All the excitement I spewed while telling my friends I booked myself a sound bath at the Integratron was immediately answered with a humbling, “What’s that?!”
Well, that’s a loaded question.
Part resonant tabernacle, part energy machine, and part geometric vortex, the Integratron was first created by George Van Tassel for three reasons: human cell rejuvenation, anti-gravity, and time travel.
The structure is located in Landers, California, about 20 miles North of Joshua Tree.
Story goes, while meditating under a sacred rock in the Mojave desert, Van Tassel was met (both telepathically and in person) by aliens from Venus who gave him instructions on how to build the machine. He began constructing it in 1954 and structurally had it together by 1957. He continued working on perfecting the more supernatural qualities of the device until his untimely death in 1978 – right before it was “completed” (isn’t that always how it goes though?).
It should be noted, however, that while the Integratron was created with purposes stemming from a cliche science fiction novel, Van Tassel’s research in creating it was very scientific; implementing ideas from famed scientists such as Nikola Tesla and Georges Lakhovsky. In fact, prior to building the Integratron, Van Tassel was an aeronautical engineer and a test pilot for Howard Hughes (who provided partial funding for the Integratron).
The Integratron is built on top of a geomagnetic field anomaly of sorts, and structurally is void of all metal; having been crafted using wood, glue, and dowels. The domed shape and materials of the building make it the only acoustically perfect sound chamber in the United States.
So… now for the sound bath part.
Since 2000, the Integratron has been owned by two sisters who operate the building as a sound bath chamber.
Note: To take a sound bath, you must book at least a few weeks in advance on their website, and spots fill up fast.
Prior to taking the sound bath, we – my family and I – checked in for our reservation in a little hut off to the side of the Integratron, where we were greeted by one of the owners – one of the most calm, ethereal ladies I have personally ever encountered – and then were guided to a little oasis of sorts to relax in before our appointment. I got right into the hippy-dippy groove while enjoying their hammock’s, plush furniture, canopies, and fresh water well system.
After about 15 minutes, we were called over to the Integratron for our bath.
In silence, we entered the building, removed our shoes, turned off our cell-phones, and walked up the stairs one-by-one to the top floor of the Integratron, where about 20 people were already waiting and resting on comfortable cotton-stuffed mats. We followed suit, and a few minutes later we were joined by the bearded, beaded, hippie-esque group leader (I only call him that because he gave us a history lesson on the Integratron and made the bath noise for us, but there was no real leader in the room).
He explained that the purpose of a sound bath is to enjoy a deep, powerful meditation, and that during the bath he would play seven different sized quartz crystal singing bowls – one a at a time – and that each that would produce a distinct tone and vibration that would align with our seven chakras. The acoustics in the room coupled with the size of the bowls made the sound LOUD.
And with each of us resting silently on our mats, he began to play.
With each rotation of the crystal singing bowl mallet, a sound was emitted that pulsed right through respective areas of the body, relaxing and restoring. I could actually feel the sound entering one ear and leaving the other, all the while swirling around the domed room. And as someone who took live sound as her major in university, I must say, it was one of the coolest auditory experiences I have ever had, if that counts for anything.
Each crystal bowl was played for roughly five minutes, clocking us in at around 35 minutes total; after which recorded zen music was played.
For the first fifteen minutes or so, I was totally into the experience. I felt I was one of the twenty-five most relaxed souls on the planet, until all of a sudden I was jolted out of my zen by a small tickle on my right hand wrist under my shirt. It was a bug. I had to kill it.
It was a short lived fiasco, and when it was over I tried my best to put the bug into the rearview mirror and re-enter my meditation. Now, I have never believed in negative-fate based Karma, but when the tickle returned, this time in my throat, I began to wonder.
I short-stopped my breathing, swallowed hard about fifteen times, gasped for air, and repeated this sequence. For if I coughed, or even so much as cleared my throat, the sound would be so loud that every single soul in the room who had paid $35 for this relaxing experience would be jolted back into the same head space I was struggling in – and they wouldn’t be happy about it.
Then, thank baby Jesus, the music stopped and people started to leave the room. As I got up, tears started streaming down my face from holding back said cough, but I was more relieved to be able to clear my throat then I have ever been in my life – and I blissfully walked down the ladder to the outside world. My brother, who was beside me the whole time, laughed his ass off.