Sound therapy is all the rage at the moment, but don’t let the fact it’s been tagged with a wellness trend label put you off, as the therapeutic power of sound goes back a long way.
Predominantly used for meditative purposes, sound frequencies are used similarly today in their various forms. Having experienced my first Tibetan singing bowl class recently I’m going to delve into the science behind this a bit further and try and work out how on earth a little bit of ringing and dinging can have such a profound effect on both the body and mind.
Tibetan singing bowl therapy dates back to the 12th century, where it was used, as the name would suggest, for rituals in Tibetan culture. The bowls themselves are generally made from a bronze alloy, which contains a mixture of copper, tin, zinc, iron, silver, gold and nickel, and is then struck or rubbed with either a wooden or leather wrapped mallet producing deep sound vibrations. These vibrations, or sonic waves, create an energy that is absorbed by the brain and helps to centre and rebalance it. And the ensuing synchronisation between the left and right hand sides of our brain helps inhibit our stress and pain responses, it impacts our nervous system, engages our relaxation reflexes and unblocks our chakras.
Ah ha…. the chakras… another thing that remains a bit of a mystery to most of us. And it sounds all a bit airy fairy doesn’t it, when people start talking chakra. However, blocked chakras have a lot to answer for and the best thing to get them unblocked is a good old blast of Tibetan bowl singing!
The word ‘chakra’ actually comes from Sanskrit and means ‘wheel’ or ‘disk’, but when used in reference to the body it is the spiritual energy centered within us. There are seven chakras in the human body, which run through the spine, neck and up to the crown of the head.
Each one carries a different energy and affects us in different ways:
- Root Chakra – Found at the base of the spine this chakra is what makes us feel grounded; it is our foundation.
- Sacral Chakra – This chakra is located in the lower abdomen area and represents our connection to others as well as our ability to open ourselves up to new experiences.
- Solar Plexus Chakra – Found in the upper abdomen area, the solar plexus chakra is where we find or confidence and the feelings of being in control; it promotes self worth and self esteem.
- Heart Chakra – As you would imagine, this chakra is situated in the centre of the chest and allows us to find love, joy and inner peace.
- Throat Chakra – Found in the throat this chakra focuses on our ability to communicate and to express our feelings.
- Third Eye Chakra – Centred in the forehead in the space between our eyes, the third eye chakra is about intuition and the ability to look beyond what is in front of us and to explore the bigger picture. It’s the creative chakra, it allows us to think and is a means to base our decisions upon.
- Crown Chakra – This is the big one, the highest chakra set at the very top of the head and it’s our way of feeling fully connected to the spiritual. It is where we connect with a higher state of consciousness, where we gain access to enlightened wisdom and gain true clarity. Ultimately it is a state in which we feel present.
So as I’m sure you can imagine, if any of these chakras become blocked, which they do very easily, then a whole heap of problems start to occur. And we might not necessarily be able to put a finger on why we’re feeling certain things, be it from an emotional sense or even a physical one, but if our chakras are out of whack then it’s likely the rest of will be too.
Chakras and Tibetan bowls then…. what’s the deal?
Well, as I mentioned, the sound frequencies that emit from the bowls help to unblock the chakras; to tune and rebalance them. And they do this through energy – both sound and colour. Oh yes there’s a bit of colour therapy going on too.
But wait for it…
Here Comes The Science Bit
OK so I haven’t got a degree in science I’m afraid (I was an English Lit. and Media gal), but what I do remember from way back in my GCSE science days is that each colour we see is made up of a different electromagnetic wavelength – basically energy. When all of the wavelengths are put together we see white light and when there are none present we have black. Sound and light are therefore connected through energy and with each sound frequency comes a different colour and therefore each chakra is associated with a specific colour, for example the crown chakra is purple, or violet.
I experienced this first hand when I took part in my first Tibetan singing bowl class when I started off by seeing purple washes of colour behind my closed eyes, only to be told at the end by the instructor that she had been drawn to my crown and that it explained a lot. Well…. I was feeling particularly stressed and overstretched at the time… certainly no spiritual enlightenment going on there I can tell you!
Look I’m sure there’s more to it than I’m managing to get across here, I’m by no means an expert, but hopefully it’s helped open your eyes to it and explain it just a little.
Want to experience Tibetan Singing Bowls for yourself?
I have the great honour of welcoming the lovely Charlie from Thyme with Charlie as one of the guest speakers and workshop leaders at a new wellness event I am co-hosting in Hampshire at the end of September. So if you are local and would like to experience the truly stunning power of these mystical bowls then book your ticket here.