By Ken Mammarella
The good vibrations of the sound massage dominated over all my other senses.
The room was toasty, with a blanket swaddling me. The lights were dim, with the face rest of the massage table covering my eyes. The only sounds were the comforting tones from the therapeutic-grade singing bowls that Simply Sound Vibrations owner Liana Thompson was activating on my body.
The vibrations coursing through my body continued to command my attention even when my cell phone rang. And they pleasingly lingered long after the bowls were removed.
“I’m the facilitator of your health,” she said after my sampling of her sound massage. “You need to quiet your mind and body and let go.”
Thompson opened her sound vibration therapy business last fall in Independence Mall, on Concord Pike in Brandywine Hundred. “I started this journey of healing with herbs and slowly transitioned to sound healing,” she writes on SimplySoundVibrations.com. Her work email ends with this tagline: “where massage meets meditation.”
The Delaware native returned to the First State in 1997 and for many years was a receptionist for Friess Associates in Greenville. She is now working part time at FranksWine in Wilmington while she establishes her therapeutic business.
Her passion for herbs led her into certification in flower therapy, and she has essential oils if clients ask for aromatherapy. And she is a level II Reiki practitioner. “I study lots of modalities,” she said.
“Tibetan singing bowl meditation may be a feasible low-cost, low-technology intervention for reducing feelings of tension, anxiety, and depression, and increasing spiritual well-being,” according to a 2017 observational study posted on the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
Multiple elements combine for a calming effect in Thompson’s office, including the Pandora meditation channel soundtrack, large photos of singing bowls in scenic settings and the tools of her trade, including seven hand-hammered singing bowls, a crystal singing bowl, a large gong, a bell, a set of chimes, two fairy chimes and an ocean wave drum.
Her services include a sound massage for $50; a bio-well reading of energy flow and stress levels with a sound massage for $120; and a group sound bath for $35 per person. People sharing the bath are fully clothed on yoga mats as Thompson activates her various instruments. The name of technique evokes forest bathing, in which people let the sylvan setting shrink their stress.
Clients take off only shoes for the sound massage. She places different bowls on different areas, activating vibrations by striking bowls with a felt-covered mallet or circling their rims with the mallet. She also activates vibrations by striking bowls in the air (or a huge one sitting under the massage table). The vibrations of the ones placed on my body were the most intense. “It’s a way of massaging the liquid in your body,” she explained. “We are 70% water, if we’re hydrating enough.”
Hers is a rare skill: The Vibrational Sound Association lists just three certified practitioners in Delaware. So sometimes Thompson lays down on her massage table, places a bowl on her chest and activates the vibrations herself.
“Relax. Let go. Heal,” she said.