Sound Healing with Tibetan Bowls

Sound healing is rapidly gaining recognition internationally as an integral part of the healing process for cancer patients. It has also been effective in relieving pain and in the treatment of stress related afflictions such as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, insomnia, pain and depression. Mainstream medical teaching facilities like Duke University and the University of North Carolina have added programs that link body/mind and spirit to the treatment of cancer. Cancer Prevention centers are utilizing sound as a vital part of the healing process for patients with astounding results.

I, like many healers believe that illness is a manifestation of dis-harmony within the body; an imbalance in the cells or a given organ and that healing can be achieved by restoring the normal vibratory frequencies of the diseased, out-of-harmony parts of the body. Vibrational healing, especially with sound is a potent way of restoring the body to its’ normal vibratory frequency.

All matter is energy vibrating at different rates and by altering the rate of vibration we can change the structure of matter. In this case the healing process is initiated by entraining our brainwaves and creating sympathetic resonance with the perfect vibrations of the bowls. When we add intention to the frequency, the healing potential is increased even more. That intention can be through prayer, chanting, and even silent focused attention, but declaring it in an audible manner is best.

Another way of saying that is the fundamental state of the universe is a state of absolute harmony. Our core state, because we are part of the natural universe is also one of harmony and great ease. When we disconnect from our core state through stress, distraction, illness and the challenges of daily life, it creates dis-ease: spiritual, physical and mental. Sound from the Tibetan bowls gently nudges us back to our natural state of blissful tranquility and alignment.

Dr. Mitchell Gaynor, director of Medical Oncology and Integrative Medicine at the Cornell Cancer Prevention Center in NY has been using sound, including Tibetan Bowls, Crystal bowls and Chanting in work with cancer patients for many years. “If we accept that sound is vibration and we know that vibration touches every part of our physical being, then we understand that sound is heard not only through our ears but through every cell in our bodies. One reason sound heals o n a physical level is because it so deeply touches and transforms us on the emotional and spiritual planes. Sound can redress imbalances on every level of physiologic functioning and can play a positive role in the treatment of virtually any medical disorder.”

According to an article in Spirituality and Health magazine Dr. Gaynors’ research shows that the sound vibration of the bowls affects the disrhythmic motion found in cancer cells and cause a harmonious transformation. In a blind study he found that there was a 50% shorter recovery time from chemo patients for those who used the bowls regularly and that when bowls were used in the early stages of cancer, during consultations with patients, their level of anxiety and stress was greatly reduced.

Imagine how making a solid, well thought out decision about ones future would be improved in a context void of stress and anxiety. Imagine also how the ability to repeatedly connect with that sense of tranquility during the discomfort of chemotherapy increases the quality of life for cancer patients.

Research by Dr. David Simon, medical director of neurological services at Sharp Cabrillo Hospital in San Diego and medical director at the Chopra Center found that chants are chemically metabolized into ‘endogenous opiates’, that act on the body as internal painkillers and healing agents.

In my own research with sound using biofeedback equipment I found that the harmonics produced by the Himalayan (Tibetan) Singing Bowls have transformative abilities (brain activity, heart rate and body temperature have diminished during sessions) creating a deeply peaceful state of being while energizing the brain.

Biofeedback is a scientifically valid measurement devise used to help individuals gain voluntary control over several different Autonomic Nervous System functions. Research has shown that when breathing and heart rate are in synch this produces a resonant frequency in the body (similar to the resonance being produced by the Tibetan bowls). This is extremely beneficial for the heart and the entire body. Stress related disorders, pain, and many other disorders are predicted by whether or not a person is achieving cardio-respiratory synchrony. During sessions of Tibetan bowl sound therapy, cardio-respiratory synchrony increased dramatically as measured by J&J Engineered Biofeedback equipment. Data showed that during the sound therapy sessions there was an increase in Parasympathetic Nervous System activity and decrease in Sympathetic Nervous System drive. The relaxation response was initiated and the stress response was inhibited. This means the Autonomic Nervous System was balanced for the majority of the session. The resonance of the bowls produced slow breathing of approximately six breaths per minute which produced beneficial effects on the heart and whole body.

These results are promising in that Tibetan bowl sound therapy increases cardio-respiratory synchrony and resonance within the body. Therefore, there are many disorders that can greatly benefits from the use of Tibetan bowl sound therapy.

My clients have supported the scientific findings with reports of everything from relief from pain and discomfort, clearing of sinuses, shifting out of depression, ability to sleep (for those with insomnia), re-vitalization and clarity, feeling of well being, great connectedness and deep personal transformation. Clients report a fundamental shift in their view of phenomenon space, accentuated clarity of mind and body, enhanced creativity, vigor, joy and sense of peace.”

It is important to look at what healing really is and what the difference is between healing and curing. A cure is the “complete biological resolution of a diseased state”, according to Dr Gaynor in his book “The Healing Power of Sound”. Healing, however has more far reaching implications that occur on emotional, spiritual and physical levels. It is a regenerative process married to a spiritual awakening that can have profound consequences on illness, disease and all aspects of our lives.

Himalayan or Tibetan Singing bowls have been traced to the shamanistic Bon tradition which predates Buddhism by thousands of years. Dr. Gaynor mentions in an article in Shamans Drum magazine that the reason sound (and chanting) are still used in shamanistic cultures is that the sound induces trance states of consciousness conducive to healing. The ancient Himalayan Bowls are made from a consecrated seven metal alloy which, when skillfully stimulated, produce five individual and simultaneous tones, each at its own consistent frequency, which vibrational-ly dance with each other. The raw materials were collected, smelted and purified, cast, reheated and hammered into shape and tone. Mantras or sacred chants were sung and infused intent into the bowls. Their sound synchronizes sentient brain waves and creates a therapeutic effect upon the mind/body realization. .

Singing Bowls, produce the primordial sound of ‘AUM’: The fundamental utterance of energy metamorphosing into matter. They alter space, mind and time; awakening cellular memory and healing the energy body. The act of listening to their captivating overtones effectively stops one’s internal dialog, the ‘Monkey Mind’. The individual is transported into a space of tranquility and balance where the ‘Universal Chord’, found within each self, is touched, joined with and understood. The Universal Chord if you will, that is the primordial substance from which our whole reality is made and from which our Universe originated. Although the vibrational energy of the bowls can be directed to a specific area for healing purposes, they work more on a fundamental level.

These instruments are used within meditations and physical vibrational healing techniques. Their harmonic resonance is used to:

– reduce stress and pain

– balance energy

– create vitality synchronization and spontaneous healing.

– effectively alter consciousness into a peaceful and expansive meditative state. (trance induction)

– meditation

Diane Mandle is a Certified Sound Healer based in Southern California. She maintains an integrated Body/Mind private practice and conducts presentations and concerts nation wide on healing using the Himalayan bowls. She can be reached at 760-944-3441 or [email protected]. Her CD “Return to OM” is available on her website at


Spirituality & Health, Aug 2003

Shaman’s Drum, Number 63, 2002

Richard Rudis (Sacred Sound Workshops)

Johathan Goldman, “Sound Healing”