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I’ve been sick. One of those loooong lingering flu/cold/cough things that you think is gone until, boom, it’s not. For like a month now. Last week I got an actual allopathic doctor diagnosis–so validating: Viral Bronchitis. When I put it into my Facebook status update, people started making dinosaur jokes. So, I had Viral Bronchisaurus and was missing tons of work and feeling kind of scared because lungs aren’t supposed to hurt and they’re as important, as well, breathing.

So I launched a full-scale healing attack. It started with singing bowls. My practioner uses some Tibetan metal bowls and some made of translucent crystal. The idea is that when played, they help the body’s energy system vibrate at a higher, more balanced frequency–basically harmonizing your cells with the key of the bowls. I was a little skeptical, but it does make sense. We’re made mostly of water, and water conducts sound. So of course sound can change us. Singing bowls have been used in Tibetan Buddhist meditation and healing for centuries.

First I lied down on a comfy sofa and the practitioner placed two of the larger metal bowls on me–one on my congested chest, the other on my belly. He began playing them with leather-wrapped chunky sticks. An initial bong! and then he circled the rim like when you make music with your finger on a wine glass. One, then the other, then while those were still vibrating he moved to playing the crystal bowls on the floor. And back up to the ones on me, which he switched occasionally. So pretty soon the whole room was ringing and vibrating with a high-pitched cacophony that reminded me of Meredith Monk or Phillip Glass and howling wind in a tunnel. I kept trying to open my body to the sensation and my mind to the sounds. But honestly, I found it hugely annoying. Apparently I don’t like being bonged. And I don’t like the sound of bowls–too high; turns out I’m more of a drum gal.

I felt badly and there was no hiding it. But the therapist assured me that it would work even if I hated it. As I left, I did feel lighter in my chest. A little more open, a little more energy and strength. The next day my coughing cleared enough so I could actually speak whole sentences with breaking into a hacking fit. A major accomplishment.

I don’t completely understand how it works, and I’m not 100% healed, but I would do it again–with earplugs.

Have you ever been balanced with bowls? What was it like?

For a moment of Zen with a Tibetan Bowl, check this out.

And a semi-hilarious video demonstration of someone being healed with bowls. For the record, my practitioner wouldn’t be caught in tie-dye, ever.

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