Feeling sad or stressed this holiday season? Consider a ‘song bath’

Feeling sad or stressed this holiday season? Consider a ‘song bath’

“Song bath.”

The very term conjures images of soaking in a warm tub of soothing, relaxing music.

This weekend, the Ogden Threshold Singers invite community members to experience it for themselves with a song bath on Saturday, Dec. 21, at the Weber County Library, 2464 Jefferson Ave., in Ogden. The event will be held from 2-4 p.m. on the lower level of the library. Admission is free.

“The idea is to kind of be bathed in song,” said Dotty Steimke, an Ogden woman who is secretary-treasurer of the local Threshold Choir International group.

The Threshold Choir is a non-denominational spiritual organization that sends groups of two or three volunteers to sing gently at the bedsides of those at the “thresholds of life,” offering music at “tender times” to the sick and dying. They perform a cappella, regularly touching on themes of love, grace, peace and comfort.

Steimke said this is the first time the local group has offered a song bath to the community. They’re hoping to hold these events quarterly, possibly around the time of the equinoxes and solstices.

“We thought this would be a way to provide a service to people who might need some spiritual uplifting during this season — when maybe it’s not the most festive time for them because of health difficulties, or family members struggling mentally or physically, or financial strains,” Steimke said.

Participants can choose to merely listen, sing along, or lie in a reclining chair in the center of the room and receive musical energy directed at them. In the case of the latter, Steimke said about a dozen members of the Ogden Threshold Singers will surround the person in the reclining chair and offer a song bath, “where the energy of the song is focused on the person.”

“We’ll give them the gift of song for a time,” Steimke said.

For those who may find a song bath a bit too intense, additional chairs will be set up around the perimeter of the room.

“If you aren’t comfortable with being the center of attention, you can sit on the periphery,” Steimke said. “But for those who feel they want that — or need that — the voices will be directed at them.”

Steimke is a great believer in the healing power of music. She said singing, or even just listening to others sing, alters your mental state.

“You get a smile on your face, you get happy,” she said. “I think it can lift anybody’s spirits.”

Saturday’s song bath will be an informal event, and Steimke says visitors are welcome to come and go as they please.

“It’s from 2 to 4 p.m.,” she said. “You can come at 2 and stay until 4, or you can come anytime during the two hours and stay for five minutes.”

And Steimke said participants in the song bath can remain as anonymous as they’d like.

“It may be a heavy burden in your heart, but you don’t have to let us know what it is,” she said. “This is for anybody. People who are lonely, who maybe don’t have family or feel like they don’t have friends, who have health difficulties whether physical or mental. Or maybe they just don’t feel like anybody cares.”

Steimke has been involved with the Ogden Threshold Singers for about a year now. She says the experience has been a good one for her.

“I think the people who are singing get as much out of it as the people we are singing to,” she said.

Although this song bath wasn’t specifically planned for the holidays — Steimke says it just happened to coincide with the Christmas season — it may help those who are especially vulnerable at this time of the year.

“It can be stressful when you’ve lost loved ones or feel overwhelmed with the expectations of the holidays,” she said.

For more information on the song bath or the Ogden Threshold Singers, call 801-686-8167 or 801-737-0392.

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