I'm still a newbie in this matter, and my purpose with this little article is to introduce this wonderful "tools" to those who have never heard about them before.
The original tibetan bowls are said to be made in the Himalayas from a fusion of different metals: gold, silver, mercury, copper, iron, tin, antimony (the seven planetary metals) plus sometimes nickel, zinc and even a meteorite piece. The manner in which the metals are combined is not known, as they were handmade following a formula known only by the old masters. They have a base sound tone along with different harmonics, and they can be played in two different ways: we can rub the outside rim in a circular motion with a wooden stick, making the sound and vibration to raise slowly; or we can tap them getting a strong sound quickly.
The sound from the bowls guides the brain to an alpha wave frequency that induces a deep meditative and peaceful state, as well as clarity of mind. Besides, when played close or directly on the body the sound vibrations are transmitted into our blood and organs, so they can be used for healing. Why? Well, any object living or non-living has a unique energetic vibrational field, and when two objects vibrate in harmony they vibrational fields strengthen each other. A body in a healthy state is like an orchestra, where each cell and each organ creates a resonance in harmony with the whole being. But when one or more body components vibrate out of tune then the natural flow of energy is replaced by an inadequate vibration, leading to a disease. So in order to bring a healthy state back, it's necesary to restore the natural fundamental frequency, and this can be done through the vibration and sound of the tibetan bowls. They resonate with every cell in the body to release any blockage and restore the lost balance. And not only their sound is great, but also the silence that you experiment after the sound has diluted in the air and become a part of you.
I saw the first one during my Tai Chi retreat in the mountains and felt a strong connection with it. Since then I became pretty fascinated by them, so I decided to look for one and experiment with it. Curiously, some weeks later somebody suggested me to attended a concert by a norwegian woman who does sound therapy with bowls and gongs, so I did it and also went to an amazing private sound session with her. My Tai Chi teacher assured me that she sells genuine tibetan bowls, so decided to buy one from her. After trying some I got the one that I felt a better connection with. So here I am with a tibetan bowl in my life. It's an original one, hand-hammered, looks pretty old as you can see in the picture and has a beautiful base tone A (La) and at least two harmonics. When I play it, a strong vibration comes trough my hand to my body, and the sound penetrates very deeply inside me, it's difficult to describe the sensations I feel while playing it!. It's wonderful for meditation.
Even if you're not interested in having one of these tibetan bowls, you should try to attend to a concert if you have the opportunity. A fantastic experience that will enrich you.
© 2006, Silvia Martínez Sánchez