Kristina Karst, CRMT is a yoga teacher and Reiki practitioner from Corpus Christi, TX. She uses singing bowls in conjunction with other sound instruments such as crystal bowls and gongs to complement a yoga practice, reiki or medical care depending on the client. Alternative healing modalities such as reiki and sound therapy are noninvasive practices that promote deep relaxation and calm the mind. Her students and clients have benefited from the use of these beautiful instruments mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Kristina was kind enough to contribute some of their stories to our guest blog.
What is sound therapy?
Sound Therapy utilizes the frequency of sound to rebalance the body’s energetic frequency. The sound will resonate with specific chakras, organs and emotions depending on the frequency of the sound. For each person this can be different as our bodies vibrate or receive sound differently. Sound therapy can also be a wonderful companion to reiki therapy, meditation and used in conjunction with a yoga practice.
How Does This Work?
So how does this work? Sound healing works to calm brain waves to bring the body into harmony. This is achieved by bringing the body into a deep state of relaxation and restoring normal vibrational frequencies of our cells. This can also have the same effect of bringing excitement, fear or even guilt depending on the frequency of sound that is used. For example, think about when you are watching a movie and a dramatic scene is about to happen. You hear music that is faster paced or the tone is specific that you associate it with fear. Think about the song from Jaws. I bet you can even hear it now.
The body is made of 75% of water which is a great conductor of sound vibration. Imagine throwing a stone into a lake. You will see circles or ripples of water the stone caused from the center and flowing outward from the source of the energetic exchange. The same thing happens when you hear a gong or singing bowl for example. This is based on the frequency of sound that it produces. Gongs create deep sound frequencies that can penetrate into your bones, some people find this extremely relaxing and at times feel as though they have been transported into another time and place. At the same time it can cause extreme fear promote the fight of flight response in other individuals. You can also place instruments on the body to target specific areas with the vibration of sound. I utilize this method during my energy healing sessions with my clients and it provides a great sense of calming and relaxation as well as promoting circulation into those areas. Research by Dr. David Simon, medical director of neurological services at Sharp Cabrillo Hospital in San Diego, who now directs the medical services at the Chopra Center, found that chants are chemically metabolized into ‘endogenous opiates,’ that act on the body as internal painkillers and healing agents. For more information please visit https://ichakras.com/singing-bowls/
Research cited by the Mind is the Master sound healing school posits that specific hertz (Hz) of sound has been linked to gamma brain waves, cellular regeneration, emotional balancing and even a higher spiritual development. Below are examples:
- A gamma wave is a pattern of neural oscillation in humans with a frequency between 25 and 140Hz, the 40Hz point being of particular interest. Flickering lights and the sounds at 40 Hz have been used in Alzheimer’s therapy studies to stimulate an increased neural response and fight symptoms of dementia. Sound at 40Hz has been linked to gamma brain waves and the stimulation of memory.
- 174Hz is one of the Solfeggio frequencies which is a series of tones used in sacred music believed in alternative medicine to different positive effects on human health. 174Hz is associated with the reduction of pain and stress.
- 285Hz is another Solfeggio frequency that is instrumental in healing cuts, burns and physical wounds. This sound frequency is supposed to activate the body into cellular regeneration encouraging the body into healing itself.
- 396Hz is associated with the removal of fear and negative feelings while at the same time balancing the root chakra.
- 417Hz focuses on energy surroundings for a past trauma or negative energies in the ambient environment. This frequency is used to dissolve emotional blockages and to active the sacral chakra.
- 432 Hz is focused on the heart chakra. This frequency is aimed towards mental and emotional clarity.
- 440Hz is cerebral music that assists with cognitive development and activates the third eye chakra.
- 528Hz is one of the most recognized Solfeggio frequencies. It is known as the love frequency or known as the Miracle Note. 528 Hz resonates at the heart of everything that exists in the Universe, including the sun, pyramids, circles, squares, rainbows and snowflakes.
- 639Hz affects the heart chakra. It is associated with greater attunement of harmonious relationships and encourages clear communication practices and situational awareness.
- 852Hz aids in redirecting the mind away from overthinking and negative thoughts. This can lead to depression, and by redirecting the brain waves helps to stop these thoughts that cause psychological amendments.
- 963Hz is the sound frequency that is associated with the pineal gland and higher spiritual development. It is known as the pure miracle tone or frequency of the gods. This frequency activates the crown chakra.
There are many sound frequencies utilized for healing the physical and metaphysical body. Sound healing has been utilized in stroke recovery, acupuncture enhancement, cancer treatment, autistic sensory therapy, brain wave entrainment, stress hormone altering, increased neurogenesis, enhanced physical rehabilitation programs, decreased pain perception, chakra balancing, reiki therapy and enhancing your yoga practice and meditation.
I personally can speak to the use of sound healing with my clients. I am a reiki master (CRMT), yoga teacher (YTT500), meditation teacher and sound practitioner. I work with clients with ailments, from cancer survivors, bi-polar disorder, Multiple sclerosis, neuropathy of extremities, anxiety, PTSD, abuse survivors, ADHD and those to needing to find ways to quiet their busy minds from stress at home or work. I work with children and adults and have seen amazing changes by introducing Tibetan singing bowls, crystal singing bowls, gongs, and chimes as part of my yoga classes, reiki sessions and sound baths.
My friend was telling me about her son Evan and difficulties he was having at home and school due to ADHD. With Covid this was being exacerbated as he was having a difficult time how to cope with a new normal. I had suggested that Evan get a Tibetan singing bowl and strike it when he feels anxious to help him to quiet his mind while at the same time taking a deep breath in and sighing it out and repeating this cycle a few times. Below is the outcome from this simple practice.
My son, Evan, was recently diagnosed with ADHD and depression at only 9 years old. As I was talking with Kristina about some of his outburst behaviors, she mentioned that a sound bowl might be beneficial for him to re-center and focus his energy when facing a meltdown. Over the last few weeks, Evan has used the sound bowl a few times to help calm himself down and refocus his energy on positives to overcome his meltdown. He watched an instructional video from Kristina to help ensure proper use and has since loved it. He loves the calming sound it makes and that the chime lingers for a moment so he can breathe through his emotions. As a parent, I love that it is such a simple solution to a potentially major issue in our home. I love this alternative form of healing for him versus medication or stress on all of us. Very grateful for Kristina’s suggestion and instruction in giving Evan an outlet so quickly. ~ Jessica
Another client I have been working with is Sara and her 3 beautiful children. We have had a few sessions practicing yoga and working with singing bowls to quiet the mind for meditation. They are ages 7, 8 and 12. They are wonderful to work with and their laugher is contagious! I take out 5 Tibetan singing bowls and have them close their eyes. I ask them to listen to the sound and the raise their hand when they hear the one they want to use from their practice. I then ask them to tell me what note is on the bowl and I then explain how that corresponds to the chakras and our yoga practice. We start off in meditation and each person gets to gong their bowl. I then have us play in an order so they can hear an actual musical scale and then hear the harmony of all bowls played together. The laughter eventually subsides and then we have those precious moments for clarity and calmness. The kids love to describe what they are feeling and what it makes them think about. Sara purchased a bowl for her kids to practice at home. The bowl is kept in a place where they can access it easy out in the living room. As like most parents when you hear silence you tend to be on the alert. She was pleasantly surprised to find her son sitting in from the fireplace meditating with the singing bowl. She had told me how much her kids love the singing bowls and yoga and they can’t wait for our classes. To be honest I don’t know who is more excited for the class the kids or myself.
Pat is a retired Nurse Practioner and has neuropathy in her shins and feet. I first met Pat as a referral for Reiki. She had never gone down the path of alternative medicine but was seeking something more as she was not getting the results she was looking for regarding her neuropathy and other ailments. She began practicing yoga with me 5 days a week and began to embrace the sound of the singing bowls I used in meditation and savasana. For our next reiki session I suggested to her that I use singing bowls for chakra balancing and body work. She energetically accepted and the results amazed her. She described the crystal bowl sounds as colors. She felt them resonate in different areas of her body and mind. After balancing her chakras with the bowls I moved on to our reiki session sending reiki energy to where she needed it. After the reiki portion of our session was completed I placed the Tibetan bowls on her chest, stomach, above her head and at her feet. I used the bowls to awaken her physical and metaphysical body. The sound vibration surrounded her and she felt the vibrations of sound go deep in her body and bones. I also utilized the bowls on her shins and feet for a period of time gonging and singing the bowls as I moved the bowl up and down her shins. After our session was completed the first thing she said was “I could feel my shins. I haven’t felt tingling or had feeling in them for a year.” She was almost in tears and had the most beautiful smile that reflected her emotion from the experience. The next session I spent more time on her shins and also introduced a gong. This time she had more feeling in her shins and could actually rotate her ankles. She still has more healing to do, however this is an example of how multiple healing modalities are working together to help her heal.
I also work with another client Amy in a similar way. Her pain she experiences is not from a physical issue but from a past trauma she experienced. Like Pat she came to me for reiki and heard about my sound healing as well. She responded extremely well to our reiki portion of the session, then I began using the bowls by placing them on her body. I used the counterclockwise singing of the bowl, which symbolizes release, on her sacral chakra and solar plexus chakra and she had a release of emotion she had not experienced before. She felt the vibration go deep into her body then a flood of negative emotions was brought up and out of her body through the bowl. She cried for a few minutes as I continued the process gonging other bowls geared to towards to her heart chakra at the note of F. I then changed my approach and changed the singing direction to clockwise which symbolizes a new beginning. She began to laugh and smile. I also gonged the other bowls that were associated with the solar plexus and sacral chakra to promote strength and healthy boundaries. I ended the session then focusing on the root chakra to ground her in her healing journey. She described the session like I broke through the glass wall with the sound frequency which allowed her to release what was being protected behind the wall. We continue to meet monthly to twice a month and each time she releases a little more. Each time she returns I check her energy field and have noticed a dramatic change as a result of her combined reiki and singing bowl sound healing sessions.
I have also been using singing bowls in my yoga classes with my students. I begin the class with meditation using the singing bowls. I guide my students in pranayama breathing then begin to have them visualize the vibration of sound and ask them to “see” where the sound resonates with them. I walk around the practice space gonging the bowl as sound will then fill the space and also behind the head of each student and move the bowl from ear to ear. This allows the students to quiet their minds and focus on breathing and the sound verses all other thoughts that tend to bubble up during a time of silence. I do the same process during the end of the practice for savasana. The feedback from the students is extremely positive. They love the bowls and how it makes them feel. They like to talk about it as a group after the class and hear how each experienced the sound and how it helped them to engage fully into their yoga practice. I will also bring out different bowls for the specific chakras we are working with for the practice. A example would be if it is a heart opening practice utilizing asanas to engaging the heart chakra I will bring out my Tibetan bowls with a note of F and also pair it with a crystal singing bowl in the same note as it brings a deeper tone and is tuned specifically for the chakra.
The use of sound as a healing has been traced back to ancient Greece where it was used to attempt to cure mental disorders. Sound has been used in cultures around the world as part of rituals, meditations, religion, therapy and enjoyment. Our bodies are drawn in by sound and will run from it when it is unpleasant. Sound healing has taught me how to truly hear and listen with my body. It has taught me how to deepen my connection with students and clients and has taught me how this gift can be used by all people, regardless of age, skill or physical abilities. Sound can be heard or felt through vibration and enjoyed by everyone. I would encourage you to take a moment of silence and gong a singing bowl. Listen to sound as it goes into silence and see how the sound resonates with you.
Kristina Karst, CRMT