Crystal Singing Bowls
Meet the Voices Series
In this installment of Meet the Voices, we will introduce and give overview to crystal singing bowls and their place in the soundscapes at Ancient Song Therapy. Brief notes will be given on their origins and history, the chakra note attunement theory, and their health benefits of these powerful instruments.
What are crystal singing bowls?
Singing bowls are one of the most utilized instruments in sound therapy, and crystal bowls have become very popular sonic tools. They create consistent, pure tones that are powerful and effective, while simultaneously being one of the easiest singing bowls to play. Working with the understanding that all matter has a unique frequency, crystal singing bowls—which are made of silicon quartz—are considered to have a “purer” vibration due to the use of single mineral construction. Throughout many vibrational healing circles, quartz crystals are known to be purifying, restorative, and uplifting.
Crystal singing bowls (or standing bells) are made of silica sand (a plentiful result of erosion by wind and water, not a rare or precious stone) in a spinning mold or quartz tubing in a process that heats the mixture to about 4000 degrees F. There is a false belief that these are “ancient instruments,” and while there may be some evidence of alloy metal bowls used as bells or chimes, the crystal bowl, or crucible, is a contemporary tool. Crystal bowls have a strong, clear resonance that practitioners and clients alike find deeply relaxing, rejuvenating, and evocative of deep stirrings of emotion and states of well being.
Quartz crucibles were originally a by-product of the computer industry. Quartz can be heated to high temperatures (as seen in above), and these vessels were used to grow computer chips and other high-tech electronic components. The name Silicon Valley was earned. Quartz crucibles first cam into being as healing tools in the 1980’s. They were not designed as instruments first.
Crystal singing bowls are manufactured all over the world, and there is no difference in the quality of “sand” sourced from North America or China or India. They can be clear or frosted, and recently colors created by infusing semi-precious stones into the silica mixture or coating the finished bowl in powdered minerals. Size ranges from 5-24 inches in diameter. Size and density of the bowl help to determine the frequency at which it resonates, and it is possible to find bowls that create pleasing harmonies when sounded together. Of course, what sounds pleasing is often culturally specific.
Chakra Note Attunement Theory
A cursory search for crystal singing bowls on the Internet will reveal quite a lot of import put on “chakra tunings,” Solfeggio tones, specific hertz (Hz) frequencies, “perfect pitch”—it can be overwhelming. The concept of the chakra as an energy center in the human body is not new—there are in fact hundreds of minor energy meridians and intersections throughout our body. Westerners like simple over complex, and accordingly, this idea has been reduced to an easy to remember number of 7 that also happens to correspond to the colors of the light spectrum, or rainbow. Yes, color is vibration. Yes, certain systems in our bodies generate a unique energy signature. And, these themselves are on a spectrum and are as unique and specific at the individual to which they belong.
For the sake of this section, the table below lists these suspected correspondences. These may correspond to your experience of a chakra/energy center responding to a certain note or frequency, and that is just fine. It is just as true that these correspondences are not the same for everyone, neither in general nor from day to day, minute to minute. Vibrational energy is alive and ever-changing. It is affected by an unfathomable number of environmental and emotional cues. Find what works for you, but do not be surprised if/when it changes.
Crown – Seventh
B – ~963 Hz
Brow / “Third Eye” – Sixth
A – ~852 Hz
Throat – Fifth
G – ~741 Hz
Heart – Fourth
F – ~639 Hz
Solar Plexus – Third
E – ~528 Hz
Navel – Second
D – ~417 Hz
Root – First
C – ~396 Hz
Health Benefits of Crystal Singing Bowls
The late Dr. Mitchell Gaynor, a now famous oncologist, author, and pioneer of sound therapy, used crystal singing bowls with his patients to minimize pain and anxiety. His studies have claimed that this type of sound healing therapy helps to recreate the “natural inner harmony of the body.”
With all due respect to Dr. Gaynor, we believe that it is not the instrument that heals, but the environment created by the sound therapist or practitioner. When we say “Frequency facilitates healing” what we wish to convey is the idea that if one frequently gives themselves the opportunity to rest or meditate in a curated sonic landscape, the body will begin to use this respite from the inundation of information, unnatural vibrations from fluorescent lighting and the motion of public transit or our automobiles, the stress and anxiety generated within our bodies from deadlines, busy-ness, and the many social constructs of the modern world.
Self-care is health care. A sound bath or meditation is an opportunity for recuperation, integration, and ease. It is time gifted to oneself that announces I am worth taking care of. Self-care is a radical act, an act of reclaiming the self from the clutches of societal expectations, which so often are completely unrealistic. We will go in depth on the science of sound therapy in future articles, but here are some of the benefits of adopting a meditative self-care practice:
- Rest and Relaxation – Our minds are constantly processing thoughts, information arrives to us at a rate that is impossible to digest it all, and we are often existing in a state of overwhelm, distraction, and decision fatigue. Meditative practice, one supported by sound, can help stop thoughts in their tracks by offering a focal point that allows the body to deeply relax. Restorative practices such as this has been shown to effectively reduce stress and anxiety (thoughts), relieve physical pain, improve mental and emotional clarity, stimulate the immune system. Ultimately, sound therapy allows one to be fully present in the moment.
- Frequency facilitates healing – As mentioned above, sound therapy and meditation can help free up energy in the body, especially that which is stuck in the mind in the form of thoughts, stress, and anxiety, and create a greater capacity for awareness and management of these emotions. When we are less stressed, our immune system is less tasked. When our immune system is running at full strength, we can heal, or remain healthy. With repetition (frequency), we entrain ourselves to the feeling of relaxation, that feeling of balance and harmony, and are more keenly aware when our body informs us that there is something out of balance. We teach ourselves how feeling better feels.
- Improved sleep – By relaxing our body and mind, letting go of stress and worries, we can attain the ultimate restorative practice—sleep. When we achieve between 6-8 uninterrupted hours of sleep, a cycle in which N-REM and REM states are reached, our body systems are revived and restored, we can stave off disease, and feel more vital and healthy.
Crystal singing bowls are a powerful tool for facilitating an environment for meditative practice, relaxation and restorative self-care. Their clear, consistent tones can have profound effects on the body, mind and spirit. When our bodies learn how to be free from stress, even for an hour, we teach ourselves how to listen to our bodies during times of disease and disharmony so we can quickly and efficiently return to our natural, resonant state, at peace.