Sounds relaxing

Trisha Byrnes

PHOTO BY Shannon rooney

As soon as Trisha Byrnes begins speaking, it’s impossible not to notice her optimism and enthusiasm. On a recent afternoon, she spoke from the patio of T. Tea Bar & Fusion Café on Forest Avenue, a mint green blouse accentuating her intensely blue eyes framed by curly blond hair. Although she lived in Southern California most of her life, she now proudly calls herself a Chicoan, having left SoCal last September to create a new life. Byrnes recently retired from a 45-year career in nursing, mostly in ER and ICU settings. While working as a nurse, she gradually realized she had talents in the alternative-healing arts as well and became a certified Reiki master. “For over 20 years, I’ve been an energy healer,” she said. “I love working with energy and helping the body heal.” Working as an energy healer led her to working with watsu (water healing) and sound healing. Byrnes is now a sound therapy practitioner, owner of Sacred Sound Sanctuary. She has a set of crystal healing bowls, one for each chakra (energy center in the body), which she uses in various settings. One setting is the Monday evening “sound bath” held at Integrated Therapy Services. Here she and colleague Justin Smith create an hour-long “bath” of sounds from the crystal bowls as well as a variety of other instruments and sound-makers, some of which are bells, a didgeridoo (which Smith made), and Native American flutes. Participants bring blankets and pillows to get comfy before the session begins, and once the sounds have commenced, there’s no talking—just listening. The ethereal bath of sounds transports each individual to realms beyond ordinary waking consciousness. Stress-relief and relaxation are two of the benefits, but there can be many more, depending on each person’s individual encounter with the sounds. Reach Byrnes at or (949) 456-5695.

How did you end up in Chico?

My mother and sister live here. The last five years I’ve been going through a major metamorphosis—I feel like I’m the Phoenix rising!

What do you like about Chico?

No cement jungle and no traffic, and I can’t tell you how good this is.

How does watsu water therapy work?

It’s like Shiatsu in the water. You get these wonderful movements. People say it’s like being in utero.

What happens with sound healing?

Each individual is unique. The main thing is going to be relaxation. Then, it takes you on another little side trip, wherever your spirit wants to take you. It’s just amazing the stories people share of where they’ve been! Some describe it as going into different dimensions of colors and sounds—they feel like their crown chakra is opening up and wisdom is coming through.

What’s your advice for first-timers at the sound bath?

Don’t be in your head when you start the sound bath. Just let everything go and receive. You never know what is going to unfold.

What’s the cost for the sound bath?

It’s just $20, but no one is turned away for lack of funding. It’s about letting you have a better day.

What else do you do?

Another thing I’m bringing to the table is my sacred anointing of women. It helps women get in touch with their divineness. An important part of my journey is to connect with people and help them connect with themselves.