Shanti Bowl

My Account

Blog

Healing the Body with Sound Therapy

Healing the Body with Sound Therapy

It is undeniable that music and sound affect the body. Specific harmonic arrangements can cause the body to become energized or induce it to enter a relaxed state. Sound and music are deeply rooted in humanity’s psyche and manifest themselves in a plethora of human activities, including religious activities, celebrations, and entertainment.

Some cultures have even acknowledged the amazing healing capabilities of sound by using them to treat physical ailments. Today, many alternative healing practitioners tap into the same body of knowledge and use sound therapy for the benefit of their patients.

In this post, we describe sound therapy, describe its evolution throughout history, explain how it works, explain how it can benefit your well-being, and describe the different methods of performing sound therapy.

What is Sound Therapy?

Sound therapy is essentially the process of healing the mind and body through music, tones, frequencies, and vibrations. Sound therapy takes into consideration a person’s emotional, mental, psychological, and spiritual well-being and improvement.

Sound therapy can be performed in a variety of ways and can be conducted with instruments or through clapping, chanting, or humming, among other methods.

Many people claim to experience feeling rejuvenated after a sound therapy session. When a person seeks healing through sound therapy, their fundamental objective is to focus deeply on the music or sound being generated by the practitioner.

Sound Therapy Throughout History

Sound healing is not limited to only one culture. In fact, sound therapy has existed for thousands of years and has manifested itself in different versions throughout the world.

The Aboriginal Australians known as the Yolngu are believed to be one of the earliest groups to perform sound healing rituals. They play an instrument called the yidaki which they believe can heal various physical ailments including fractured bones and muscle damage.

The ancient Egyptians also valued sound healing. In fact, for thousands of years ritual leaders and priests chanted vowel tones and used instruments such as the sistra.

In ancient Greece, the great mathematician and philosopher Pythagoras is credited as a father of music therapy. He wielded the instrument called the kithara and was able to observe the calming effect of the music he played to the people and animals around him. He discovered that the seven keys in the Greek system of music were capable of triggering various emotions, and that some sounds and instruments could cause chaotic and stressful emotions. He described his discoveries as a form of “musical medicine”.

How Sound Therapy Works

How does sound therapy affect the body? In order to determine the answer to this question, we first need to understand what sound is and how it is received by the body.

Sound is essentially the energy created when an object vibrates. When an object vibrates, it causes the air surrounding the object to vibrate as well. The air’s movement allows it to carry the vibrational energy from the object to different places, including the human body.

The ears are the primary organ that receives sound. The outer ear funnels the sound. The sound is then channeled to the ear canal where it reaches the eardrum, which is a sensitive, tightly-stretched skin. The sound waves cause the eardrums to vibrate and three tiny bones (known as the ossicles) behind the eardrums move. The ossicles’ movement triggers a shift in the cochlea, liquid-filled coiled tubes that are lined with tiny hairs. When these tiny hairs move, they send nerve signals to the brain which translate into sound.

A study by Salamon et al. investigated how music lowers anxiety and stress levels. The researchers determined that the compound nitric oxide is primarily responsible for causing physiological and psychological relaxing effects. Nitric oxide has been identified to assist in developing the auditory system and the flow of blood in the cochlea.

Some studies have also explored how other organs, such as the skin, are able to receive and absorb sound. One study by von Békésy identifies the similarities between hearing and sensing vibrations, as both are stimulated by traveling waves. In addition, a study by Gick and Derrick, although in the context of phonetics, considered having their test subjects listen to audio recordings of syllables. The researchers also let out a puff of air similar to the puff that would be created when the syllables are pronounced. The researchers discovered that the participants’ level of accuracy in identifying the syllables was reduced in an absence of the air puffs.

Principles of Sound Therapy

The principles of sound healing transcend the understanding of the body’s mechanical reception of sound. In fact, the principles of sound therapy are rooted in the goal of transitioning the body’s vibrations to an optimum state. Practitioners believe that a person and his or her body parts and organs are comprised of unique frequencies. Practitioners perform therapeutic applications of sound vibrations with the intention of bringing harmony and balance.

Another key principle of sound healing is that our bodies resonate efficiently with sound waves since the majority of our composition is water. The molecules in water are denser, which allows it to transmit energy faster from one particle to the next.

Entrainment, the practice of tuning the body to a desired frequency, also plays a crucial role in sound healing. Christiaan Huygens, a Dutch scientist, is credited for the discovery of entrainment in the 16th century. In the context of sound healing, entrainment occurs when the sound coming from an external source is used to tune the body back into balance. When a practitioner produces sounds with the intention of healing, he or she ultimately aims to use entrainment to address the patient’s body imbalance by creating a harmonious resonance between the healing sound and the vibration of the patient’s body.

Another essential principle is the intention behind the sound. This is often thought of as the reason why the sound was generated. People usually create sound or music with the intention to entertain or relax. In sound therapy, the practitioner focuses his or her intention on delivering healing energy to the patient. It is believed that the sound waves become imbued with the practitioner's positive intentions. However, should the sound healing practitioner feel negative emotions, such as anger or anxiety, this can also be transmitted to the patient and may therefore adversely affect the healing process. 

According to Jonathan Goldman, a leading figure in sound healing, all music has potential therapeutic qualities. Furthermore, factors such as time, place, and the individual’s needs are essential for music to fully display its therapeutic capabilities. This is an important concept to remember since there are many ways sound healing can be manifested and performed.

When a sound healing practitioner conducts a session to treat a patient, it is essential for him or her to determine the type of sound or music that best resonates with their patient. Sound uniquely affects individuals; a particular composition may evoke memories of happiness, excitement, grief or anxiety.

What Sound Therapy Can Do for Your Well-Being

People who have undergone sound therapy sessions have reported being relieved of physical and mental aches and pains. Some of the health improvements that people have claimed to experience include the following:

  • Better joint movement;
  • Reduced muscle pain and inflammation;
  • Disappearance of kidney stones;
  • Decreased size of ovarian cyst;
  • Better sleep and deeper relaxation;
  • Reduced headaches; and
  • Enhanced positive outlook in life.

Research has also been conducted to explore the effects of music and sound therapy on a person’s health. Music therapy has been shown to have the potential to affect blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, EEG measurements, body temperature, galvanic skin response, and immune and endocrine processes. In fact, a review by Thaut acknowledges music therapy’s potential to be used in rehabilitation.  

One research study considered the influence of music therapy on anger management in forensic psychiatry patients. Fourteen participants randomly divided into two groups underwent a music therapy anger management program and aggression management program respectively. The results of the test showed that those in the music therapy group displayed greater positive coping skills. The researchers suggested that the number of hours patients are exposed to music therapy can hasten the process of adopting positive behaviors.

Ellis also explored the effects of sound therapy on children who have severe learning difficulties and profound and multiple learning difficulties. One study tested the effectiveness of a specialized sound therapy program with a uniquely high frequency. Twenty children from remedial classes were grouped into an experimental and control group. The experimental group listened to the frequency, while the control group listened to classical music without the high frequency. After a 16-week test, results showed that the experimental group showed more significant gains in auditory discrimination, reading ability, reading comprehension and spelling compared to the control group.

Instruments and Methods Used in Sound Therapy

As discussed above, sound therapy can manifest itself in a variety of forms, all of which have the potential to heal. Described below are a number of instruments that can be used to perform sound therapy.

Vocal Toning

Vocal toning is the process of creating sound with an elongated vowel for an extended period. It creates the strongest healing sound that can be performed without an instrument. It can also help deepen the breath, relax the muscles, and stimulate the body. 

In Ayurveda, vocal toning is a powerful way to balance the body’s chakras. Different vowel sounds correspond to different chakra. For example, vocal toning of the sound “uh” (as in “up”) resonates with the root chakra.

Vocal toning is probably the easiest sound healing procedure you can perform since you do not have to use an instrument and it can be done anywhere and anytime. To perform vocal toning, find a place where you will be undisturbed and seat yourself comfortably in a chair with your spine upright. Take a few deep breathes to relax. When you are ready, vocal tone the root chakra. You can then move up to the different chakras, namely the sacral, polar lexus, heart, throat, brow and crown chakra. Visualize the color of the particular chakra as you tone its corresponding vowel sound.

Chants

Chanting also uses the voice and involves repeating sacred words, names, and phrases. The goal of chanting is to trigger physical changes in the brain through sound vibrations. Chanting is said to bring about a sense of deep calm and peace.

A form of chanting that began in India is known as Kirtan. It has a religious aspect that is believed to usher in happiness and to cleanse the heart of distractions. Kirtan is performed in a call-and-response style. Those who participate in Kirtan recite ancient chants which are mostly sung in Sanskrit.

Both vocal toning and chanting can be done individually or in a group.

Singing Bowls

Also known as Tibetan singing bowls and Himalayan singing bowls, these are inverted bells made principally from copper, bronze, or quartz crystal. They are played by circling and striking the bowl’s rim with the accompanying mallet.

Playing the singing bowl can create unique rhythmic patterns and vibrational sound harmonics similar to the frequency of “aum” or “om,” the sacred mantra in Hinduism and Buddhism.

Gongs

The gong is an instrument that has been used in sound healing for thousands of years. It is a percussion instrument usually made from brass or bronze. There are different sizes of gongs, each size emitting a unique sound. The gong is played by hitting its center with a mallet. Other techniques of playing the gong include priming it by stroking and letting it vibrate, and spinning it to make warping sounds.

Gong baths are meditative and relaxing sessions where a patient lays down while a sound healer plays a set of gongs that surround the patient. The patient allows the sound, volume, and vibrations from the gong to be absorbed by his or her body. Most of those who have undergone gong baths have reported feeling more energized, less stressed, and more peaceful.

Shakers and Rattles

As noted above, the ancient Egyptians used a shaker-like instrument called the sistra. Shamans and healers have used shakers and rattles to connect with spiritual entities to aid them in treating a patient. These instruments are believed to fragment dense energy and cleanse the body of negativity.

Tuning Forks

A tuning fork is often used to correct the tones of musical instruments. The prongs of the fork are struck to create a specific pitch, to which the musician matches the tone of his or her instrument. Tuning forks have also been used in sound therapy, such as where a practitioner makes it vibrate and then places it in near the patient’s ailing area. Tuning forks can also be placed near the chakra locations to stimulate energetic healing.

Conclusion

Sound is a powerful force that affects the mind, body and soul. People of various cultures have identified and harnessed sound’s capability to bring about healing and balance. Sound therapy has evolved over the centuries and has recently been further refined to complement traditional medical treatment.

Sound healing can be a great complement to improving your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Of course, it is essential that you not subscribe to sound healing as a complete alternative to the treatment of your medical conditions. Always consult your doctor and seek medical attention for any health issues you may be experiencing.

Read more...

The Complete Guide to Crystal Singing Bowls

The Complete Guide to Crystal Singing Bowls

Sound healing, which is also known as sound therapy, has been practiced since ancient times. The concept of sound therapy is based on the idea that every part of your body creates a vibration which resonates in a certain way. Put another way, vibrational healing is based on the idea that everything in the universe - including our bodies - is in a state of vibration.

When your body is out of balance, diseases can result. That is, illness is caused by blockage which stops the organ in question from vibrating at its healthy frequency. Sound healing works by sending sound waves throughout your body, which brings harmony through oscillation and resonance. This helps restore your body’s balance which in turn helps you heal. 

Singing bowls are often utilized in the course of sound therapy. One type of bowl commonly used in this regard are known as crystal singing bowls, which are also known as quartz singing bowls or glass singing bowls. Various alternative health practitioners believe that the use of these bowls can have a significant beneficial effect on the healing of your mind and body, especially when combined with positive affirmations in the form of mantras and chants.

One of the reasons for the use of crystal singing bowls is the belief that our bodies are made of crystalline structures. For this reason, it is believed that crystal singing bowls significantly affect all the organs and cells of your body. In addition, some alternative health practitioners believe that your brainwave frequency and state of consciousness can be positively charged by the vibrations that are created during sound bowl mediation. 

In this blog post, we discuss crystal singing bowls along with their history and origin. We also discuss how crystal singing bowls are made, what makes them special and explain in detail how to use a crystal singing bowl. We will then discuss the healing properties of crystal singing bowls, how sound bowl healing can help with your physical and mental health, and things to keep in mind when considering the purchase of a crystal singing bowl. We then conclude by comparing crystal singing bowls to Tibetan singing bowls, which are another popular type of singing bowl made from an ancient blend of metals.

What is a Crystal Singing Bowl

Crystal singing bowls are made of pure quartz (essentially 99.8% silicon quartz) and sand in a spinning mold, in a process that heats the mixture to about 4000 degrees. 

Crystal singing bowls are clear or frosted and are made in a variety of sizes ranging from 5 to 24 inches. Clear crystal bowls are generally lighter, smaller and can be played while being held in hand. During the manufacturing process, crystal bowls can be “programmed” to create specific sounds using digital technology, depending on individual needs. When played simultaneously, some bowls harmonize with each other. 

The body has a natural affinity to quartz. On a molecular level, our cells contains silica, which balances our electromagnetic energies. Crystal acts as an oscillator, magnifying and transmitting pure tone. As the sound affects brainwave activity one can enter into an altered state of consciousness. As different parts of the brain are affected, it is probable that they release different hormones and neuro-chemicals.

It is believed that crystal singing bowls produce a vibrational sound that resonates with the chakra of your body. A series of pure crystal bowl therapy is said to help rebalance your body to optimal health. This therapy is believed to transmit energy to your aura and directly affect your brain wave activity, supporting an improved state of consciousness. Various alternative health practitioners believe that crystal singing bowls are powerful tools that can help heal mental and physical ailments.

History and Origin of Crystal Singing Bowls

Singing bowls began their journey in the ancient time of Buddhism. It is believed that singing bowls were an integral part of practicing Buddhism. Notwithstanding these origins, sound therapy has traveled across many religions and cultures throughout their history

The significance of sound, and its important role in supporting human spirit and our physical, mental and emotional health, has been well known through the generations. Our ancestors practiced sound and vibration therapy to resonate with the body’s energy centers or chakras and support optimal health. 

At the outset of their history, singing bowls were crafted using different metals. In accordance with an ancient Tibetan formula, many singing bowls were made of “panchaloga”, which is a Sanskrit word meaning a five-metal alloy that includes copper, zinc, iron and traces of gold and silver. These bowls are commonly known as Tibetan singing bowls.

While metal bowls are still very common, modern technology has permitted the invention of crystal singing bowls, which require complex manufacturing processes and the ability to heat crystal and sand to extreme temperatures. Today, many alternative health practitioners believe that pure quartz crystals greatly promote the overall health of our body. 

How Crystal Singing Bowls are Made

Singing crystal bowls are mostly made of a natural element: pure quartz. These crystals are molded to shape at 4000 degrees, which is a temperature at which most impurities are burned away. Different methods of manufacturing are used for different kinds of quartz singing bowls. For example, to make frosted bowls, the mold is spun into shape, whereas to make clear bowls, quartz tubing is used. Singing bowls may also be manufactured using different kinds of quartz. For example, rose quartz singing bowls are a popular variation.

During the manufacturing process, it is very important to consider the tone of the sound that will be produced by the end product. Frosted bowls have a octave higher tone when compared to clear quartz singing bowls.

Each quartz singing bowl is digitally matched to the musical scale - C, D, E, F, G, A, B - which relates to different chakras of your body. Bigger bowls produce deeper sounds which have a more grounding effect and resonate more strongly with the physical aspect. Smaller bowls have a higher pitch which stimulates higher chakras and resonates more with the spiritual aspect. 

What Makes Quartz Singing Bowls Special

Every cell in the human body has a geometric crystalline structure. This helps your body resonate with the frequencies of quartz crystals. Because quartz crystal bowls have the ability to align with your chakra, they are widely used and considered to be effective singing bowls. They can also produce the purest sounds, which can be ideal for meditation and singing bowl healing

Clear quartz singing bowls contain seven rainbow colors which stimulate seven energy centers or chakras of your body. This helps heal the listener by transferring pure light into the human aura. Some alternative health practitioners believe that this process expands your awareness and brings a positive shift in your consciousness, helping align yourself with your true, original self. It is also believed that quartz crystals have the ability to balance your electromagnetic field during singing bowl meditation

Some energy health practitioners also claim that crystal singing bowls are most effective relative to other metal bowls on the theory that metal is foreign to the human body. Further, it is believed that crystal singing bowls are aligned to match the frequency found in the human body and that this makes them the most dynamic and modern type of tool used for sound bowl therapy. It is also for this reason that many believe that crystal singing bowls are the best singing bowls.

Chakras and Colors

The sounds of crystal singing bowls correspond to the octave of the sound within our etheric body. Sound can be translated into color and the body may be seen as a visible frequency that produces an auric color field which reflects our emotional states of consciousness and thus our physiological status. Pure quartz crystal contains the full spectrum of light and these bowls use specific colors that compliment each chakra:

 Chakra Color Note
Crown Violet B
Brow Indigo A
Zeal Point Magenta G#
Throat Blue G
Thymus Turquoise F#
Heart Green F
Solar Plexus Yellow E
Navel Orange D
Root Red C

 

How to Play Crystal Singing Bowls

Playing a singing bowl is an enriching activity that helps in both healing and meditation. Crystals are believed to have a living energy which, when matched your energy, can help make you feel happy, calm and relaxed. 

Steps to play:

  • Use your singing bowl in a quiet and calm space. 
  • If you have a large singing bowl, please the rubber ring that comes with the bowl on a flat surface and set your bowl on it.
  • With smaller bowls, it may be preferable to place them in hand to hear them better.
  • Grasp the mallet or striker (it often looks like a pencil).
  • Gently tap the outer rim of the bowl and glide the mallet around the outer edge of the rim.
  • Continue gliding with constant, firm pressure to continue the ringing sound. 
  • You may have to practice a few times to achieve that perfect sound. 
  • Always use light pressure while taping the quartz bowl as they are fragile. When handled with care, these bowls can remain vibrant and beautiful for a lifetime.  

Healing Properties of Crystal Singing Bowls

The ancient civilizations of India, Africa, Europe and the Orient have used sound and music as powerful healers for thousands of years. Our ancestors believed that the sacred vibrational sound can adjust any imbalance affecting our physical or emotional well-being. Based on this concept, crystal sound therapy is believed to balance your chakra and re-energize your auric field. 

Each crystal singing bowl is tuned to a particular sound that resonates with a specific chakra. These bowls are also pleasing to look at and pleasant to listen to. They are used in sound healing, yoga, crystal cleansing and specially used at the beginning and end of meditation. Some experienced practitioners believe that crystal singing bowls, when played in the right way, can produce the most calming and healing sounds. 

A famous oncologist, Dr. Mitchell Gaynor, used crystal singing bowl therapy on his patients to minimize and relieve pain without medication. His studies have claimed that sound healing therapy helps to create natural inner harmony in the body. 

Crystal singing bowls are powerful tools to help enhance your mood and soothe your soul. Some of the healing properties of these bowls include the following:

1. Relaxes your mind - Your mind is constantly processing thoughts, often on perpetual repeat. Crystal singing bowls help stop this thought process, allowing you to relax deeply. Some of the benefits of this relaxing therapy include the following:

  • Effectively reduces stress and anxiety
  • Relieves physical pain
  • Improves mental and emotional clarity
  • Cleanses and balances chakra 
  • Stimulates the immune system

    2. Helps meditation and healing - Crystal singing bowls help you meditate by creating more awareness in your mind. Being aware of your thoughts can help you change your negative thinking patterns and move towards positivity. In particular, positive affirmations create balance and harmony in your mind and soul by activating your physical, emotional and energy centers. 

    By meditating with a crystal singing bowl, you can become immersed in a soothing singing bowl sound which further helps you heal by changing your thinking patterns. All the healing happens naturally while you are enveloped by the overwhelming, magnificent singing bowl sound.

      3. Helps improve sleep - Crystal singing bowls have the ability to slow your brain wave patterns, creating more delta waves. These are the dominant waves present during your sleep. In this way, singing bowls can help bring deep sleep by releasing your stress and worries. 

        Who All Can Benefit From Crystal Singing Bowl Therapy

        Crystal singing bowl therapy can help you if you are:

        • Attempting to achieve complete relaxation of your mind.
        • In need of enhancement of your meditation and yoga practice.
        • Seeking to balance the chakra or energy centers of your body.

        Everyone can enjoy these benefits by using singing bowls. Due to the nature of our modern, industrialized lives, many pure, natural healing sounds have disappeared from our lives. We no longer commonly hear the beautiful sounds of nature such as singing birds, rustling leaves or running streams. Because of the high pitched noises surrounding us, our mind tries to shut out sounds from reaching us in an effort to protect us from constant distraction. During this process, even the beneficial sounds are filtered out. 

        It is believed that the pure sonic vibration from crystal singing bowls can help wake up your ability to hear. Vibration from these quartz crystal bowls moves through your body creating a relaxed meditative feeling. Alternative health practitioners believe that they help to bring health and harmony to your life by balancing your chakras.

        Tips For Choosing Your Crystal Singing Bowl

        Crystal singing bowls come in a variety of size, shape, tones and colors, and some even have embedded gems on them. The easiest way is to choose your bowl is to go for the one that feels right to you. This means letting the bowl sing and trying to interact with it emotionally and physically. You can also listen to sound clips to get a sense of how it feels. Allow your intuition to guide you. Once you choose the tone that connects with you, then consider the different sizes and weight of that crystal bowl. 

        Being aware of your affirmations and thoughts is important while playing your crystal singing bowl. Your thought process can affect the sound. You can better experience the powerful healing effect of these bowls when used deliberately and with intention. 

        Some important factors to consider:

        1. Do some research. Depending on your needs, decide whether you need a large bowl or a smaller one. Determine the optimal pitch for your particular preferences.
        2. Practice playing your bowl and see how you can enhance your experience. 
        3. Handle them with care. Crystal bowls are delicate and can shatter if played strongly. 

        Crystal Singing Bowls vs. Tibetan Singing Bowls

        An important factor to be considered while choosing a singing bowl is where and how it is intended to be used. Tibetan singing bowls are a popular alternative to crystal singing bowls and can often be more suitable depending on your needs. These singing bowls are created using an ancient Tibetan formula known as “panchaloga”, which is a Sanskrit word meaning a five-metal alloy that includes copper, zinc, iron and traces of gold and silver. 

        There are various reasons why your needs may be better served by a Tibetan singing bowl than a crystal singing bowl.

        First, metal singing bowls are very durable and can tolerate a lot of handling and movement. On the other hand, crystal singing bowls are very fragile and can easily becomes cracked or damaged during transportation or use, rendering them useless. If you wish to use your singing bowl for meditation or yoga sessions, or during travelling, then you may benefit more by enjoying the versatility and ease of transport of a Tibetan singing bowl.

        Second, metal singing bowls can produce multiple harmonic tones, which is incredibly calming and helps enhance mood and create a sense of happiness. This is not something that can be achieved in the same way with crystal singing bowls, which only produce a single tone. Accordingly, Tibetan singing bowls offer a greater breadth of experience than do crystal singing bowls. Put another way, you can use a Tibetan singing bowl to create a range of sounds which you could not otherwise achieve unless you were playing several different crystal singing bowls at the same time.

        Third, crystal singing bowls are generally very expensive. Good quality bowls can cost a minimum of several hundred dollars and upward of thousands of dollars. On the other hand, while there are many singing bowls for sale, very high-quality handmade Tibetan singing bowls can be obtained for a reasonable price of less than $75 from certain sellers who are focused on making Tibetan singing bowls more affordable and accessible.

        Conclusion

        Crystal singing bowls are a way of honoring ancient wisdom with modern technology. They create beautiful sounds that can help shift your consciousness and support positive transformation. 

        Read more...

        The Complete Guide To Cleansing Crystals and Stones

        The Complete Guide To Cleansing Crystals and Stones

        Crystals and stones have been popular since ancient times. When we open up the history books, we learn that crystals were used by the ancient Egyptians, Romans, Chinese, Japanese and Indians to encourage healing and enlightenment. Even today, various alternative health practitioners, such as Krista Mitchell, a spiritual teacher and author of the book Change Your Energy: Healing Crystals for Health, Wealth, Love & Luck, claim that crystals have metaphysical properties which can benefit health when used regularly. 

        In particular, various alternative health practitioners believe that crystals and other stones have an impact on energy levels by emitting natural vibrations which help with physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. Our ancient ancestors believed that crystals bring energetic changes by interacting with the human electromagnetic field. In particular, it was believed that they form a bridge between your conscious thoughts and your body. It was further believed that these healing crystals had a  powerful vibratory effect which facilitates the free flow of energy throughout the body. 

        In this blog post, we discuss the belief of some alternative health practitioners as to the need to cleanse your crystals. We will also discuss the various different methods of cleansing crystals, including the method of cleansing crystals with a singing bowl. We will then set out a step-by-step guide for cleansing crystals with a singing bowl and conclude by explaining how cleansing and programming your crystals is believed by some alternative health practitioners to have the potential to support your overall wellness. 

        Why Crystals Need to be Cleansed 

        A crystal travels from source to seller before landing in your hand. During this journey, a lot of energy can become collected in the crystal. In fact, research conducted by Jyngyu Zhang from the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom UK has demonstrated that crystals have the ability to store a massive amount of data indefinitely. According to some alternative health practitioners, if you want to start fresh with your new crystal then the first step should be cleansing. This will help restore your crystal to its natural state. 

        Crystals have a strong and unchanging physical structure called a crystal structure. In particular, crystals are built in a specific geometric pattern without any randomness. Because this geometric pattern is repeated in a crystal structure, crystals can produce a steady vibration which is commonly referred to as the dormant oscillatory rate. It is believed that when a crystal with these characteristics interacts with you, it brings a balance to your energy field which supports your well-being. But, when unwanted excess energy becomes stored in a crystal, the vibration (or the oscillatory rate) of that crystal becomes disturbed. 

        Some alternative health practitioners believe that crystals have the amazing ability to return to their dormant oscillatory rate on their own. However, it is believed that it takes a significant amount of time for a crystal to go back to its original state. By following the methods described below to properly clean your crystals, you can quickly restore your crystals to their dominant state.

        Some alternative health practitioners also believe that if you are using your stones for any healing then they should be cleansed before and after every healing session. It is believed that healing crystals work on the theory of ‘vibrational healing’, during which they absorb and release energy. For this reason, it becomes important to remove any built-up negative energy. Put simply, it is believed that crystals work better when they are cleansed regularly. 

        There are many ways to cleanse your crystals. Most of the methods are therapeutic, not only for your crystals, but also potentially for yourself as well. 

        Methods to Cleanse Your Crystals

        Some alternative health practitioners believe that crystals can be cleansed in a variety of different ways depending on their nature, type and color. 

        For softer stones, you can use sunlight or moonlight. In general, a minimum of four hours of sun exposure is needed to cleanse most crystals, but certain stones can become faded through this method. While moonlight cleansing may therefore be preferred, that generally requires a significant period of time. Similarly, while crystals are sometimes cleansed by washing using water or salt water, this is not suitable for some crystals or stones which may dissolve or disintegrate in water or salt water. 

        One of the best methods for avoiding these and other common problems is cleansing using a sound bath. Each of the methods for cleansing crystals is discussed in more detail below. In general, you should aim to cleanse your crystal at least once per month, and more often if you feel that they have been affected by negative energy.

        1. Running Water

        It is believed that water can be a great neutralizer for all the negative energy which can become inadvertently stored in crystals. Place your crystals directly under tap water or natural rain, or in a stream, for approximately 4 to 5 minutes. This method is believed to be most helpful in cleansing strong stones like quartz, amethyst and turquoise.

        2. Sunlight and Moonlight

        One  of the oldest methods of cleansing crystals is to use sun or moon energies. When your crystal becomes a bit dull in appearance or effectiveness, the best way to cleanse it is to return it to natural light. Place the crystal directly under sunlight or moonlight for at least four hours. Sunlight bathing works best with warm-colored crystals like yellow, red and orange crystals. Make sure not to expose them to the sun for a longer period of time, as they may become faded. 

        • For best results, cleanse your crystals during a full moon light or during a cloudless day.
        • Some crystals respond better to moonlight, but it may be difficult to be certain of this without testing each method and evaluating the results.
        • Continue the moonlight or sunlight cleansing for three days. 
        • Recharge your crystals using this process once a month. 

        Moonlight cleansing is a delicate method but can be especially effective during a full moon. When the moon is bright with full potential, it can help increase your crystal’s vibrational energy. 

        3. Cleansing with Quartz or Selenite

        Some alternative health practitioners believe that quartz or selenite has a special ability to purify and cleanse other crystals. This method requires the following approach:

        • Place your crystals on clear quartz or a selenite charging plate.
        • You can also place your crystal in a bag with quartz. 
        • Leave them there for six hours, or overnight.

        It is believed that, after following this method, your crystals will become cleansed of any unwanted energies. 

        4. Cleansing with Smudging

        Smudging is an ancient cleansing method used in many cultures to cleanse items, rooms and other things of negative energy. Alternative health practitioners believe that surrounding crystals with smoke and letting the crystals pass through the smoke helps cleanse them. 

        This method, which is believed to work for all kinds of crystals, requires the following approach: 

        • Use a sage stick, sandalwood, cedar, palo santo or frankincense to create smoke. 
        • Allow the sacred smoke to surround your crystals. 
        • Smoke carries low or negative energies away from the crystal, which helps raise the vibrational energy of the crystal.

        5. Cleansing with Soil

        This cleansing method is based on the theory that crystals can be cleansed by returning them to nature. This method is believed to be particularly helpful when a heavy cleansing is required to remove toxic or otherwise negative energies. This method requires the following approach: 

        • Look for a clean place to bury your crystal.
        • Bury your crystal in the soil just a few inches deep. 
        • Leave your crystal buried for a minimum of 24 hours and for up to three days for best results. 

        Some alternative health practitioners believe that the elements present in the soil will help soak up all the unwanted energy present in the crystal, leaving the crystal restored. 

        6. Cleansing with Saltwater

        Some alternative health practitioners believe that saltwater can be a useful vehicle for absorbing unwanted energy. According to this method of cleansing, stones are soaked in saltwater overnight. It is believed to be ideal to use natural seawater for this purpose. 

        Afterwards, rinse your crystals with clean water. Please be warned that saltwater can damage or change the appearance of certain delicate stones, with the result that this method is not suitable for all crystals and stones. 

        7. Breath

        Cleansing your crystals by breath is most suitable for crystals that are small in size. According to this method, you need to focus on your intentions and with quick exhalations blow away the negative, unwanted energy. This method requires the following approach:

        • Hold the crystal in your dominant hand.
        • Take a deep breath by focusing on your intentions.
        • Exhale on your crystal firmly with short quick bursts.
        • Continue this process for approximately 30 seconds.
        • Allow the stone to dissipate its negative energy. 

        8. Visualization or Meditation

        Some alternative health practitioners believe that you can use your own thought processes to cleanse your crystal. While this method is often referred to as the ‘visualization’ approach, it is also known as the ‘meditation approach’ given its similarities to meditation. This method requires the following approach:

        • With a clear mind, hold your crystal in your hands.
        • Visualize a bright, radiant light surrounding your crystal and passing through it.
        • Direct your thoughts to impurities flushing out of the stone. 
        • End this process when you feel your crystal has restored its balance.

        9. Rice 

        Some alternative health practitioners believe that cleansing with rice is suitable for all types of crystals. In particular, it is believe to be beneficial for soft and protective crystals. For this method:

        • Bury your crystal in a bowl of brown rice. 
        • Leave it there for approximately 24 hours. 
        • Dispose of the rice after cleansing.

        10. Cleansing with Sound

        If you are looking for a simple way to cleanse your crystals, then doing so with sound can be a great choice. Cleansing crystals with sound is one of the most effective cleansing methods available. Some alternative health practitioners believe that gentle vibration created by a tuning fork or a singing bowl can help clear negative energy quickly and effectively. 

        In particular, it is believed that the vibrations created with sound helps break up any stuck negative energy in the crystals, and that the musical frequency of the process restores the harmony of the crystal.

        In essence, sound sends vibrations into the environment which penetrate the structure of the crystals. This method is particularly useful if you have a large collection of crystals and wish to cleanse them at the same time with minimal labour. 

        You can create cleansing sound in a number of ways. The most popular and effective way is to use a Tibetan singing bowl. While it is open to you to play a recording of a singing bowl, most alternative health practitioners believe that the cleansing will be most effective if used in the presence of a singing bowl. 

        Cleansing Crystals with a Singing Bowl

        Singing bowls have been used since ancient times for therapy, healing and meditation. They are designed to create a long-lasting and powerful vibration. Healing with sound, also known as sound healing or sound therapy, is one of the oldest and natural methods of supporting health and well-being. 

        Singing bowls are similar to bells and create a soothing sound which can help quiet your mind. The pure and gentle vibrations created by singing bowls can also help remove the stubborn energy that may become settled in your crystal. 

        Singing bowls are not only used for cleansing crystals but are also used for healing, meditation and for creating a sacred place. They use sound to balance the aura and the chakras. They are believed to turn unbalanced negative energy into positive balanced energy. 

        This singing bowl originated from Tibet and developed in connection with Buddhism. Traditionally, Tibetan bowls are handmade in Nepal and India using brass, bronze and seven different metals. In order to produce the best sound, it is essential to use a singing bowl made with an optimal metal ratio that is high in copper and which is formed in the right shape. Tibetan sound bowls are available in different sizes.

        Tibetan singing bowls are also known as sound bowls, Himalayan singing bowls and meditation bowls. Practitioners believe that the healing sounds produced by Tibetan bowls not only restore crystal energy but can also raise your level of consciousness and support healing.

        Tibetan healing bowls create sounds that are believed to reach the chakras and energy points of your body. Chakras are the energy centers of your body. Notes of the singing bowl correspond to different chakras of the body and help to maintain harmony and wellness. It is for this reason that singing bowls can also be called chakra bowls or chakra singing bowls.

        Tibetan singing bowls also help to release theta brain waves which are generally observed during deep sleep. The soothing sound creates a deep meditative state in your mind. It helps your mind temporarily distance itself from the busy world around you. Playing one of these sound bowls during meditation can also help to harmoniously return you to the world and keep you grounded.

        It is believed that when you meditate with a singing bowl your focus is tripled. In addition, when engaging in Tibetan bowl meditation the power of meditation increases with time. It helps keep your mind away from distractions by immersing you in sound. In fact, a study conducted has revealed that meditation with Tibetan singing bowls has significant beneficial effects on well being, mood and physical pain

        When looking for a singing bowl, make sure you keep the following considerations in mind:

        • A small singing bowl is enough to cleanse small crystals and stones.
        • Small singing bowls produce a high pitched sound whereas larger ones produce a deep, resonating tone. 
        • The singing bowl should be accompanied by a wooden mallet. 
        • There are many varieties of singing bowls available, like brass singing bowls, crystal singing bowls and Tibetan singing bowls. 

        Guide To Cleansing Crystals With A Singing Bowl

        Follow this step-by-step guide to quickly and effectively clean your crystals using a singing bowl. Due to the healing power of singing bowls, this process is also supportive of physical and mental well-being.

        1. Start by spreading a clean piece of cloth on a flat surface or on a table. The area should be clean and clutter-free. 
        2. Your crystals should be placed on the cloth surrounding the singing bowl.
        3. Start playing your singing bowl. You can do this by striking the singing bowl gently with the mallet to let it emit a ringing sound. 
        4. Move your mallet outside the rim of the singing bowl in a clockwise direction to cause it to “sing”. This process will help perpetuate the ringing sound. 
        5. Continue to rub the mallet around the bowl for 5-10 minutes until you sense that the cleansing process is complete. 

        Do not place the crystals inside the bowl, as the high vibration could damage them. If you are using the singing bowl for the first time, then you may need to practice to get comfortable. While buying make sure to choose a quality singing bowl. Good quality singing bowls emit a melodic ringing sound which continues for some time and gradually reduces. Poor quality singing bowls produce a dull metallic sound and will be less effective at cleaning your crystals.

        An alternative method is to hold the singing bowl in your hand rather than placing it on a table. To apply this method, place your crystals on a flat surface and stand next to them. Put the singing bowl on your non-dormant hand. With the other hand, strike the bowl with a mallet to produce a ringing sound. Firmly rub the outside rim of the singing bowl with the mallet in a clockwise direction. This will continue the ringing sound, which you can stop anytime.

        Program Your Crystals

        After cleansing your crystals, you will need to program them. Generally, crystals are neutral and they need direction to properly work for you. If not programmed well, they may amplify the unwanted energies in your life. With effective and clear programming, your crystals can help support your mental and physical health and well-being. 

        • To begin with, first cleanse your crystal using one or more of the methods described above.
        • Once your crystal is cleansed, place the crystal in your hand and take deep breaths.
        • Express your faith and connect with your highest vibration.
        • Ask your crystal to let go of all the unwanted negative energy.
        • Command the crystal to hold on to your positive intentions and energies.
        • End the programming process by saying thank-you. 

        Conclusion

        Whether you are buying a new stone or just looking to maintain an existing one, regular cleansing is important. Using a singing bowl can be a great way to support your meditation practice while also keeping your crystals well cleansed and as vibrant on the inside as they are on the surface.

        Read more...

        The Complete Guide to Singing Bowl Mallets and Strikers

        The Complete Guide to Singing Bowl Mallets and Strikers

        After choosing your singing bowl, it may seem like a daunting, overwhelming task to choose the right singing bowl mallet, striker, puja stick, or gonger tool. However, it doesn’t have to be! Understanding the different types and uses of singing bowls and mallets will help you choose an appropriate singing bowl mallet. Here’s everything you need to know about singing bowl mallets.

        In this article:

        • What are singing bowls?
        • What are the different uses of singing bowls?
        • What are singing bowl mallets?
          • Types of singing bowl mallets
          • Which mallets work best for certain bowls 
          • Different methods for using your singing bowl mallet

        Introduction

        A quick Google search of “singing bowl mallets” will render over 1 million search results. However, most of these links are to mallets for sale, with little explanation of their use or how to get the best results. Few of these resources outline the ways that different sounds can be produced by different tools and techniques.

        Singing bowls can have two, three, or even four main tones, in addition to more subtle ones. Bringing out these different tones is completely dependent on the type of mallet being used.

        Learning how to make your singing bowl sing does not have to be difficult when you have the right information. Consider this article a comprehensive guide on choosing the right singing bowl mallet for your purposes, your bowl, and yourself.

        What Are Singing Bowls?

        Singing bowls, also referred to as Tibetan singing bowls or Himalyan singing bowls, are ancient bowls that produce sounds and vibrations when struck by a mallet. These vibrations are frequencies that we can hear and feel in our bodies and energy fields. Many original singing bowls can be traced back to Tibetan Buddhist areas such as Tibet and Nepal. Even modern singing bowls are often manufactured in the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu.

        singing bowls
        Source:
        Ohm Therapeutics

        Singing bowls are generally made from an alloy of various metals which include copper, silver, iron, tin, lead and even gold. More recently, pure crystal singing bowls have become more popular. In addition to being made of a variety of materials, there are almost 50 different types of antique Himalayan singing bowls, though their functions are all similar. Naga, Manu/Mudra, Manipuri, Remuna, Jambati, Utabati, Thadobati, and Lingan are the most basic, widely recognized types of singing bowls.

        Unfortunately, much of the history of singing bowls remains unknown due to the Chinese invasion of Tibet in the 1950s. The oral traditions that remain regarding singing bowls place their existence back to the time of the historical Buddha Shakyamuni (560 - 480 BCE). The singing bowls were brought from India to Tibet, along with the teachings of the Buddha. During this time and for hundreds of years after, singing bowls were used in a number of ways. Some scholars say that they were used as begging bowls, bowls to eat from, as well as storage for grain. However, their main uses were as a sacrificial bowl or musical instrument within Buddhist monasteries and temples.

        What Are The Different Uses of Singing Bowls?

        Singing bowls are primarily used during meditation practice by Buddhist practitioners in their homes, monasteries, and temples. Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leaders (rinpoches) and monks also use singing bowls to perform other activities such as chanting, marking the passage of time, or signaling a change in activity. Furthermore, Japanese and Vietnammese Buddhists have been known to use singing bowls in traditional funeral rites and to worship their ancestors.

        When used as a tool for meditation or grounding, singing bowls provide the user with a harmonic aura that helps them concentrate with peace and intuition. Buddhists use singing bowls in order to bring themselves closer to the ultimate peace and calm by way of the sounds produced by the bowls. Those that meditate with a singing bowl can experience deep feelings of connection and release, which ultimately brings about a strong sense of wellness.

        shanti bowl singing bowl
        Source:
        DharmaShop

        The connection between singing bowls and essential wellness has also lead the singing bowl’s migration to places outside of Buddhist spaces since the 1980s. For example, many sound healers and sound healing therapists have found that singing bowls have many medicinal values in their healing practices. Physical healing benefits include:

        • Improved immunity
        • Improved blood pressure 
        • Improved circulation 
        • Increased mental and emotional awareness
        • Reduced stress and anxiety 
        • Alleviation of pain and depression
        • Promotion of an overall state of happiness and wellness

        When used in pain management, Shatki Gray says the bowl’s vibrations often address the ancillary effects of pain such as stress, muscle tension, anger, frustration, and hopelessness, rather than the pain itself. For this reason, although there is little scientific support for the healing effects of singing bowls, medical professionals still like to incorporate singing bowls into their treatments. Illnesses and diseases often create the need for stress management techniques, like meditation, deep breathing, and guided imagery, which is where a singing bowl might be used.

        In addition to traditional healing and therapeutic spaces, singing bowls have also gained popularity within the meditation and yoga communities, classrooms, as well as in chakra healing. Various practitioners have written about the chakra healing capabilities that singing bowls possess. Singing bowls have the ability to realign the chakra of the user. According to Jevon Dängeli, an Authentic Self Empowerment (ASE) Facilitator and Trainer, singing bowls naturally cause chakras to self-correct. The vibrations produced create sound waves with frequencies that bring unbalanced chakras back to normal functioning.

        What Are Singing Bowl Mallets?

        In order to create the sounds and vibrations singing bowls are famously known for, a mallet or striker must be used. The friction of the mallet against the bowl is what produces the sound-making vibrations. The mallets and strikers are among the most important part in producing the relaxing sounds for meditation, healing, and spiritual practices. While singing bowls can be considered “tools of discovery”, they are rather ineffective without tools such as mallets, strikers, gongers, and puja sticks. In fact, singing bowls can sound completely different depending on the material they are struck with.

        It is very important to find the right striker to play with since singing bowls might play extremely well with one mallet and then not sing at all with another. Often times when purchasing a singing bowl an appropriate mallet will be included. However, if your singing bowl does not come with a mallet or you feel unsatisfied with your current mallet, it is important to understand the different types and uses of the different singing bowl mallets in order to make your selection.

        Throughout the years, the tools used to play singing bowls have evolved and expanded. Historically, plain wooden dowels were used. However, as we will discuss later on, wooden sticks can create harsh, high-pitched sounds that drown out the fundamental tone. The varied success of wooden sticks led to the use of padded mallets, which create lower pitched tones and a better sound when struck on the metal. Today, a wide array of singing bowls can be found at an equally wide array of price points. Strikers range from as low as $10 USD to over $100 USD, however, the average price rests at about $35 USD.

        Types

        Singing bowl mallets come in different sizes and are made from different materials. Different sizes, handles, and materials can all lead to different sounds being produced by the singing bowl. Luckily, many of the following mallets are dual-ended, allowing both ends to be used to produce two different results. We will discuss the main types of mallets and then which mallets work best with which singing bowls.

        Wool Padded Mallet


        Source: Bodhisattva Trading Co., Inc.

        Wool padded mallets are designed to bring all of the bowls’ frequencies up at an equal volume so that certain tones are not louder than others, drowning out more subtle, still pleasant tones.


        Suede Mallet


        Source:
        DharmaShop

        Suede mallets began to be used in the late 1990s and are mostly used for the rimming method of playing a singing bowl. Generally they are made of a harder wood and wrapped with suede, which produces less-harsh, more ethereal sounds.

        Fat Boy


        Source: Bodhisattva Trading Co., Inc. 

        Fat Boy is a mallet whose width measures between 40 and 60mm, should be used with larger singing bowls as there is a greater surface area of suede. 

        Xcelite Mallet  


        Source: Bodhisattva Trading Co., Inc.

        The Xcelite mallet might look like an average, household item and that’s largely because it is--it’s a modified screwdriver handle. The Xcelite mallet is a good option if you are planning on recording or playing your singing bowl live into a microphone.

        Gong Mallet


        Source:
        Heaven of Sound

        Gong mallets are used for tall, larger sized singing bowls. These mallets can be felt, wool, or rubber padded. Gong mallets emphasize deeper tones but can help create softer gong-like sounds. 

        Mallets from Ludwig Drums 


        Source: Steve Weiss Music

        Mallets produced by Ludwig Drums are characterized by small heads and long handles. These characteristics allow the user good control while playing. The oval shaped heads allow users to play the bowl at different angles. There are several types of mallets from Ludwig Drums that can be used with your singing bowl. 

        • Musser small cord mallets has one inch heads that can be soft, medium, or hard. They have long handles and work well with small singing bowls. 
        • Musser small fluffy yarn mallets have a larger head and are best for medium sized and larger sized singing bowls. Similar to the small cord mallet, the head ranges from soft to hard. Softer heads produce lower tones, while harder mallets produce higher tones. 
        • Musser large mallets are best for large singing bowls and are comparable to Nepali felt mallets.

        Nepali Felt Mallets


        Source:
        Best Singing Bowls

        Nepali Felt mallets vary in shape, size, and handle length. They are most commonly used with medium or larger bowls like the Jambati singing bowls and Thadobati singing bowls. They also go well with taller, deeper bowls. Nepali Felt mallets are known for producing good rhythms and loud sounds, but are not suitable for rimming. They are also known for being made out of a harder wood, which can be bad for beginners as harder sticks more easily bounce off the singing bowl causing a squeal sound.

        Puja Sticks


        Source:
        Garuda Trading

        Puja sticks are the least popular tool to use when playing singing bowls. Made of wood, they are covered almost completely in suede, which helps them achieve a purer sound when rimming. When used as a striker, a deeper, more resonant tone will often be achieved.

        Crystal Singing Bowl Mallets


        Source:
        Sound Travels

        As crystal singing bowls have become more popular, the creation of new tools to play them increased. Crystal singing bowls are often played with dual-ended mallets. One end, most often, is made of pure crystal, like the singing bowl itself. The other end could be suede but is more likely to be silicone or rubber. Silicone and rubber mallets reduce the sound of friction when playing crystal singing bowls. Silicone mallets have a smoother sound and do not wear down and shred as quickly as other materials. Crystal singing bowls can also be played with solid, clear quartz, which will make for a heavy striker.

        Which Mallets Work Best for Certain Bowls

        While the easiest way to select a striker is to go to a store that sells singing bowls in person, we realize that you may not have access to a store that meets your needs. If you are unable to test different strikers with your singing bowl in person, there are several tips to keep in mind while shopping online in order to find a mallet which works best for your bowl.

        A general rule to keep in mind is that the size of the mallet should be proportionate to the size of the bowl. This pairing creates the most optimal circumstances for creating relaxing and soothing sounds. Another rule to keep in mind is that the larger the bowl, the softer the mallet. Lastly, though it might seem self-explanatory, be sure to find a mallet that fits comfortably in your hand. You want to avoid mallets which feel awkward or uncomfortable, as they can be hard to handle if you plan on playing your singing bowl for an extended period of time.

        Larger bowls, which produce deep octaves, are suitable for meditative purposes. Medium sized bowls are suitable for grounding purposes and smaller bowls, with their higher tones, are suitable for physical healing. Each of those bowls require the use of certain mallets. 

        Small Sized Singing Bowls 

        Small, light bowls need lighter mallets. If the mallet is too large, it can push the singing bowl around. A stiffer wooden handle, like birch, is also best for small singing bowls. Manipuri singing bowls are often the smallest of the basic kinds of singing bowls. Manipuri singing bowls, for example, when lightly tapped with a very hard mallet give out the most sound. Furthermore, when small sized bowls are struck by hard, suede mallets, the sound will often come off as deeper and louder than a wool padded mallet. Musser small cord mallets work well with small sized singing bowls.

        Medium Sized Singing Bowls 

        Mallets measuring about 30 mm thick will produce a balanced tone when it strikes a medium sized singing bowl. Nepali mallets work best for medium bowls, such as Jambati or Thadobati singing bowls. However, suede mallets and musser small fluffy yarn mallets can also be used.

        Large Sized Singing Bowls 

        Large sized singing bowls work best with mallets with flexible, wooden handles, like rattan. Larger, thicker mallets, such as the Fat Boy mentioned earlier, should be used with large sized singing bowls. Using a larger mallet with a large singing bowl should bring out higher octave fundamental tones. Musser small fluffy yarn mallets can be used with large sized singing bowls, though Musser large mallets are best. Large bowls also require mallets with heavy heads that are not too hard nor too soft. It is recommended that the head be padded or made from felt. Big mallets will bring out powerful sounds from larged sized singing bowls.

        Different Methods For Using Your Singing Bowl Mallet

        Different tones can be produced by different mallets as well as by different techniques of playing a singing bowl. The striking method is most often used by beginners and to signal the passage of time or changing of activities in yoga, classrooms, monasteries and temples. To use this method, simply hit the bowl in the correct place to hear a loud, lasting tone.

        The rimming method is slightly more complicated but can be picked up with ease and practice. Rimming involves circling the bowl with your mallet or other tool. Think of it like stirring a pot of soup. Lastly, the “wah-wah”, the most advanced of these methods, allows users to create sound and feel vibrations within their mouth.

        Striking 

        A wool padded mallet can be used for striking. In order to use the wool padded mallet for striking, the user must strike the singing bowl on its mid-exterior wall or its interior upper wall. Striking a singing bowl with a wool padded mallet will create a rich fundamental tone.

        A suede mallet can be used for striking, however, the strike will not be as soft as a strike with a wool padded mallet.

        A gong mallet can be used for striking when working with a large, tall singing bowl. It is suggested that gong mallets be used with bowls that rest on a cushion or on the body.

        Rimming 

        A wool padded mallet can be used for rimming. In order to use the wool padded mallet for rimming, the user must place the mallet in their dominant hand, grasping the center of the mallet. The wooden part of the mallet should face the bowl while the wool-covered part should face upwards. Rub the mallet against the outside edge of the lip of the bowl. After making four to five revolutions, the female overtone should build. Once the female overtone is present and clear, reduce your speed in order to create a more even voice. 

        As previously stated, suede mallets are most commonly used as rimming tools. When used for rimming, suede mallets create a female overtone faster as well as create less friction noise than wooden tools. Additionally, suede mallets can be used to isolate the fundamental. In order to do so, the bowl’s outer wall must be rubbed with the suede end of the mallet with lighter pressure and a faster speed. This method requires a deeper level of awareness, breath, and concentration which might be more difficult for beginners.

        Xcelite mallets can be used to rim singing bowls, though they do require extra practice.

        Wah-Wah

        The wah-wah method is the most advanced of the methods listed here and is relatively rare to create. A singing bowl with hand wah-wah capabilities is needed to perform this method. Often, a “sweet spot” needs to be found through trial and error. With this method, the technique is far more important than the mallet type. Any covered mallet, whether it's felt, wool or suede will work with this method. After striking the bowl with the covered end of the mallet, raise the singing bowl to your mouth, purse your lips and vocalize the sound ‘wah.’ You will be able to feel the vibration in your mouth.

        Conclusion

        With many types of singing bowls and almost as many types of mallets, selecting the right mallet can be difficult. Hopefully, this guide has given you the information and tips needed to make an appropriate selection. If you find that a mallet isn’t working, use it as an opportunity to experience several different mallets. It can be enjoyable to play with your singing bowl and discover the mallet that makes the best sound with your singing bowl. Be patient with the process and yourself as it does take time to play the bowl with ease.

        Check out our other blog post for a few tips on how to break in a new mallet. First, play the bowl for about five minutes. As you use your mallet, the material will begin to develop ‘micro-grooves.’ These grooves help grip the rim of the bowl better. Over time, the grooves will help improve the sound of the singing bowl.

        Good luck and happy playing!

        Read more...

        History of Singing Bowls

        History of Singing Bowls

        Singing Bowls: An Introduction

        For many centuries, music and sound have been used as tools to promote healing and meditation. One of the first instruments created by mankind to be used for this purpose are called singing bowls. These mystical metal bowls, when struck, can create contemplative and heavenly sounds, which resonate as if the universe is manifesting itself upon one’s soul.

        What is a Singing Bowl?

        A singing bowl is a type of idiophone, which is a musical instrument that when struck, shaken or scraped, produces sound through vibration. Singing bowls come in a single, inverted bell form, but come in different sizes, ranging from a few centimetres to a meter in diameter. The smaller ones produce more delicate sounds, while the larger bowls produce deeper, full-bodied sounds. To produce a sound, singing bowls are often struck on their rim or side using a mallet. Each method produces very distinctive sounds.

        These bowls are often used in religious and spiritual settings, invoking meditation and relaxation. They can also be used in healing and for treating various illnesses through sound therapy. The sounds singing bowls produce create a kind of energy medicine that is said to fix the broken frequencies of the body, mind and soul. Playing these bowls creates a centering effect, which causes the left and right sides of the human brain to synchronize with one another. Thus, various activities such as yoga and other forms of meditative practices sometimes employ singing bowls, as they have the miraculous ability to bring the listener to peace and calmness.

        Where did singing bowls originate?

        Singing bowls, also known as Tibetan singing bowls, have a mysterious past and not much is known about their origins. Their history began at a time long before the dawn of modern civilization, with the result that written information about them is almost close to non-existent. The first singing bowls were said to be made in Mesopotamia over 5,000 years ago. As such, singing bowls are believed to be one of the most ancient artisan crafts in human history. Although folklore about the artisans behind singing bowls existed in the later centuries, knowledge of that folklore unfortunately died along with the singing bowls’ succeeding owners.

        The very first singing bowls were said to be made of pure copper and produced for both medicinal and musical purposes. They were produced primarily inside the homes of the artisans. Knowledge about the metalwork was passed on from generation to generation, although eventually this knowledge chain was broken. Some time later, singing bowls began to be made of brass, which is a combination of various earth metals, including copper. Some anecdotal references say that 2,000-year old brass singing bowls appeared in a Chinese region called Tibet at the dawn of the last century.

        The singing bowls’ Tibetan origins added to their historical ambiguity. Although singing bowls could be found inside monasteries and homes, it was said that monks were not allowed to discuss anything about these bowls. As a matter of fact, the monks’ sacred text, called the Tibetan Buddhist Canon, also contained no information about the bowls. Anecdotal references say that Tibetan lamas and monks used these bowls for secret, sacred rituals. It is even said that these rituals were so spiritual in nature that it gave the monks the ability to astral project and travel into other realms and dimensions.

        During the Chinese invasion of Tibet in the middle of the 19th century, the lamas and monks were forced to flee, taking all of their valued possessions with them, including their singing bowls. In order to survive the crisis, the lamas and monks were forced to sell their singing bowls and other items of significant value. This circumstance led to singing bowls spreading around the world, as well as causing the esoteric knowledge about them to disappear. Today, singing bowls’ mystical sounds can now be heard in many different places such as healing centers, yoga studios, classrooms, temples, and much more. But one thing remains – singing bowls are still as powerful of a spiritual, medicinal and musical tool as they were thousands of years ago.

        What materials are used in singing bowls?

        One of the unique qualities of antique singing bowls is the peculiarity of their composition. Local Tibetan legends say that one of the primary metals used in making singing bowls in the past was meteorite iron. Meteorites found in Tibet were said to have come through an atmosphere with very low oxygen levels. These meteorites were usually found in the uppermost parts of the Himalayas. Having come from a location closer to the heavens, these meteorites were considered to be of sacred origins, and thus were highly regarded by the Tibetans. Moreover, the low oxygen composition of these meteorites may explain the miraculous healing powers of singing bowls.

        Historically, singing bowls made in the succeeding centuries were believed to have been crafted by combining several types of metals, anywhere between five to nine, and sometimes even twelve types of metals. The most common composition was of seven metals. These metals were consecrated with each metal believed to represent a heavenly body or a planet: Gold (Sun), Silver (Moon), Mercury (Mercury), Copper (Venus), Iron (Mars), Tin (Jupiter) and Lead (Saturn). These metals were smelted and purified prior to being cast, reheated and hammered into form. Old singing bowls were believed to have been imbued with wishes, usually through singing chants or mantras.

        Although there were also small traces of other metals, old singing bowls were crafted predominantly with copper and tin, which, when combined, form a type of bronze called “bell metal”. Combining these two metals produces a harder yet elastic enough metal that, when struck, creates better reverberation. This type of metal has been used for ages in creating bells. In India, this type of metal was historically used to create cookware and eating utensils as it is believed to possess potent antibacterial properties.

        The manufacturing of more modern singing bowls typically involves only five metals at most, and oftentimes only two. Due to cost, gold and silver  are typically no longer used, but the new singing bowls are still of excellent quality.

        How are singing bowls made?

        There are two known methods of creating singing bowls. Hammering was, and still is, a common method used today, wherein a flat sheet of metal is hammered by at least three individuals over a bowl pattern or form until it takes on the same shape. The edges are then bent over and hammered further until smooth, while the inside is often machine-polished. Traditionalists prefer singing bowls that have been hammered and can easily distinguish them by checking the hammer marks.

        The other method involves pouring a molten metal into a mold, which forms the first of two parts of the modern singing bowl. The other part is called the neck, which is formed and welded together with the bowl, before being polished. This method creates a more confined shape, which produces longer lasting vibrations and sound when struck. The tonal quality is also significantly improved. This type of bowl is usually embellished by acid etching or enameling.

        There are many singing bowls on the market today. They often differ by the sound they produce, which can be attributed to their design and shape, thickness, smoothness, and the combination of metals used.

        How have various cultures used singing bowls throughout the years?

        Regardless of their truest origin, singing bowls have been used for a variety of purposes throughout the course of history – meditation, alternative healing, religion, music and even as a currency. Today, they have become a popular tool for sound healers, music therapists and yoga practitioners in different parts of the world.

        Spirituality and Meditative Uses

        With its calming and meditative sound, singing bowls were often used in Himalayan monasteries and homes to indicate the start or end of a meditation period. It was also said that singing bowls were played during an entire session, to help the mind focus and obtain a state of pure relaxation. It is believed that whenever a singing bowl is played, the mantras and good wishes imbued within it while it is was made are released to flow freely into the universe. Hindus and Buddhists have also traditionally used singing bowls in their rituals to aid in their spiritual focus, harmony and inner peace.

        Medicinal and Alternative Healing Uses

        Hindus believe that the world began with a sound, and thus sound plays a very important role in our bodies and in the universe as a whole. Sound as an alternative healing method has been practiced in many cultures for many centuries. It is believed that the delicate and unique sound of singing bowls can deeply affect our bodies, and can beneficially affect the body’s physical and psychological state. Our bodies contain several energy centers, or chakras, running from head to toe. These energy centers are believed to correspond to specific tones which the singing bowls can naturally produce.

        Alternative healing practitioners typically use several smaller bowls with flatter bottoms, and place them on top of these energy centers. The resonance and vibration of singing bowls when placed on top of these energy centers are believed to penetrate more deeply than bigger and heavier bowls which are typically placed above or beside the body. In the traditional Tibetan healing practice, singing bowls are also believed to increase the efficacy of various medicinal herbs. Additionally, when used as an alternative healing method, singing bowls are said to alleviate the negative effects of chemotherapy and radiation in cancer patients, although there are no scientific studies to support this conclusion yet. However, reports say that singing bowls helped patients develop a sense of peace and well-being, and also reduced pain.

        Physical Relaxation Uses

        Sound massage using singing bowls is a great natural way to restore harmony to the body. Its soothing properties can naturally bring peace and focus the mind. The vibration and sound produced by singing bowls creates a type of energy that works with the body in many ways and which can engender several positive results, such as a deep sense of tranquility and reduced psychological and emotional stress.

        Singing bowls used in sound massages are typically engineered for long periods of use and focus more on the vibration than the sound produced. Vibrational sound massage allows the body to become at peace both at an inner and outer level. Singing bowls of different weights and sizes are usually placed directly on top of the body while being struck. They can also be placed surrounding the body.

        The body is composed of approximately 50 to 65 percent water. Water synergizes with vibrational patterns and connects and transports important elements within the body. Vibrational sound massages can help these positive elements flow freely within the body. In most cases, this kind of therapy is said to alleviate symptoms of depression, anxiety, chronic fatigue, and other similar conditions.

        Historical Uses

        At one time, handmade singing bowls were used as common kitchen, storage and eating items. Although this use may no longer be applicable in the present day, it is worth noting that singing bowls were also used as a kind of currency in the past when coins and other precious objects were the only kind of legal tender available. Traditionally, singing bowls were valued based on their thickness, weight, and purported metal composition. Typically, the heavier the singing bowl was, the higher value it would have. Moreover, singing bowls were often given as wedding gifts or as a dowry.

        Conclusion

        Singing bowls have been used for centuries to promote healing and meditation in various contexts. We invite you to try one for yourself to experience some of the amazing benefits!

        Read more...