For thousands of years, dating as far back as 3000 BC, Tibetan singing bowls have been used to balance, centre, and ground the mind and body. The complex sounds that are emitted from the bowls when played, resonate throughout the entire body, from the feet to the crown of the head, bringing everything into alignment.
THE HISTORY OF TIBETAN SINGING BOWLS
Traditionally Tibetan singing bowls are crafted from a special seven metal alloy, consisting of gold, silver, iron, mercury, tin, copper and lead. Each metal was chosen to help align and centre the ethereal body, each one producing its own unique sound. The metals used had not originated on the Indian subcontinent and were not local to the area. To this day it is unknown where the bowls originated from, though it is theorised that they were first made in Mesopotamia over 5000 years ago. Singing bowls are believed to be one of the most ancient artisan crafts in human history.
The inherited and ancient technique of hammering these bowls has been handed down through generations in India, Nepal, and Tibet. To this day, craftsmen still work with traditional and ancient techniques to create the bowls, working together through a cyclic process of heating and hammering until the bowl has reached the desired shape. As there are so many metals used in the creation of these beautiful bowls, they each generate different pitches when striked and no two bowls emit the exact same sound.
Watch the following video to learn more about how these beautiful instruments are created:
Linked to Tibetan Buddhism, singing bowls were often found inside monasteries and homes, although they were not openly spoken about. Even the Tibetan Buddhist Canon – a collection of sacred texts in Buddhist literature – contains no information about the bowls. The secrecy of the bowls was maintained until the Chinese invaded Tibet. It is said that these bowls are so powerful that monks and lamas would use them to heighten their frequency.
THE SCIENCE BEHIND SOUND
Tibetan singing bowls are said to help the brain move into Theta brain wave frequencies, gently shifting the mind into a deeper meditative state. Theta State is a state of very deep relaxation; it is used in hypnosis and during REM sleep. Theta brain waves can be considered the subconscious; they govern the part of our mind that lies between the conscious and the unconscious, and retain memories and feelings. Dr Thomas Budzynski, one of the world’s foremost authorities on bio-feedback, said that Theta brain waves produce “a sensation of detached relaxation” with “results ranging from… drowsy, (hypnotic) like states, to vivid, holograph-like images”.
In ancient cultures all over the world, sound has been used to aid meditation and healing. When sound waves reach our ears, they are converted into electrical signals that travel up the auditory nerve, and into the auditory cortex – the part of the brain that processes sound. Once sound waves reach our brain, they trigger certain responses in our bodies. These responses, triggered by the vibrations of a Tibetan bowl, can help to heighten one’s intuition, clarity of mind, as well as deep meditative and peaceful states. This positively affects our nervous system and engages our relaxation reflex while also inhibiting the pain or stress response.
The sound waves produced from striking a Tibetan bowl with a mallet are so organised and impactful that they have the ability to shift water into creative patterns. Since humans are made up of approximately 60% water, the sound has the same potential to significantly affect our own vibrations. When we relax to the sounds of Tibetan singing bowls, our cognitive functions improve and tension is released.
“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.”Director of Medical Oncology and Integrative Medicine at the Cornell Cancer Prevention Center in New York, Dr. Mitchell Gaynor
3 Scientifically-Proven Why Sound Healing is Good for You:1. Sound frequency makes us more productive
By activating Dopamine, Serotonin and Oxytocin in our brains, sound affects your levels of motivation, productivity, and happiness. The vibrations of certain sound frequencies (such as Tibetan bowls) activate our happy hormones and can therefore generate a boost in productivity and improved quality of work.
2. Sound frequency relieves stress and improves our mood
It floods our brains with Dopamine (clarity, motivation, memory) and also releases Oxytocin (natural painkiller, bonding with others). Scientists discovered that, when played, singing bowls produce Theta waves which gives us a feeling of deep relaxation.
3. Sound frequency helps us to access our creative flow
Levels of creativity within the human mind are affected by the Dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine is a chemical that allows us to think outside of the box and generate new ideas. In a study published in 2013, it was found that levels of Dopamine and creative flow can be influenced by binaural beats, an auditory illusion generated through certain sound waves. This illusion arises when two tones of a different, yet complementary, frequency reach the ears, one to the left and the other to the right. Instead of hearing two different tones, the individual will often hear just one tone that fluctuates in frequency.
A METAPHYSICAL BREAKDOWN: SOUND AND THE HUMAN BODY
We, as humans all carry a particular vibration. When we feel stressed, overwhelmed, or generally quite low, it throws our vibration out of balance and into a place of disharmony. If you are constantly out of balance, this can manifest as physical illness. Sound healing is essentially frequency, or vibration caused by sound which can be used to retune our bodies and bring us back into balance. Tibetan singing bowls are one of the most powerful modalities for sound healing. They carry a stable, solid frequency that our brains adjust to/match.
Tibetan bowls are so powerful that they can influence our minds in positive ways and help us return back to our bodies, into the present moment.