A friend of mine sent me an e-mail from a purveyor of crystal singing bowls who alleges that using the bowls with guided meditation will enable persons to do everything from attracting millions into their bank accounts to awakening their DNA (whatever that means).
According to this particular website, the use of the bowls allegedly provide “known healing benefits” such as deep tissue healing, pain management, sleep enhancement and increased energy. Healing is premised on the concept that everyone has a vibration that is “a signature of their health” and, just like a musical instrument, our bodies call fall “out of tune”, which is why we experience disease. The sound and vibration of the crystal singing bowls can “retune us back to vibrational harmony so that healing can occur.”
The site claims that when used in conjunction with guided imagery meditation , the singing bowls “will lead you through the seven chakras on a pathway to opening yourself up to more Prosperity.” (Chakras are described on this site as “gateways and portals to higher consciousness”).
As usual, no clinical or scientific proof is offered for these statements, only the usual “testimonials.” As if this isn’t enough to identify this practice as completely New Age, the site also recommends other “powerful self-healing techniques” such as the Silva Method (occult) and the Emotional Freedom Technique .
Historically speaking, singing bowls are said to come from a Tibetan oral tradition that one source dates back to 480 B.C. It is actually a type of standing bell that sits on the ground, and its sides and rim are struck to produce sound. In Buddhist practice, the bells or bowls are used to support meditation and induce trance-like states. The best known type of singing bowl comes from the Himalayas and is known as a Tibetan singing bowl, but they can also be found in India, China and Japan.
I suspect the use of singing bowls for the purposes described on the New Age site mentioned above are just another on a long list of examples of New Agers co-opting religious practices from the East and turning them into money-making machines. Some of these bowls are pricey, ranging in price from $149 for a 6″ “Optically Clear” bowl to $2,999 for an 18″ “Solid Gold Classic Frosted” bowl.
It’s also important to note that music therapy is used to treat many kinds of ailments, from arthritis to mental health conditions, and there is much legitimate research being conducted in this field. However, a person does not need to dabble around in Eastern religions or New Age-infested copy-cats to reap these benefits.
Lastly, there is absolutely no evidence that people have a “vibration” that can be re-tuned in order to affect healing or that music can “awaken” DNA.
Send your New Age question to firstname.lastname@example.org