Cocooned in our mother’s womb, the first sounds we hear before we enter this world are the beating of her heart, air moving through her lungs and the gentle hum of her voice, vibrating through the waters surrounding us.
As we grow different sounds create or accompany different life experiences. The sounds of nature calm our senses, the sounds of a laughing child gives us joy. A loud sound can make our body contract and jump into fight or flight mode, whilst a gentle, soft sound, like a bird chirping, a gentle breeze through the trees, or running stream water, can help us relax and calm our nervous system. We make certain sounds when we feel certain feelings and emotions. In silence we hear the sound of our breath, the sound of our own heart beat.
The sounds of different styles of music soundtrack us as we grow and evolve, reflecting our mood and evolution – individually and collectively.
Music has, like to many others, played a pivotal role in my life. My earliest memory of music is dancing to Chubby Checker’s ‘Let’s Twist Again’ on yellow vinyl on my mum’s record player. I remember buying my first singles, Tiffany ‘I Think We’re Alone Now’ and Kylie ‘I Should Be So Lucky’ on 7 inch, dancing and singing to Madonna in my leotard in front of the mirror (she gave me a confidence that I still feel now), fan girl obsessions to Take That, Damage and The Spice Girls, learning all the lyrics and dancing to Salt ‘n Pepa…
As I entered my teens, alongside RnB and pop, I found dance music. My first introduction was through a boyfriend showing me a compilation called Jungle Hits. I went on my first Ibiza trip when I was 16 and even though I didn’t go to any proper nightclubs, something inside of me ignited and when I returned back to England, I became obsessed with dance music via Danny Rampling’s Love Groove Dance Party on Radio 1 (after my best friend Tracy introduced me to it). At 17, I started going to nightclubs with my bright pink hair and love of dancing.
I went on my second Ibiza trip when I was 18 (where I now live) and from this I knew I had to work with dance music. The music, the dancing that came with it, the freedom and this community of crazies coming together with their big hearts, fun dispositions and, in most cases, a need for a collective healing that took place on the dance floor and around it. On my return home from that trip, I got my first job in dance music and worked first in journalism and then PR. I formed many dancefloor memories and I began to spend summers in Ibiza. Dance music was always on my headphones and for a time the tag line on my emails was ‘It’s all about the rave’. I went through all styles, first it was soulful house and disco – music which allowed me to open up and move my body, whilst divas invited me to sing along with my eyes closed on the dance floor. House music got my groove on. Then came techno – heads down serious music – in many ways for me, techno is this language that expresses frustration and, if done right, can give a cosmic message, allowing me to dance and weave through whatever I am processing and move it.
From around 2008, I travelled in the winter and spent my summers in Ibiza, working online as I travelled (it’s now called being a digital nomad, I believe!). I bought my first Tibetan singing bowl whilst travelling in Nepal in 2012 – around the same time I took my first yoga teacher training and began to experience living in more alternative communities.
In 2016 I experienced a huge trauma and I couldn’t even listen to electronic music any more, as I felt really anxious all the time. Extremely sensitive, I could only listen to Sanskrit mantras, medicine songs and soothing sounds, as my spirit and soul called for a deep healing. This was the ending of one musical phase and the beginning of another, as I read and listened to everything I could about the healing aspects of sound (I highly recommend Inayat Rehmat Khan ‘Mysticism of Sound and Music’). With this heightened sensitivity, I needed to be more careful of what sounds would help me to heal.
Enter Sound Healing.
That same year I experienced crystal singing bowls intensely for the first time. I was on my second yoga teacher training in Guatemala, which also included mystical and musical elements. My favourite part of the training was the Om Dome, a little gnome style dome where all the music instruments were kept. I would go most days and practice on the crystal singing bowls and sing Sanskrit mantras to resonate with the bowls.
After the training I had an encounter on a full moon eclipse with a crystal bowl dealer. I bought my first set and my journey into crystal sound began. You don’t need a huge formal training with crystal singing bowls (in my opinion), it’s so much about the feeling. But, it is good to learn the basics, have a sensitive nature and a working knowledge of sound, harmony and of course healing.
Through dance music I was immersed in sound and through observation I learnt a lot from the producers and DJs I worked with. I remember when I started teaching yoga, I structured it like a DJ set spanning the whole night – warm up, the peak and then down again to close. This learned structure of the ‘journey’, along with my yogic and shamanic practices, love for ceremony and ritual, has merged into a unique offering of sound, with my voice, through which I tone and sing mantras and medicine songs.
How does Sound Healing work ?
Sound healing is a holistic therapy – working on the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels.
Our bodies have a natural frequency in which we resonate and when this gets out of tune / balance, sickness occurs.
Everyone has a ‘wellness’ vibration, where everything is in alignment and you’re feeling well.
Stress and negativity can bring us out of our natural vibration and this is when we feel unwell.
This is where vibrational medicine can help bring us back in to optimum healthy frequency.
Everything is energy, everything is vibration. From your breath, to a table, to the earth and all planets and stars in the galaxy. We are a manifested form of vibration. Sound healing works through the law of resonance, transmitted through the air to our beings.
Sound has been present in various cultures for thousands of years as a tool for healing. Mantras are practised in Hinduism to heighten consciousness, medicine songs and icaros, tribal drums… The human voice is our most powerful tool.
“Sound helps to facilitate shifts in our brainwave state by using entrainment. Entrainment synchronizes our fluctuating brainwaves by providing a stable frequency which the brainwave can attune to. By using rhythm and frequency, we can entrain our brainwaves and it then becomes possible to down-shift our normal beta state (normal waking consciousness) to alpha (relaxed consciousness), and even reach theta (meditative state) and delta (sleep; where internal healing can occur).” – Third Eye Integration
You could also think of it in the terms of sympathetic resonance, which also reminds me of when you sit with someone of a strong vibration and you feel their energy –
“Sympathetic resonance is an example of physical entrainment, in which periodic behavior of one object can be communicated to another, even when there are no direct physical connections between the two. Christian Huygens was the first to observe entrainment when he noted in 1666 that two nearby pendulum clocks would eventually synchronize their swinging movement. In addition to sympathetic resonance being fundamental to account for musical harmonics, as well as for responses of the cochlea to auditory stimuli, it – and entrainment in general – is an important concept in accounting for the coordination of actions of groups of musicians (Borgo, 2005), and possibly for the evolution of social coordination and language in humans (Levitan, 2008).” – Source
What are the benefits of Sound Healing?
Sound meditations (some call them baths, I call them journeys) relax our nervous system and activate our more intuitive, creative nature.
Reduce stress and anxiety
Reduce depression – sound therapy is believed to enable the brain to produce more neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, which are responsible for making people happier. Less depression and more positive feelings.
Improves sleep disorders – including insomnia
Effects all cells in the body as they repair and renew – “your cells are listening”
Balances both hemispheres of the brain
Changes our old patterns of behaviour, habits and way of thinking that no longer serve us and are harmful to our health.
Cleanses negative energy and emotions.
Connects to your higher self.
Helps to recover after illness, traumas and invasive medical treatments.
Like yoga and other energy medicines, assists in coping with life’s challenges.
Increases vital energy flow, creativity, intuition and motivation.
Removes blockages and toxins.
Soothes, purifies and harmonises your emotions and feelings.
Stimulates endocrine glands and regulates hormonal functioning.
Strengthens immune system
Works on the subtle body (energetic body) to calm and assist with energy flow
Crystal Singing Bowls
Since the Om Dome in Guatemala and the cosmic full moon meeting, crystal singing bowls have become a strong part of my life and practice, and have lead to a deeper unfolding I could not have imagined. I now offer sound journeys (I prefer to use this word as it is a journey inside and above and each one is unique in where they take us) and have played the bowls and sang around the world – including The Natural History Museum in London, festivals across Europe, for my nan, in caves and on mountains and next to the sea like this – recorded in Ibiza for ADE.
The essence of crystal bowls dates back thousands of years and to Tibetan bowl healing. The Tibetan bowls have a much deeper resonance.
Crystal singing bowls only came into healing capacity around 1990, so the crystal method is quite new, some call it seeding the crystal consciousness.
Crystal singing bowls are a vibrational healing method, which can assist in bringing us back into resonance.
A crystal singing bowl meditation is calming and soothing. The crystal sounds invite you to enter into a deep relaxation and when you are in this calm and relaxed space, healing can take place on a deep cellular level – as you relax and open up to the flow of energy to bring you into a healthy vibration.
Seventy percent of our body is water, water is a great conductor of sound, so you can imagine the ripple effect through our body of the bowls as they heal on a deep cellular level.
Crystal singing bowls come in all shapes and sizes and are each tuned to a specific note, including flats and sharps. As a rule the larger bowls have a deeper, more penetrating sound and the smaller bowls a lighter sound.
The deeper I go with sound, the more sensitive I become to sound, and the more intuitive. Sound as a tool for healing is something that is continually unfolding in my life, and a journey I am so grateful and humbled to be on – to share this magic (sound plus positive intention) is something that surprises and inspires me every day.
Sound is the universal language.
Open to a place of stillness and spaciousness, where inspiration is born.
And we rise to a new way of being.
Some other links:
This post was written by Kim Booth. If you would like to know more about crystal singing bowls or book a session, check here.