Sound Therapy with Tibetan Bowls for Deep Relaxation 

For thousands of years, sound and rhythm have been used in nearly every culture around the world to achieve deeper states of relaxation and inner connection.

Tibetan Bowl sound therapy has the ability to encourage deep states of physical relaxation, as well as alpha and theta brainwave states, where relaxation, restoration and even creative insights can occur. Sound Therapy with Tibetan Bowls are useful for simply releasing stress and physical tension, or as a prelude to a deeper meditative states. I like to describe Tibetan Bowl Sound therapy as Meditation or Mindfulness on “training wheels”, encouraging rapid access to mental stillness and relaxation. 

Study: Effects of Singing Bowl Sound Meditation on Mood, Tension, and Well-being by National Institutes of Health (NIH)

From the study—“Poor mood and elevated anxiety are linked to increased incidence of disease. This study examined the effects of sound meditation, specifically Tibetan singing bowl meditation, on mood, anxiety, pain, and spiritual well-being. Sixty-two women and men (mean age 49.7 years) participated. As compared with pre-meditation, following the sound meditation participants reported significantly less tension, anger, fatigue, and depressed mood (all Ps <.001). Additionally, participants who were previously naïve to this type of meditation experienced a significantly greater reduction in tension compared with participants experienced in this meditation (P < .001). Feeling of spiritual well-being significantly increased across all participants (P < .001). Tibetan singing bowl meditation may be a feasible low-cost low technology intervention for reducing feelings of tension, anxiety, and depression, and increasing spiritual well-being. This meditation type may be especially useful in decreasing tension in individuals who have not previously practiced this form of meditation.” 

Journal of Evidence Based and Complementary medicine

Other possible benefits may include:

  1. Brainwave Entrainment
  2. Melatonin Release 
  3. Vagus Nerve Stimulation
  4. Nitric Oxide release
  5. Right Brain Activation

Brainwave Entrainment

Entrainment  is  when two systems come into synchronization with each other. This was first  noticed by  Christian Huygens, the inventor of  the  pendulum clock.  He noticed that the pendulum clock in his  shop would always  "sync up" to each other. This  phenomena was later studied and the idea of Entrainment came into being. This   type  of  entrainment  also  happens  with  our  brainwaves.  Because  the  brain,  the heart  and  the  breath  are  all  connected  via  the  parasympathetic  nervous  system, Tibetan Bells have the ability to entrain our brainwaves and this helps  to relax  our entire  body  and essentially  allow us the space to find a new level of harmony within the body. 

With  sound  therapy,  our  brainwaves  are  entraining  to  an  existing  oscillation  that  is contained in the sound or musical background. Our brains do this  naturally. This  occurs because  of  a  phenomenon  called  the Frequency  Following  Response or FFR. The repetitive  nature  of  these  oscillations  encourage  our  brainwaves   to  entrain  with  the oscillation. Accessing these different  mental states not  only give the mind a rest, but because the mind the heart  and  breathing  are all connecting  via  the Parasympathetic  Nervous  System,  they also  give our body  a rest. Binaural beats and Monaural Beats are sound oscillations that  give us a window  into  accessing  these  mental  states.  Instruments  like  Tibetan  Singing Bowls also produce these types of oscillations. 

Melatonin Release

Music Therapy and Sound Therapy with Tibetan Bowls also seems to help release melatonin. Melatonin is produced by the Pineal Gland. This may also be partially responsible in helping to achieve alpha and theta and delta brainwave states, as this is the natural occurrence each day as we cycle down from waking states to sleep states in response to the release of melatonin as we are entrained to the natural circadian rhythms of with the Sun cycles. Melatonin has many powerful benefits from sleep aid to cancer prevention.

Music therapy increases serum melatonin levels in patients with Alzheimer's disease

Brain Music: Turn on, feel better 

Vagus Nerve Stimulation

Tibetan bowl sound therapy as well as singing and chanting, activate vagus nerve. Vagus Nerve stimulation has a host of benefits from improving mood, and memory to relieving anxiety and depression. 

New Headphones Stimulate Vagus Nerve To Deliver A Surge Of Dopamine With Your Tunes

Mindfulness Meditation and the Vagus Nerve Share Many Powers

Nitric Oxide release

Sound Therapy with Tibetan Bowls may also release Nitric Oxide which has a host of benefits including expanding blood vessels, lowering blood pressure, and fighting pathogenic bacteria. 

Sound therapy induced relaxation: down regulating stress processes and pathologies

Why Nitric Oxide is Good for you

Right Brain Activation

Because of the random nature of Tibetan Bowl sound therapy, it can also encourage right brain activation. The left brain is designed to recognize and react to patterns. The right brain is seen as being more open to seeing the “whole” without attachment or expectation. This can also help facilitate deep relaxation. 

The Ego Mind - Left Brain Interpreter

Role of music in intensive care medicine

“The simultaneous left and right brain action maximizes learning and retention of information. The information being studied activates the left brain while the music activates the right brain. Also, activities which engage both sides of the brain at the same time, such as playing an instrument or singing, cause the brain to become more capable of processing information.” 

In summary, Sound Therapy helps to encourage the relaxation response. This is the body’s natural defense against stress. 

By relaxing consciously, we encourage the body’s natural self healing and stress reducing mechanisms and encouragement of the positive production of calming brain chemicals. The term “relaxation response” was coined by Dr. Herbert Benson of the Harvard medical school over twenty five years ago. His best selling book by the same name explores simples methods to releasing stress, including many mindfulness techniques (including sound) that are commonplace today.