Kristen Rubis of Olympia has many vocations: A yoga teacher, a massage therapist, a doula and a childbirth educator.
One thing Rubis never expected to be was a professional musician.
But Saturday night, Rubis is hosting a CD release party for her first album, “Sacred Sound Healing.” She plays singing bowls, bells, chimes and a gong on seven tracks.
“This wasn’t part of the plan,” she said. “I really didn’t think I would make a CD or be a musician. It’s like, ‘Oh, my gosh, what did I just do?’ ”
The journey from her other healing work to sound healing began when she experienced healing herself, working with an acupuncturist who used tuning forks. In healing work, the vibrating fork is touched to the body.
“It really was grounding for me, and it helped me to really come into my body,” Rubis said. “The sound was so calming to my nervous system. I would so look forward to it if I was really stressed out.”
She enjoyed it so much she began training in using the forks herself, and from there, “it’s just taken off,” she said. “I started collecting bowls.”
Today, she has seven crystal bowls and a dozen metal ones, as well as bells, chimes, a gong and tingshas — small cymbals used in Buddhist prayer and ritual.
At first, Rubis used sound to enhance relaxation and create a meditative state for massage clients and yoga students.
In the past year, though, she’s found herself touring through Washington and Oregon, giving sound-healing concerts and workshops that are as much about soaking in the sound as about doing yoga.
Rubis is self-taught at making music. “Anytime I ever play, it’s always spontaneous in the moment,” she said. “I listen with my hands and heart while I trust in the divinity of this sacred music.”
The recording session was no exception. She spent two days and came up with seven tracks, each using different combinations of instruments to create sounds that aim to soothe and can be used as a background to meditation, yoga, tai chi, bodywork or for listening anytime.
“When I was editing the CD at home, I would sit there and listen to it and I would start to do stretches or I’d be washing the dishes,” she said. “It was inviting just to be in a more relaxed state while I was washing the dishes or cleaning the house.”
The tracks on “Sacred Sound Healing” are organized in order of the chakras, from root to crown, and each has a name that can inspire how a listener approaches the sound, including “Relax,” “Release” and “Rejoice.” The CDs are $15 each and will be available at the release party, at Traditions and Radiance and online at CDBaby, Amazon and iTunes.
While the sounds are pleasant, they also are meant to have an effect on the listener’s mind and body. Experts disagree on how great that effect might be, but it’s no stretch to say that music and sound affect people’s moods.
In a 2009 article in the New York Times, oncologist Mitchell L. Gaynor, an assistant professor of medicine at Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York, said he uses singing bowls and chanting in weekly support groups for his patients, viewing them as a complement to conventional medicine.
Relaxation reduces stress hormones, the doctor told the Times, and that’s beneficial because stress can affect the immune system.
“Everything vibrates,” sound healer Phillippe Garnier of Woodstock, N.Y., said in an interview on the website selfgrowth.com. “We all vibrate at our own frequency. Different sounds can unblock certain vibrational energy where there’s congestion.” ‘Sacred Sound Healing’ CD release party
What: Sound healer Kristen Rubis is celebrating the release of her first CD with a gathering featuring her live music, time to mingle and refreshments including cupcakes and chai.
When: 5-8 p.m. Saturday with mini-concerts at 5, 6 and 7 p.m.
Where: The Yoga Loft, 219 Legion Way SW, Olympia
Information: 360-534-4716, sacredawakenings.org