Healing Power of Sacred Sounds
Dr. Fadel Behman
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all the methods for altering brain state, the use of sound is
the most ancient and primordial. Vibration is the fundamental
basis of everything that exists, from the stars and galaxies to
our bodies and minds.
Tom Kenyon, Brain States
stand at a very interesting point in history. We are at the seam
where the "magic" of shamans and healers of ancient
cultures and wisdom traditions is being joined with the latest
discoveries in "science." Throughout history, healers
have used vibrations, specifically the audible vibrations of sound
and music, as a pivotal modality, to induce and enhance healing
states of consciousness.
recognize musical instruments because a tone is not made by one
single frequency. Only in a laboratory is it possible to produce
a tone that exists of (almost) one single frequency. Nobody would
like such an instrument, since this sound has a very clean, cold,
soulless timbre. A tone of an instrument always contains several
frequencies. These frequencies are related to each other. The
relationship between frequencies of pleasant tones appears to
be simple: in addition to the base frequency, there is the double
frequency, a frequency three times the base frequency, four times
the base, etc. These additional frequencies are called overtones
or harmonics. The contribution (volume) of the separate overtones
determines the timbre of the tone and is different for each instrument.
of physicians and hospitals have recently begun to utilize the
singing bowls with cancer patients and others suffering serious,
catastrophic illnesses. Mitchell L. Gaynor, M.D., Director of
Medical Oncology and Integrative Medicine at Strang-Cornell Cancer
Prevention Center, affiliated with New York Hospital, authored
the best-selling book, Sounds of Healing, in 1999. Subtitled A
Physician Reveals the Therapeutic Power of Sound, Voice, and Music,
the book is a resounding endorsement of the principals outlined
in this article, and cites numerous research projects from around
the world as scientific "proof" of the ability of sound
and music to heal.
driving," a term introduced by cultural anthropologist and
shamanic teacher Michael Harner, is the use of sound, primarily
regular rhythmic drumming to help an individual "journey"
into their mind, or into a "non-ordinary reality" (NOR)
for creativity, healing, problem solving, and generally accessing
a greater wisdom. Such drumming is usually in the theta range.
The tempo of tribal drumming from Africa, the Caribbean, and South/Central
America is often in the alpha wave frequencies.
activity is always going on in the live human brain. Different
frequencies correspond to different states of consciousness. In
a nutshell, "normal waking" consciousness means the
brain is generating electricity in the "beta" frequency
(13-25 or more cycles per second); "alpha" (8-12 cps)
is generated when we are daydreaming, in light trance, or the
early stages of meditation; "theta" (4-7 cps) is what
is commonly referred to as the "hypnogogic" state -
in between waking and sleeping, where we frequently experience
bursts of insight, intuition, and creativity; and "delta"
(.5-3.5 cps) is mostly deep, dreamless sleep.
About Singing Bowls
is very little information available in written form on the singing
bowls. Their origin is somewhat of a mystery, and seems to be
shrouded in secrecy. They have been used for thousands of years;
anecdotal evidence claims that they pre-date Buddhism, and were
created and used by the Bon. Originally the term "bon"
designated the various existing religious and magico-ritual traditions,
very probably based on elements common to the heritage of pan
Asiatic Shamanism. However, the people of the Himalayas used the
bowls. One thing is certain, contemporary Western people are deeply
moved in a special way when they first encounter the singing bowls.
Many feel that their spirit has been touched when they listen
to the living sound of the bowls.
played the bowls for many people... I have yet to encounter a
negative response. A frequently heard comment is that although
the sounds are completely new and different from anything they
have ever heard, there is something extraordinarily familiar about
them. This feeling is less strong when heard from recordings than
in person. The sound from the bowls instills great space and peace.
A sense of well-being and relaxation is experienced. The vibration
seems to synchronize with brain waves for therapeutic effect.
metal "Singing Bowls" from Tibet, Nepal, and northern
India have become increasingly available in the west over the
past decade. Compared with overtone chanting, the bowls are relatively
easy to learn to play. Most people can make a bowl "sing"
in the first 5-10 minutes. Singing bowls have a magical aliveness,
and they interact in distinct ways with different people and environments
when played. Handcrafted by different makers, each bowl has a
unique voice. They are comprised of the seven metals representing
different planetary influences. Together these metals produce
a profound sound which can penetrate deep within the body and
mind creating a subtle healing, also useful as an aid to meditation.
bowl is played by holding it in the flat open palm of one hand,
allowing the body of the bowl to vibrate freely. Within the basic
tone of each bowl are overtones that present an initial perception,
which then unfolds itself to the patient listener. The "beat
frequencies" often heard on high quality bowls are the results
of two or more wave trains passing simultaneously through the
same region. This can have the effect of synchronizing the brain's
hemispheres with a "binaural" beat, as well as encouraging
entrainment. The oral tradition ascribes three primary uses to
the bowls from ancient times: synchronization, internal massage,
and to travel without moving the body.
The sounds of the bowl have an incredibly effective. Or, it may
be viewed as bringing about a more meticulous organization of
pulse and heartbeat. In a larger context, it may refer to being
"in synch" with the Tao, with the flow of life in and
around us. Often, although our clients are presenting smaller
problems, from a larger perspective, these can be understood as
being "out of synch". In a ritual manner, playing the
bowls for a group of individuals has the effect of bringing into
alignment the frequencies of each person with that moment in time
and space, as well as with the frequency of the group. Such synchronizations
have a heightened effect if the bowls are played in sacred space
(churches, pyramids, yurts, etc.), or at significant cosmic moments
(solstices, equinoxes, etc.)
Massage: When a singing bowl is struck, an individual can feel
that the air around the bowl also vibrates. These powerful vibrations
spread through our bodies, and this results in a very delicate
internal massage of all the cells. Our bodies consist of almost
80% water, and water is an excellent medium to carry vibration.
The human body is a living entity of vibrations and wavelengths.
A healthy organ is well tuned, meaning that it vibrates only at
its own frequency, while the frequency of a sick organ is disturbed.
Our language still uses the phrase "to be of sound mind and
body." Singing bowls recreate the original harmonic frequency,
and stimulate the body to rediscover its own harmonic frequency.
By making the body vibrate to the frequency of the bowl, when
it is synchronized, it can vibrate independently. By placing singing
bowls onto the body directly over organs or tissue parts, and
then sounding the bowl, vibration is "sent" into the
body and internal massage is created. Bowls can be placed on Chakra
points to open or "attenuate" them through a sympathetic
resonance of sound and vibration. They can be placed around or
along the body including the head, to bathe the body or tone it
in a "sound bath."
Without Moving the Body:
Many ancient and contemporary esoteric practices speak of "astral
travel," or "astral projection." Both the American
and Russian government spent considerable time and money during
the cold war in researching "remote viewing." If, as
Dr. Larry Dossey and others have hypothesized, consciousness is
"non-local," certain stimuli seem to provide an environment
conducive to the direct experience of this phenomenon.
Dr. Fadel Behman is a Holistic Energy Medicine Specialist, practicing
in Montréal. He also teaches many courses in energy medicine
and uses sacred sound for healing. You can contact him by phone
at (514) 620-9460 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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