Sound therapy has been used thousands of years ago to achieve a soothing and relaxing effect on the mind, body, and spirit. This kind of therapy uses both sound and vibrations at different frequencies. It is also practiced to improve sleep, eliminate toxins, stimulate circulation, lower blood pressure and heart rate, and enhance recovery from trauma or illness. (Related: De-Stress And Heal Your Body With Sound Therapy.)
Also known as Tibetan singing bowls, Himalayan singing bowls originated thousands of years ago in the Himalayas. They were primarily used in monasteries and temples for spiritual ceremonies, meditation, and sound healing therapy. Today, these bowls are still mostly made in India and Nepal. They are available as both pure singing bowls or hand-hammered versions made from an alloy of seven metals, which symbolize the seven planets, days of the week, primary colors, and musical notes.
So, how do they work? Himalayan singing bowls work by resonating with a pure, healing sound. On the other hand, hammered bowls produce a special vibration when struck or strummed, hence the term “hammered.” The vibrations created are similar to those of the alpha waves of the brain. The vibrations also oscillate with an energetically high frequency similar to that of the “Om” mantra. Singing and hammered bowls produce a sound that affects the brainwave frequencies as well as help bring the brain into a Theta state within minutes. Theta waves are waves that are present in REM sleep, hypnosis, and deep meditation. Simultaneously, the vibrations produced from the bowls offer a cellular massage.
Healing through Himalayan singing bowls is based on the idea that all diseases are marked by a hindrance to the flow of energy in the body. When the flow of energy is interrupted, the organ or tissue stops at vibrating at a healthy frequency, leading to some kind of illness. The sound frequencies produced by Himalayan singing bowls bring back and enhance energy flow in parts of the body where they are needed.
To use the hammered bowl, just strike or strum the bowl clockwise with a mallet. Aim to be totally present and have a positive intention when doing this to experience the full effect of the therapy. The sound alone helps center the mind because all attention is focused on the bowl. In spa treatments, bowls are set on and around the body and are gently strummed to produce the sound and vibrations.
Practicing sound and vibration therapy can also be done at home. Try it for at least one hour before you sleep, practice chanting, singing, and vocal toning while being aware of the vibrations in the body to induce the healing effect. If you want a deep sleep, put a bowl either on your solar plexus chakra, which is located in the abdomen, or heart chakra, which is located in the center of the chest, and strum it for around 10 minutes.
The kinds of bowls vary depending on its purpose. For group sound sessions, concert-grade bowls are used, which are usually heavy and have a thick rim. For spas, therapeutic-grade bowls are used. They are slightly thinner and more refined and produce a longer vibration than the concert-grade ones. Bowls made of seven metals and hand-hammered ones are preferred over those made from a mold or cast as they produce stronger therapeutic vibrations.
Apart from singing bowls, there are other techniques to promote healing with sound. These include classical music, humming, tuning forks, yogic chanting, and “Om” chanting.
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