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The science of singing bowls

Singing bowls have been used in sound therapy for thousands of years, but how do they work? Holistic Healer, Olivia Panella (UMA GAIA), gets behind the science to explain how, and why, quartz crystal singing bowls resonate so strongly with the human body.

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Photo: Dani Costelo

It starts with resonance; all things begin with a single resonance. But, what is resonance? Everything in our universe is in a constant state of vibration and the frequency and the speed that an object or being naturally vibrates at is called ‘resonance’.

Take a moment and let this sink in, maybe even see if you can feel your own inner resonance.

Dr. Mitchell Gaynor, a New York oncologist and Clinical Professor of medicine at Weill Medical College of Cornel University, and author of The Healing Power of Sound states that:

“If we accept that sound is vibration, and we know that vibration touches every part of our physical being, the way we understand sound is heard not only through our ears but through every cell in our bodies. Sound enters the healing equation from several directions: It may alter cellular functions through energetic effects; it may entrain biological systems to function more homeostatically; it may calm the mind and therefore the body; or it may have emotional effects, which influence neurotransmitters (a chemical substance that is released at the end of the nerve fiber by the arrival of a nerve impulse and, by diffusing across the synapse or junction, causes the transfer of the impulse to another nerve/fiber, a muscle fiber, or some other structure) and neuropeptides (any of a group of compounds that act as neurotransmitters), which in turn help to regulate the immune system-the-healer within.”

If we now know that everything has a resonant frequency, then in relation to the human form, our bones, organs and the chakras all possess a different resonant frequency, and hold their own form of consciousness. And so, if one part of the body isn’t working optimally or feeling good, it would mean the vibration is out of tune, so to speak. We call it having ‘dis-ease’. When a body is healthy, every cell, every organ, is creating a harmonious resonance with the entire being.

Vibrational medicine is based on the idea that all illness or disease is characterised by a blockage in the channels on some level, whether it be the nadis, arteries, veins, nerves, and so on. Sound and light resonance can break-up, dissolve, and release these blockages. A present-day example of this is the high intensity focussed ultrasound (HIFU) procedure, which aims to kill cancer cells with high-frequency sound waves.

One of the first documented crystal singing bowls can be found over 4,000 years ago in China. Ancient civilizations of India, Asia, Africa and Europe, among Aboriginals and Native Americans, practised using sound to heal, and the idea of achieving balance from within has existed for many years and in many different forms. Nearly every culture has appointed sound to uplift, harmonise, destroy or create something within the community or the individual, at some point.

In the Tibetan culture, bells, chimes, metal bowls and chanting are the foundation to spiritual practice and the belief system. Native Americans and Aboriginal leaders and shamans use vocal toning and the repeated creative rhythm from instruments made from nature to purify and balance the spirit. In Ancient Egypt, the priests knew how to use vowel sounds to connect to their energy centres (or ‘chakras’ in Sanskrit), introducing the theory of a direct sound resonance relationship to specific parts of the body.

The sound of a quartz crystal bowl, the “music” it can emit, is a pure holographic template of radiant light that responds to the octave of sound within our being. And, since sound can be translated into colour, the body can be seen as an auric colour field, which reflects the emotional state of consciousness and thus the physiological status.

Sound and colour are both forms of energy, which vibrate. As the vibration of sound becomes higher and lighter, the sound is transmuted into colour. Steven Halpern gives a graphic example of the sound/colour relationship:

“…vibrations at 1000 cycles per second are easily audible. If you double the vibrations to 2000 cycles per second, that is one octave higher. If you double it again to 4000 cycles per second, that is another octave. A normal piano spans a bit more than seven octaves. If, hypothetically, we could extend the piano keyboard another 35 to 50 octaves higher, the keys at the higher end would produce colors, rather than audible sounds, when played.” (Sound Health: The Music and Sound That Makes Us Whole)

Understanding Quartz Crystal

Crystal is H2O (water) and silica; both elements are found on the periodic table and both are found within our human form. Quartz is created under the earth’s crust when fossilised water turns to crystal and is combined with an element. A crystal is the only element able to express itself as a unified and ordered being. Both these properties give way to the crystal being able to amplify, transform, store, focus, and transfer energy. Crystal is used for these unique properties in many everyday objects, such as microphones, radios, watches, laser tools, computers, mobile phones… The list goes on. Bringing it back to our bodies, we too are a comprised of crystalline structures.

Quartz crystal bowls use specific sound colour vibrations that align with each chakra, and each chakra relates to an individual physical centre. Eva Rudy Jansen published a book called Singing Bowls 1900, where she documented the effect of Tibetan metal bowls. She recorded the waves produced by the bowls and found that they had a comparable wave pattern to the alpha waves produced by the brain which, in turn, created a deep sense of relaxation and inner space. In another form, Himalayan bowls and gongs derive natural healing power through entrainment, which is when a being is synchronised to the sound resonance. Look at it like this; when brain waves and the body are synchronised or pumped with pure crystal-light-wave tones, the balance can be restored within the auric and physical being.

Quartz crystal singing bowls, along with other forms of sound therapy, purport many benefits, including: stress release; shock or trauma release; creative and conscious expansion; memory and intuition enhancement; inner and outer alignment awakening; aura cleansing, boosting and balancing; and an increase in our abilities to love, forgive, trust, heal and grow.

To go even deeper, if we understand that each part of a body breaks down into a sound (a note), a colour and a speed, then we can begin to discuss the chakra system and how singing bowl-therapies connect to the physical and non-physical aspects of our identity. We have seven main chakras, and each chakra is designated specific physical parts of the body such as organs, glands and adrenals, as well as emotional parts, mental patterns and spiritual awareness. Each chakra comes with its own related resonance, colour, intention and note, and can act as a map for our own inner harmonic or dis-harmonic resonance.

Chakras, their colours and notes

Root Chakra: Red, C Note
Sacral Chakra: Orange, D Note
Solar Plexus: Yellow, E Note,
Heart Chakra: Green, F Note,
Throat Chakra: Blue, G Note,
Third Eye: Indigo, A Note,
Crown: Purple, B Note.

So, when a quartz crystal singing bowl that is moulded to make the F note is played, the note it emits will connect directly to the heart chakra. The sound will be the purest form of that resonant frequency and will enter the heart chakra within the body (and the connected physical, mental and emotional patterns) and heal and awaken, as well as release the blockages, stored energy, disease, ailments etc. Each quartz crystal singing bowl’s sound will reshape and harmonise the resonance of the targeted chakra within the body.

We are sound, we are resonance, we are energy. We can heal ourselves through sound, through pure tones. We can release old patterns, beliefs, physical pains, disease and depression – all forms of ailments through re-balancing our inner resonance, which ultimately effects and directs our physical being.

Words by Olivia Panella (UMA GAIA).

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