Kathryn Freund is a certified sound healer and reiki practitioner based in Brooklyn, NY. By day, she is a recruiter, Co-Active career coach and graphic designer in advertising at Kay & Black and perQ. In a world as hectic and fast-paced as New York’s ad scene, Kathryn finds balance and joy in supplementing her coaching practice with her healing talents to support her candidates and clients professionally, emotionally and spiritually.
Kathryn is also half of Rhythmic Flows, a unique yoga flow, live music and sound healing community experience all in one. Holding a powerful intention and supportive space for all participants, Kathryn uses singing bowls to align mind, body and spirit in a state of healing flow throughout class and meditation during savasanas.
Kathryn believes we all have the power to live with joy, boldness and authenticity, and her practice aims to empower others to believe this and live in it every single day. You can connect and enjoy her musings on Instagram, or email her to collaborate or book a healing or coaching session.
Sophie: You have such an eclectic background professionally and personally. How did you get to where you are today?
Kathryn: From a young age, I have always known I am deeply intuitive and connected to the unseen world. As I entered young adulthood, I shut down this side of myself, as many of us tend to do out of fear. For a while, I followed my passions in writing and visual arts, eventually graduating from Fordham University with Bachelor of Arts degrees in English & Visual Arts. I love what makes people tick and why they resonate with different brands and products, so I started a career in advertising as a creative and graphic designer. Though I loved design and still do today, eventually, I discovered what brings me the most fulfillment is helping to nurture others’ talents, so I decided to make the leap into recruiting and coaching.
Recruiting educated me in how to speak and communicate with others and create genuine connections. It opened up my introverted tendencies. It taught me how to stay curious, live in integrity and follow my intuition. As I wanted to be able to give back to my candidates and support them in their careers, I followed my passions and trained in Co-Active coaching and helped establish Kay & Black’s coaching division, perQ.
Coaching allowed me to tap back into my intuitive gifts and curiosities. It forced me to ask deeper questions of myself as well as of others. It led me deeper into emotional, spiritual, mental and physical healing. Coaching helped me to come back to that young version of myself I shut down so many years ago, and encouraged me to observe her once again with wide-eyed curiosity. It allowed me to accept intuitive gut feelings as very relevant information and led me back to spirit.
Sophie: What's your advice to those who are told “your background is too varied” or who ask themselves “where do I fit in?"
Kathryn: Follow the thread of what you are interested in, one step at a time. We are all multifaceted human beings with many gifts to share at various stages of life. To say that we will do or contribute only one thing until the day we die professionally or personally is unrealistic and limiting! We are divine beings with infinite power. Our gifts are always changing and shifting focus, so focus in on the gift, talent or skill you feel compelled to share now and highlight that. The rest just makes you even more attractive and unique! It makes people say, “wow, you can do that too?” It’s what makes you you and no one else.
Sophie: What led you to holistic healing practices?
Kathryn: About five years ago, I found myself at the end of a very complicated, toxic relationship. I took on the negative weight of the relationship without setting boundaries or taking care of my own energy. I spiraled into depression, shame and self-hatred. When we finally parted ways, I looked in the mirror and thought, “I do not recognize the person standing in front of me anymore.” In that moment, I decided something needed to change, and I began on my journey to healing myself in bite-sized pieces. I started with my health and wellbeing in my body, working out and attending yoga classes. I became conscious of what food I was putting in my body and began to feel comfortable in my physical body again. I lost twenty pounds. I got rid of my cystic acne. I meditated. I went to therapy. I did the work! It was hard, but so worth it.
Next, I got curious about all kinds of healing and spiritual tools. I researched and experienced different modalities for my own healing, embracing that curious, intuitive side of myself I had set aside so many years ago. I learned that healing can happen in many shapes and forms on physical, spiritual, emotional and mental levels. I worked with crystals, reiki, past-life regression, Akashic records, shamanic journeying, mediumship, meditation, acupuncture and breath work, among others. I love all these modalities and am eternally grateful for their gifts, though the one healing modality that resonated with me most personally is sound healing, notedly the Tibetan singing bowls.
Sophie: What is sound healing overall and how does it work?
Kathryn: Sound healing is a very ancient healing modality which we have come to understand through science. It is nothing new! To quote an excerpt from Jonathan Goldman’s Healing Sounds:
“The first humans are believed to have used sounds in sacred and ritualistic ways to promote fertility, to aid at birth, to facilitate the growing of crops, to accept death and for many other occasions. Using sound, they would summon spirits and ancestors to cure sickness and rid a body of disease… As the ancients seemed to know, everything in the universe is in a state of vibration. The chair you may be sitting on is in a state of vibration… Sound may be understood as being vibration. 'Resonance' is the frequency at which an object most naturally vibrates. Everything has resonant frequency, whether or not we can audibly perceive it.”
We can facilitate shifts in resonant frequencies in the human body with tools like singing bowls that assist with entrainment. Entrainment synchronizes the frequencies in our bodies, which can vary from organ to organ, from our levels of stress and awareness, and various other factors. Using rhythm and frequency, we can entrain our brainwaves to resonate at certain frequencies, notedly those which facilitate healing and relaxation states like alpha, theta and delta brainwaves.
Sophie: What are Tibetan singing bowls?
Kathryn: Singing bowls are hand-crafted, specially-tuned metal bowls made with the intention of healing. The formation of the bowls is based on ancient practices dating back to the 8th century during the time of Buddha. Each bowl is tuned to resonate with a certain chakra, or energetic center in the body. Today, the Shakyamuni clan in Nepal still makes healing bowls, chanting mantras and prayers while they hammer the round, raw metal into bowls by hand. Essentially, you can imagine as the bowls sing that there are thousands of prayers flowing through your body!
Sophie: What are the benefits of sound healing and the Tibetan singing bowls?
Kathryn: As we as humans are mostly made of water, which is very receptive to changing frequencies, overall the vibrations from these bowls and other tools give us a deep, cleansing energetic massage. This can facilitate shifts in the body’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual state. Using sound as therapy can provide results for a variety of issues including: depression, anxiety, stress, pain management, headaches, sleep disorders, PTSD, mood swings, etc. Sound healing can also assist with achieving greater clarity, calm, heightened awareness, focus, balance and relaxation.
Personally, I have heard of and experienced situations where a person’s symptoms on various levels have been resolved or lifted through sound healing. This includes everything from curing someone’s knee pain or sinus headaches, to releasing intense anxiety or feeling more aligned with your higher self.
Sophie: How has sound healing helped you, and why did you decide to practice it?
Kathryn: I grew up singing in church choir and playing various musical instruments, so music has always been my medicine and brought me joy. I made the decision to learn how to practice with singing bowls because they have helped me so deeply with releasing my own emotional and physical pain, and I wanted to be able to share that gift with others. Experiencing sound baths (aka: a group of people lying or sitting in meditation and rest while a practitioner plays sound bowls, drums, chimes, etc.) helped me find peace and clarity when no doctor or clinician had an answer for me as to why I felt “off” or couldn’t quite get that pulsing pain in my left shoulder to go away no matter what I did. It is truly an honor to be a channel and share this work to also assist with others’ healing journeys.
Sophie: What would you say to someone who does not typically believe in this sort of thing?
Kathryn: There’s not really anything to believe in, per se! Though the tools I use personally come from a particular ancient practice based in Buddhism, the healing practice itself has no dogma. On its most basic level, this work is based in principles of science and energy movement. Sound is vibration, and thus waves of sound are going to interact with the frequencies of our resonant bodies. Research has proven that, when we combine these shifts in frequency with our intention, this affects our brainwaves in such a way to allow for even deeper healing. While the potency of this can vary, I have found in my experience that especially the Tibetan singing bowls will “do the work” even if a person is not extremely receptive. Each person receives what she/he/they need in the moment. However, the more intentional the participant and practitioner are in this work, the more powerful the results can be. Ultimately, sound healing is just one of many tools for healing, and some people may resonate more with it than others. That is okay! Choose whatever modality works for you best and feels right to you.
Sophie: Is there anything you should do before going to their first sound bath?
Kathryn: All you have to do is show up and be open to receiving and releasing what is best for you and the highest good. Sound healing is very much about intention. There is so much power available to you when you set a clear intention for healing. Don’t let the intention carve your expectations for your experience in a narrow path, though. Simply set it and be open to receiving as your highest self knows what she/he/they need, and just let the vibrations do the work. Soak it in and trust.
Sophie: Are there ways to amplify the healing properties of sound healing after a sound bath?
Kathryn: Yes. Drink lots and lots of water after you receive a sound bath or any kind of energy healing. If possible, take a cleansing Epsom salt bath. This will assist your body in releasing toxins and moving any energy that has shifted in your body. Take vitamins and nourish your body with healthy, clean foods. Take time to rest afterwards and know the effects can come 48-72 hours after as well. Everyone is different and experiences shifts in various ways. Allow your body to realign and reset.
Sophie: How do you take care of yourself? Do you have any self-care rituals or other healing practices?
Kathryn: Yes! For when I am feeling sad, off or not myself: dance and song in addition to the bowls are two of my favorite personal self-care tools! I just love music as medicine. There’s nothing quite like putting on your favorite jam and dancing it out or singing at the top of your lungs.
For when I am feeling stuck and anxious: movement (yoga, running, working out) or breath work. Both can be extremely powerful tools for getting energy moving in my body and helping to release any toxic gunk whether it be physical, emotional, spiritual or mental.
For when I am feeling angry: listening to punk rock I love, yelling or laughing out loud. Once I settle down, imagining myself sending a ball of light to the part of me that is feeling this way, and also sending this to another person if it involves a conflict with someone else.
For when I am feeling confused or cloudy: a shower meditation where I imagine I am washing away all my confusion in the shower so my mind is clear.
For my New Yorkers (or those stuck in traffic), when I am stuck on the subway and feel unsafe or have motion sickness: self-reiki!
Some daily rituals that I find helpful:
Being conscious about what I put in my body and also what thoughts flow through my mind
A daily journal and gratitude practice
Reading affirmations out loud in the mornings and evenings
Meditation! Even if I only have 5 minutes, it helps reset me
Taking deep, expansive breaths to move through any stress
Setting aside time for “play”
Prayer: taking a moment to thank my ancestors and ask for guidance throughout the day
Energetic protection: before I leave the house, imagining myself surrounded by a ball of light that encompasses my body and protects me
Sophie: Do you have any advice for anyone who is curious about healing practices and not sure where to start?
Kathryn: An easy way to try new modalities or practices is by attending events virtually or in person in a group setting. There are so many communities of healing now that are growing. In smaller communities, I find yoga studios are always a good place to start and go to various events, workshops or meditations that might showcase different healing practices. Follow practitioners online as well, as many people host virtual circles (some even free) over Zoom or Facebook live. Most importantly, find a place you feel safe to explore in your local community. If you’re in NYC, come join us at Rhythmic Flows for a yoga flow, live music and sound healing session with yours truly!
About the author:
Anne-Sophie Bousset ("Sophie" to English-speaking friends), is a freelance marketer and community builder. She helps companies build their brand, attract clients, and build a community around their product. Her favorite things include sunshine, yoga, reading, and lazy Sundays in with her cat, Phelps. She can be found on Twitter @Sophie_Bousset.