“If we accept that sound is vibration and we know that vibration touches every part of our physical being, then we understand that sound is heard not only through our ears but through every cell in our bodies. One reason sound heals on a physical level is because it so deeply touches and transforms us on the emotional and spiritual planes. Sound can redress imbalances on every level of physiologic functioning and can play a positive role in the treatment of virtually any medical disorder.” — Dr. Mitchell Gaynor, director of Medical Oncology and Integrative Medicine, the Cornell Cancer Prevention Center in New York.
In the words of the great Tibetan Bodhisattva Gwalwa Karmapa, the Singing Bowls of Tibet emit the “Sound of the Void”—the sound of the universe manifesting. They’re a symbol of the “unknowable” and as an alloy, date back to the Buddha Shakyamuni (563-483 B.C.).
Their origins and detailed histories are shrouded in the distant past and are surely a gift from the shamanistic Bon tradition, which precedes Buddhism in Tibet by centuries. For centuries they have been utilized for healing and consciousness transformation. We’re now discovering the science behind this powerful ancient modality that’s so effective for healing today. Modern medicine can now measure and thus confirm the practice of sound as a means to heal.
Trinity of Tibetan spiritual sound objects used for healing (Singing Bowls, Ganta and Tingshas):
- The bowls emit a quieting, centreing energy.
- The Ganta (bell) a motivating and unifying influence and the Tingshas stimulate energy fields.
- The ancient bowls actually come from various Himalayan regions including Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan and are made from a consecrated seven metal alloy. Prayers and mantras were chanted to them during their creation so they carry that sacred energy.
What are Tibetan Singing Bowls used for?
Used within meditations and physical healings the bowls’ characteristic blend of harmonic resonances are used as a vibrational tool to induce stress reduction, chakra balancing, energy synchronization and spontaneous healing. They effectively alter consciousness into a peaceful and expansive meditative state. Participants report a fundamental shift in their view of phenomenon space, accentuated clarity of mind and body, enhanced creativity and a sense of peace and well-being.
On a biological level these instruments affect a great deal of physical change, but Tibetan bowl healing has far-reaching implications that occur on emotional, spiritual and physical levels. It’s a regenerative process married to a spiritual awakening that can have profound consequences on illness, disease and all aspects of our lives. In fact, mainstream medical teaching facilities like Duke University and the University of North Carolina have added programs that link body, mind and spirit to the treatment of cancer. Cancer prevention centres are utilizing sound as a vital part of the healing process for patients with astounding results.
Dr. Mitchell Gaynor has been using sound, including Tibetan bowls, crystal bowls and chanting in work with cancer patients for many years. The medical director of the Deepak Chopra Center in California, Dr. David Simon, found that the sound from Tibetan bowls as well as chanting are chemically metabolized into “endogenous opiates” that act on the body as internal painkillers and healing agents.
The harmonic resonance of these instruments are used within meditations and physical vibrational healing techniques to:
- Reduce stress and pain
- Balance energy
- Create vitality, synchronization and spontaneous healing
- Effectively alter consciousness into a peaceful and expansive meditative state (trance induction)
Himalayan bowls are also teachers. They carry the Buddhist voidness teachings that purport that nothing exists independently of anything else. Each note from these sacred instruments contains all other notes and herein lies their magic. Although possessing a variety of harmonics, the fundamental vibration of each bowl is rooted in the Sanskrit mantra OM. This primordial sound is the perfection of the universe. The ensuing sympathetic resonance between brain and bowls reawakens the intrinsic blissful self in us.
How do the vibrations from the Singing Bowls help in the healing process disease?
It can be said that illness is a manifestation of dis-harmony within the body—an imbalance in the cells or a given organ and that healing can be achieved by restoring the normal vibratory frequencies of the diseased, out-of-harmony parts of the body. Since all matter is energy vibrating at different rates, by altering the rate of vibration we can change the structure of matter. Sound from the bowls entrain the brain to move into the deeper Alpha and Theta brain wave frequencies that induce deep meditative and peaceful states, clarity of mind and intuition. When placed directly on the body the sound vibrations are transmitted into our blood, organs, tissues, and cellular memory through the 70 percent water in our system. The sound vibrations impact our nervous system, engaging our relaxation reflex and inhibiting the stress or pain response. It reduces brain wave activity, slows the respiratory and heart rate, creating “Cardio-Respiratory Synchronicity”—the perfect condition to release blocked energy and bring the body back into alignment.
Dr. Gaynor mentions in an article in Shamans Drum magazine that the reason sound (and chanting) are still used in shamanistic cultures is that the sound induces trance states of consciousness conducive to healing. Ancient Himalayan bowls are made from a consecrated seven-metal alloy which, when skillfully stimulated, produces five individual and simultaneous tones, each at its own consistent frequency that vibrationally dance with each other. The raw materials for these bowls were collected, smelted and purified, cast, reheated and hammered into shape and tone. Mantras or sacred chants were sung to infuse intent into the bowls. Their sound synchronizes sentient brain waves and creates a therapeutic effect upon the mind-body realization.
Singing bowls produce the primordial sound of “AUM”: The fundamental utterance of energy metamorphosing into matter. They alter space, mind and time, awakening cellular memory and healing the energy body. The act of listening to their captivating overtones effectively stops one’s internal dialog, the “monkey mind.” The individual is transported into a space of tranquility and balance where the “Universal Chord,” found within each self, is touched, joined with, and understood. The Universal Chord is the primordial substance from which our whole reality is made and from which our universe originated. Although the vibrational energy of the bowls can be directed to a specific area for healing purposes, they work more on a fundamental level.
Our attitudes, beliefs and behaviours will either engage with or sabotage the healing potential as well. Positive thinking can strengthen your immune system and change your life. The combination of the sound vibration of the bowls with positive visualization and affirmations will greatly enhance the healing experience.
Thus, sound is a type of energy medicine that creates the sacred space in which people can heal from stress disorders, pain, depression, the emotional roller coaster and more. It also creates the perfect state for deep meditation, creative thinking and intuitive messages. The healing process is initiated by entraining our brainwaves and creating sympathetic resonance with the perfect vibrations of the bowls.
Diane Mandle is certified in Tibetan Bowl Sound Healing through the State of California and Sacred Sound Workshops. Based in Southern California, she maintains a private practice offering an integrated system for healing which includes Sound and Polarity Therapy, Toning, and Visualization. Diane conducts educational presentations, keynotes and concerts nationwide on healing using the Himalayan bowls. She can be reached at 760.944.3441 or email@example.com. Her CD “Return to OM” is available on her website.