As many people have discovered, practicing yoga is not only a great way to maintain flexibility, strength and balance in older age, it provides an opportunity to unplug, reflect and calm the busy or anxious mind. Focused breathing and meditation are essential components of any good yoga practice and sound; music, chanting or singing bowls, can help quiet thoughts, reduce stress and new research has found may even help manage pain.
According to a recent Globe and Mail report, a 2016 study found that the low-frequency sounds of Tibetan singing bowls used for centuries can calm the nervous system help reduce tension, anxiety, anger and sadness while creating a sense of tranquillity. Sound baths or meditations using singing bowls not only improved mood but researchers found they also helped participants control chronic pain and improved healing.
Singing bowls create a vibration that can be felt in the body. Similarly, research with Alzheimer’s patients found that sessions using a vibroacoustic device that produces music and vibration improved the cognitive scores of study participants by 13 percent after just three weeks of 30-minute sessions, twice a week. It is believed that the sound may stimulate neurons in the brain, helping to heal patients with neurodegenerative conditions.
Sound stimulation holds promise as a non-invasive treatment for many conditions including Alzheimer’s disease, Fibromyalgia, PTSD or for patients recovering from surgery or cancer treatments. A 2014 study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion also found that singing bowls used during a guided relaxation session helped lower systolic blood pressure and heart rate better than a silent session.
Although singing bowls are best experienced in person by a trained instructor, you can get a sense of the sensation by following this link to Tibetan Singing Bowls Meditations available on Spotify.