Sound Healing #1
TIBETAN SINGING BOWLS
Sound Healing with Tibetan Singing Bowls is a rather complex matter and before approaching the subject regarding the uses of Tibetan Singing Bowls in Sound Healing, I thought it useful to begin this series of articles by a general overview of the subject on sound healing.
Interest in the healing applications of sound has grown greatly during the closing years of the last century. From the very beginning of time, each one of us has been surrounded by the healing sounds of Nature, e.g. this could be: – the wind in the trees, birdsong, waves, burbling streams and waterfalls, whales, dolphins, fire, thunder and that silence experienced deep within ourselves. In very ancient times there would only have been the voice for use in sound healing – perhaps accompanied by dramatic body gestures eventually including primitive instrumental percussive sounds such as stalagmites, stalactites, drums, and shakers. Something of this form of sound healing has continued to this day in the folk medicine of various peoples in what we may term shamanic healing.
However, such ideas are not entirely new. Nonetheless, they may only recently have gained a wider public familiarity or acceptance. Actually, even during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, Dr Thomas Campion practiced lyrics and vocal compositions for healing patients, whilst George Frederick Handel said ‘I do not wish to amuse my audience, I wish to make them better’, whilst the Theosophically inspired composer Alexander Skryabin had composed a work intended to remove all the past Karma from all those attending the event! But the foundations behind the science of sound for health – physical, emotional, psychic, mental and spiritual – actually have their roots in periods much further back in time – even in the Atlantean times. The Ancient Mystery Schools in various cultures studied and practiced the use of sound for specific purposes. Perhaps one of the best known masters of such a mystery school, was Pythagoras. Numerous stories survive relating to his deeper understanding of sound and music. He is most popularly known nowadays in relation to the so-called ‘Music of the Spheres’. Pythagoras also taught that there is both an exoteric and esoteric nature to music. Even in our Bible we find David playing his harp and other references to the power of sound and music whilst in both Sufi and Vedic traditions, this inner nature of music was ,and still is, practiced in order to heal numerous conditions and also to assist in entering altered states of consciousness, or to reach similar sublime realms of Self-realisation.
Why is sound so important? It has been said that the sense of sound is normally the first sense acquired at around 18 weeks inside the womb and that it is commonly also the last sense to leave us at death. Accordingly, there have developed specialist sound therapies for the very young and also for the dying. However, it is clear that the first function of the ear of the foetus is to give food to the brain. The work of Dr Alfred Tomatis states that 60% of the electrical energy of the brain is obtained through our ears. In his theory (1974) Tomatis speaks of the charging effect of sound, especially high-frequency sound, on the brain. Through their action on the corti cells of the inner ear, the great majority of which are responsive to high frequencies, these sounds increase the electrical potential of the brain. Nevertheless, ongoing research has yet to discover the full neurological significance of sound during this 9 month gestation period. Tests have shown that from as early as 6 months after birth, babies display highly developed abilities to recognise musical structures, which continues developing throughout adult life. Sometimes, as a result of lack of funds (e.g. in the CIS), certain doctors have been led to study the effective use of music or sound to release endorphins to reduce pain and thereby obfuscate the need for drugs. Similarly, in Germany (although not as a result of financial deprivation), a certain Dr. Ralph Spintge heads a pain clinic which now has a database of over 90,000 patients showing the effects of music upon the patient.
For the most part, interest in sound healing in the West has taken the form of the application of various types of Music. As colour is the very foundation stone of the art of painting, so too, sound is the very basis of music. Nowadays, thanks to the invention of sound recording, there is a huge variety of global music to choose from. Again, from around the middle of the last century an interest in the ethnic music of other countries really took hold here in the West. By the close of the 20th century we could walk into any record store and find numerous classifications of music from classical, folk, jazz, rock, pop, light, fusion, world music, new age, with many sub-divisions such as reggae, funk, soul, fusion, acid house, grunge, hip hop, jungle, rave, samba, and in classical:- neoclassical, contemporary, minimalist, post-minimalist, new complexity, etc.
We each have a voice and can sing, and many forms of the ‘self-help’ school of sound healing focus upon ways of improving the quality of our lives through teaching such practices. Once again, from ancient times the chanting of a mantra would achieve a similar result. Certain primitive instruments allow each one of us to work with instrumental sound. Bells and gongs are especially powerful in this respect. The only difference being that a practitioner possesses a large range of different sounds for several conditions and has gained deep experiences of working with such sounds for many years.
However, whilst all of this music contains sounds, these sounds are used according to different philosophies or structural techniques of composition; different tuning systems, modes, scales, etc. Because these are comparatively advanced systems of using sounds, in comparison to shamanic forms of sound healing, perhaps it is more helpful to think of them as Music therapy.
Countless books were written on Music Therapy and many of these added detailed descriptions of how certain classifications of music, or the music of particular composers, would affect the listener. By and large, this consisted of the music of established classical composers and was largely for use in clinical situations but gradually as the century neared its end, more books were concerned with how we as individuals could influence our life and health by listening to certain forms of music, or even creating music or sounds ourselves. The principles of Music Therapy can include: Melody, Harmony, Rhythm, Timbre, Intervals, Scales, Modes, Resonance, Pitch and certain acoustical phenomena.
Sound Healing itself takes many forms – not unrelated to the musical ability, or otherwise, of the practitioner. Whilst yet other forms of sound healing are purely mechanical and stem from the physics of sound such as can be found in Cymatics and other derivatives. Cymatics is a word conjured by Dr Hans Jenny for describing his work studying sound-vibration or the kinetic realm of sound. Hans Jenny was able to build upon the work of such acousticians as Ernst Chladni via the invention of electricity. He was able to control precisely the tone and amplitude of each sound and then study their beautiful visible patterns and forms created in numerous materials upon several plates or diaphragms. Thanks to Hans Jenny, we can share in seeing the results of his research through the films and photographs that he took of these resultant forms created purely by sound vibration. His work has formed the basis for a deeper understanding of how sound or vibration affects the whole human body. Peter Guy Manners applied certain of the findings of Dr Hans Jenny via developing a machine through which a combination of five specified sound frequencies (vibrations measured in cycles per second – cps [five were used when I shared a platform with him in the early 80s – it may have changed by now]) could be applied to specific areas of the body. The rationale is based upon the theory that each organ or member of the body has its own vibratory rate that changes according to its condition of health e.g. it would be considered that a certain healthy bodily organ vibrates at say 250cps whilst a diseased one could be vibrating at a different speed (say 261cps) but by playing the vibration of 250cps to it the organ will be encouraged to return to its healthy vibratory rate. Such an approach teaches that our physical body is actually an intricate and interconnected resonating energetic system. According to Dr Manners, by transferring the healthy frequencies, applied through the physical medium of the Cymatics machine, on or as near to the region affected as it is possible to get, health can be restored through the law of sympathetic vibratory resonance. This approach could be seen as something of a mechanistic approach operating still within the Newtonian paradigm. Similarly, the Monroe Institute exploits certain acoustical phenomenon alongside other techniques in their Hemi-sync treatments – although Bob Monroe also states that he believes that this technique originated with the Tibetan Singing Bowls. Fabien Maman has been active in this sphere for some considerable time (almost 20 years at the time of writing the book below) and his findings, as put forth in his book The Role of Music in the Twenty-First Century, shows a sequence of pictures of cancer cells without sound for 21 minutes and then the beneficial effect of playing a gong to these same cells over a further 21 minutes. He depicts the same with xylophone, voice, acoustic guitar and tuning fork.
More recent developments in this ‘technological’ approach to sound therapy involve sophisticated computer software capable of analysing the speaking voice to find tones within it that are stressed, or (the reverse) completely missing. It is even possible through such a system of analysis to determine in advance which diseases are latent in the tone of voice and which will manifest. Sophisticated developments within this system of treatment now also allow it to detoxify specific poisons in the body. It brings to mind the ancient Chinese saying ‘There will come a time when man will be known by his sound, not by his name’.
To a certain extent we could say that Resonance is the fundamental Law applied in Sound Healing. Resonance is usually demonstrated with two tuning forks of exactly the same pitch. One tuning fork is sounded and then placed upon a hard table top which already has the other tuning fork resting upon it. The first tuning fork is then stopped and we notice that the second tuning fork is actually sounding – although it hasn’t been struck or stimulated in the usual manner. What occurs is a transference of vibration from the one to the other because they each resonate in perfect harmony with one another. Resonance is thus concerned with the ability of a vibration to reach out, through vibrational waves, in order to stimulate a similar vibration in another body. In other words, it triggers a response in a vibratory medium that is composed of a similar frequency.
The application of this theory relies upon this phenomena of resonance, for the soul qualities of the sound being used resonate with the soul of the recipient awakening into action, through resonant vibration, those very qualities which will restore equilibrium to the troubled soul. Ideally, the sound healer must also resonate with these same qualities, be these either upon the emotional, mental, spiritual, or physical levels (or any combination of these) of both the angels of healing and spirit healers, the instrument (sound), and the client.
This demonstrates another basic difference in ways of working with sound: –
· Sound (or music) is played around the client
· Sound is applied to specific parts of the client’s body
· Sounds are produced by the client as therapy
When we apply a more holistic view, by incorporating the several ‘bodies’ of the client, we encounter different techniques again. For instance, when working with the consciousness we will apply our knowledge of different brain states such as Alpha, Theta, and Delta. Certain instruments or sounds (such as didgeridoo or Tibetan singing bowls) might assist the client to connect with these altered states. Again, if treating the astral body, we would apply etheric colour rays to the chakras thereby reaching that level of the client’s being. Again, we may wish to engender specific thoughts during the healing, because the cause of the disease is considered to have originated from unhealthy attitudes of thinking. On yet another level, we may be seeking to reach the soul of the patient because the cause of the disease lies there. It could be that the individual may have become unbalanced through contact with certain spiritual energies or is struggling in the passing of one of life’s great (spiritual) initiations – and has encountered a degree of suffering causing serious imbalance, or there may even be unhealthy psychic attachments or, at its worst, psychic attacks.
As is the case with many practitioners of alternative or complementary therapies, I use the appropriate admixture of all of these approaches during an individual session. However, I primarily work now (since 1984) in this field of Sound Healing using only the Singing Bowls of Tibet. It is a form of sound healing which I have organically unfolded since 1978. However, in 1981 I realised that my growing collection of sacred Tibetan singing bowls carried the most potent subtle energies for my particular work in this field – it needn’t be the case for everybody.
There are many ways of using the bowls in Sound Healing. Some practitioners simply supply a kind of ‘Sound-Bath’ wherein the relaxing qualities of the bowl sounds help the person to relax. Others move bowls up the body of the patient and listen to see whether the bowl changes its sound at a certain place on the client’s body. If, and when, this happens they continue playing that bowl until it sounds right believing that this will correct the inharmony. Again, some practitioners may simply use one single bowl which they strike and then move in their own style above the length and breadth of the patient’s body. Yet others place bowls upon the head and body of the patient and play them from there. Some have removed metal from their bowls in order that they might be in-tune with Western pitches which certain systems have then aligned with planets, chakras, colours or whatever via a simple system of correspondences. The most common of these systems arises from the polarity of Low to High within the sevenfold Rainbow wherein the Lowest vibratory Colour (Red) relates to the Lowest Chakra (Root), thence to the First (or Lowest) Note in our Western Scale (C – to which Key our pianos are organised) and then to the sLowest planet (Saturn) and so on up. This would present us with the following correspondences: – Red/Root Chakra/ Saturn/C – whilst all astrological systems ascribing colours to planets (of which I know) agree on one planetary colour and that is Red for the planet Mars – thus providing us with a problem at the very outset of this system of correspondences. It might also be worth mentioning that a tremendous amount of military marches (Mars god of War) are written in the key of C Major. There are no fixed systems, as such, for an amount of intuition is inevitably at work at this early stage of bowl sound healings. I, myself, do not use this common system of correspondences. For instance, when studying the correspondence between certain vocal sounds and the chakras, even as detailed by numerous gurus, there are differences. Of course, if you are following the teachings of a particular guru, then it is wise and necessary for you to follow his or her particular order of correspondences.
Photograph by Poplar
What follows is an introductory description of my system of SPIRITUAL SOUND HEALING working with the Ancient Sacred Singing Bowls of Tibet:
Frank’s particular form of Sound Healing also exploits the unique psycho-acoustical properties of specific Bowls selected for their ability to resonate with certain healing energies. However, overall, the sounds of the bowls also relax the body and lower the blood pressure whilst also providing a form of cerebral stimulation. Overall this produces both a sense of well-being and increased energy.
Traditionally used for meditation, such sounds are also suitable for deep relaxation whilst also helping to open the listener to an emotional dimension beyond the personal so that emotions of a religious or spiritual nature are made more accessible regardless of particular belief systems.
The treatment also helps with certain emotional/psychological states, which can be the cause of physical problems, i.e. fear, anger, stress, depression, frustration, sadness, impatience etc. Tones from the bowls balance the chakras, bring the subtle bodies into alignment, and create a balance between the right and left hemispheres of the brain. They shatter accumulating negative energy within the chakras and the aura. They restore the circular flow of energy within the aura. The bowls and their unique tones have been used to restore blood pressure, correct asthma and emphysema, and even rebuild adrenal function after failure from steroid intake. They open and balance the meridians of the body and they improve the synapse response in the brain. They have been used with hyperactive children and they can help stimulate the immune system. Most importantly of all, they link us up with our Higher – Divine Self and so enable us to restore the harmony at very deep soul levels.
These specific sound healing treatments are also especially suited for helping us to pass the several ‘tests’, which many of us face during certain periods of our lives whilst travelling the Spiritual Path. In unfolding his sound healing work Frank has been guided by his spirit guides/teachers and masters of The Great White Brotherhood, his own past-life memories and, since 1973, studies and researches into the healing aspects of sound, music, and his Singing Bowls.
For the sessions he will have a collection of 67 ancient Tibetan Singing Bowls especially suitable or specifically designed for Sound-Healing work. The bowls are generally placed upon the floor above the patient’s head. Stroked bowls are also played from here. On rare occasions he will place one or more larger bowls upon the stomach of the patient. Frank uses these special Bowls alongside visualising the appropriate colours, for the individual sound-healing session, applied to the patient’s chakras and whole aura to assist the Angels of Healing in their work. This is after he has looked at the condition of the chakras. Traditional Tibetan healing incense is also used during the session, unless incense is uncomfortable for the client.
A sound healing session typically lasts 60 minutes with an additional 15 minutes afterwards to come back down and for any discussion. The patient is encouraged to wear loose and comfortable clothing. The patient lies down upon the floor with their arms by their sides and they are advised to keep their eyes closed. A blanket is nearby if needed.
Frank uses specially selected bowls in order to balance left and right hemispheres of the brain – enabling us to access both sides of the brain at once – in every session. Bowls are also selected which help us to enter Alpha and Theta brain wave states – these are usually associated with various ‘altered states’ including meditation, and ‘out-of-the-body’ experiences enabling the patient to undergo a deep inner journey with the healing angels. Yet other bowls resonate with certain specific spiritual vibrational energies which will be lovingly communicated to the soul of the client upon the deeper inner levels whilst being sounded.
At the close of the session either a Tibetan Meditation Cymbal or a special Yang Bowl is struck three times to signal to the patient that Frank’s work has finished and that, in their own time, they gently come back down to earth.
Frank first trained in spiritual healing in 1965, when he discovered that he was a trance-medium (channel) and then, again, in 1971 with The White Eagle Lodge. He has practised as both an Absent Healer and Contact Healer since that time. Psychic from birth, psychic gifts can be traced back through both sides of his family for several generations.
Frank also began his lifelong career in music in 1964. He has appeared on 100 albums (LPs, MCs & CDs) with 55 of these being solo releases. He has a collection of over 600 percussion instruments – mostly sacred metallophones. He has given over three hundred solo concerts since 1970 throughout the world contributing to many international festivals/events. Since 1978 he has also given over three hundred workshops/lectures, mostly concerning the Singing Bowls of Tibet, upon which subject he is an acknowledged world expert. He started to focus on sound healing in 1979 and he began seriously unfolding his Spiritual Sound Healing with his Tibetan Singing Bowls in 1984.
Frank studied Spiritual Astrology in 1973 and trained in The White Eagle School of Astrology and has practised as a Spiritual/Karmic Astrologer (looking into people’s ‘past lives,’ karma, etc) since 1976. Since 1989 he has used certain specially designed Singing Bowls to assist people in discovering their own ‘past-lives’ or ‘Far Memories.’
Frank brings all these unique gifts to bear in contributing towards his own unique and highly individual form of sound healing.
Frank is a member of IAST
(International Association of Sound Therapists)
For a deeper exploration of Frank’s unique form of sound healing with Tibetan Singing Bowls go to Sound Healing #2.You might also wish to view the article ‘Sound Healing with Tibetan Singing Bowls’ from 1999 Caduceus Magazine.
You may like to view the 1998 Channel 5 demonstration of Frank’s sound healing on youtube. Paste the following into your browser: –
Frank can provide personal one-on-one healing sessions at his home (@ £40 for a 75 minute session) in Ringwood, call Frank or Rose Perry on: 01425-470168 or email him:
These home sessions are between the hours of 11am and 3pm Monday to Friday.
Sound healing sessions have also on occasions been arranged to happen after One Day/Week-End workshops at various events around the country. To see whether one is occuring near you, please check on the events page on this site.
Relevant here are the two CDs THE HEALING BOWLS OF TIBET which contains WITHIN THE PETALS OF THE ROSE a track specially created for its sound healing effects – an excellent way to follow-up on treatments, and CHAKRA HEALING with 7 pieces for working with each Chakra and more recently DEEP HEALING (PEACE).
For any of these please:
Request from us at events,
Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org,
or write to us at the address below.
The same applies if you’d like to receive the catalogue of tapes & CD’s or be added to the events list mail out.
Frank Perry, 3 Drake Close, Ringwood, Hants, BH24 1UG.
© Copyright by Frank Perry 1997 slightly revised 2003. All rights reserved.
© Frank Perry, 1997. All of these articles are copyright. They may individually be copied and shared with others in a spirit of knowledge-sharing and fair play, but they may not be sold, printed or reproduced in quantity or changed in form without the permission of the copyright holder. None of this material may be reproduced in workshops or lectures of any kind unless quotes are credited or properly attributed.
Magazine and other editors may e-mail me for permission to reprint. E-mail:
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