Sound therapy is one of the best kept secrets of natural healing. Despite being around for many centuries, it’s only recently caught on in most of the Western world. But if you’re willing to consider it, you could enjoy numerous benefits as a result.
What Are Singing Bowls?
Singing bowls are carefully designed metal bowls that are used in meditation and various forms of sound healing. Typically made of a blend of metal alloys (primarily consisting of bronze), these bowls can also be made from quartz or even gold.
“What they are designed to do is cancel out the mind chatter, and allow you to really just experience these very soft, tonal wavelengths of vibration that allow you to ease the mind,” sound healer Guy Douglas says. “I find that sound is very effective to bring you to that state of meditation: The vibrations move through you and create the sound of peace.”
Singing bowls might be “new” to most Westerners, but they’ve been around for centuries. And while in many cases the specific uses have evolved over the years, singing bowls continue to be extremely valuable.
Singing bowls were originally used in Eastern Asian cultures for wellness, meditation, and spiritual connection. There’s evidence to suggest that they date back to the early era of Buddha Shakyamuni (2,500 years ago) to enhance meditative states and promote the “attainment of enlightenment.” These Tibetan singing bowls, as they’re known, are forged with a prayer in every hammer blow. And while they’re no longer being produced, they can still be found by those who desire healing, mindfulness, and overall balance.
The Benefits of Singing Bowls
The power of singing bowls lies in the transmission of sound, which affects humans on three distinct levels: the physical, the mental, and the spiritual.
Physical effects of vibration include:
- Deep muscle relaxation and regeneration
- Relief of pain in joints and muscles
- Relief of pain associated with headaches/migraines and sciatica
- Eased pressure on the digestive system
- Improved circulation and blood flow
- Superior digestion
- Better energy flow throughout the body
- Elimination of harmful toxins from the body
- Superior immune system functioning
Mental and emotional effects of vibration include:
- Improved concentration
- More energy and strength
- Relaxed mind
- Release of emotional blockages
- Alleviated mental and emotional pain
- Higher self-confidence
- Greater creativity
Spiritual effects of vibration include:
- Positive feels of self-worth
- Greater harmony and balance
- Experiences of bliss
- Better spiritual energy
Everybody responds differently to singing bowls. So much depends on your current physical and emotional state, the application of the singing bowls, the frequency of the singing bowls used, and the person administering the sound healing.
How Singing Bowls Work
While it’s clear that singing bowls work, there are many theories behind why or how they work. One belief is that bowls calm the mind by entraining various electrical impulses of the brain to mimic the ones found in different states of meditation, relaxation, and/or deep concentration. In other words, the idea is that sound vibrations “re-tune” our minds.
During treatment, the individual typically lies on the floor or other surface and bowls are placed around them in various configurations. Sound is created by firmly pressing a mallet in a circular motion against the outside edge/rim of the bowl. The resulting sound is a bright, clear tone.
The speed and volume of the tone can be manipulated by changing the rotation of the wrist and/or the location of the mallet on the bowl. There are other techniques that experienced sound healers use, including gently striking the bowl before beginning the circular motion.
“Some hypothesize that listening to singing bowls guides the mind toward theta brain wave activity, specifically, the frontal midline theta that’s observed when we’re in deep concentration or meditation,” mindfulness expert Isabelle Pikorn writes.
Some believe that the true power of singing bowls lies in their ability to put people into a meditative state that allows individuals to block out unpleasant feelings and relax their mind and body.
Using Singing Bowls in Your Own Life
While you can certainly use singing bowls in the privacy of your own home or as part of a gathering of friends, true sound therapy should be administered by a licensed and trained professional who understands vibrational theory and the role that different frequencies play in healing. There are sound healers in almost every city. Give it a try and see what you think.