people incorporating sound healing into their wellness offerings, or who have taken it up as a personal practice and it’s so beautiful!
This year I saw an opportunity to create a crystal singing bowl training workshop to help others on their sound healing journeys. I’ve run two courses this year and have really enjoyed seeing how each participant has weaved this knowledge into their personal practice or wellness offerings.
What’s a change you’d like to see/that needs to happen, and how are you getting in front of this?
Making sound therapy and retreats a regular wellness practice rather than a one-off experience. I am trying to change this mindset in my clients by offering regular and consistent events, enabling them to make it an important part of their self-care routines so they can maintain optimal levels of wellbeing, and reduce their chances of getting burnt out.
What’s a standout customer interaction/piece of feedback you’ve received recently?
I invite all of my guests to reach out to me after each session, whether that’s to share their feedback, learn more about my practice, or even get together for a cup of tea or coffee if they just need someone to talk to. This opens me up to a lot of customer interactions but it’s one of the most rewarding parts of the job.
A few recent bits of feedback that made me super happy:
“My sleep stats show I fell asleep in one minute with 95% efficiency and optimal restfulness! Amazing. The only wake up I had was my son wanting a cuddle.”
“The sound baths I have attended with Sophie over the past 2.5 years have been truly life changing. Not only emotionally but spiritually as well. The nurturing environment, love and compassion that accompanies each session leaves me ready to tackle any mountain life throws my way.”
“I cannot recommend Sophie and her sound baths enough. Since regularly going to sound baths, I’ve noticed a huge shift in my mental and physical energy and wellbeing. Coming out of a session feels a little like being reborn, and the quality sleep and clarity of mind I have for the following days is something I always look forward to. For anyone that’s sceptical of or simply curious, I highly recommend this experience!”
Who is a business figure you’d love a power lunch with and what would you grill them about?
Alicia Keys – What are her daily motivations and routines that allow her to operate at her best? How does she balance business and family life? What is her best piece of business advice?
Last but not least, what are you wearing to work right now?
A Loclaire turtle tank in oatmeal – I have this tank in three colours, need I say more?! Along with Lululemon black align tights of course, my Penny Sage lime green jacket (aka Mrs Lime) and Indosole cross platform sneakers in sea salt, from Bali.