Bring in the new year with singing bowls
Healing practitioners using sound therapy and guided meditations often use singing bowls to deepen meditation and promote relaxation. It is an ancient practice, but with recent research showing the benefits of sound therapy, it is being used more often as a complementary treatment for many physiological and mental health conditions.
Singing bowls are made out of metal alloys, often copper and brass, similar to church bells. Some singing bowls are also made out of quartz crystal. Bowls of varying sizes are placed around a room with participants lying on the floor.
The bowls are tapped with a mallet and then the mallet is used to circle the bowl using varying pressure and speed. This makes different sounds, often prolonged to emit unique vibrational frequencies. The different notes and frequencies, in addition to relaxation, “bathe” the participant, evoking physiological responses such as aiding in the relief of symptoms of chronic pain, anxiety, depression and anger as well as improving sleep, blood pressure and heart rate.
Brittany Harris, a Reiki Master Teacher, intuitive healer and sound healing practitioner with fruition healing, uses her music background to conduct sound bath classes. Harris said, “My goal is for people to have a peak experience, but at a most basic level, I just want people to come in and relax, to put their day, worries and stresses away for an hour and be calm and present.”
Theories as to why singing bowls might have positive effects on health and well-being take into account how both the sounds and the vibrations might affect one’s body and mind. For example, the sounds may produce binaural beats, which encourage beta waves or trance-like theta waves in the brain, while the vibrations may cause muscles to contract and relax.
A 2019 study in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Mental Health found that singing bowls can induce a deep state of relaxation in a short period of time, often fewer than 20 minutes. This level of relaxation was greater in both depth and consistency than relaxation from just lying down in silence. Harris added that most people are surprised at how much they feel the sounds and vibrations within their bodies.
According to healthline.com, there are precautions against using singing bowls in some circumstances, such as during pregnancy, if epileptic, or if there are metal devices in the body such as a pacemaker. Talk to a healthcare practitioner about any treatment before trying it.
The practice has become increasingly popular. To watch the video of six-time, Grammy-nominated singer Jhené Aiko, who has helped bring singing bowls into mainstream music, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Ux5e7IYlkE. To learn about upcoming sound bath classes, visit www.fruition-healing.com.
By Lisa Nicklanovich; photo courtesy of Brittany Harris