Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Himalayan singing bowls and its application to Autism

written by Rita Gendelman

Most of you know me as an occupational therapist trained in the sensory processing approach and its applications with children on the spectrum. What you m
ay not know is that I am also somewhat of a creative explorer who likes to venture outside the box of my conventional training.

Recently I have been experimenting with different modalities, which allow me to enhance and expand the tools that I use when helping children with special needs to better process sensory information. This wonderful new tool, which is now part of my bag of tricks, is known as the Himalayan Singing bowl.

Traditionally, these Himalayan singing bowls have been used in sacred settings as part of a temple ritual in Eastern parts of the world. In New York, where I live, the precious bowls are used as part of Yoga, meditation practices, and creating music. I have discovered the power of the Himalayan Bowls during a workshop, which was dedicated to the art of music facilitated by these bowls. I was astounded at the incredible power and vibration emitted by these bowls feeling their intensity in every bone throughout my body. Additionally I felt an immediate connection with my core muscle (the abdominal muscles), considered to be the center of power in the many forms of eastern philosophy. As human beings, we rely upon these muscles in almost everything we do. The core muscles of our body play a large role in helping us maintain balance when we are moving or standing/sitting, as well as help us shift and adapt our posture according to the demands of the environment. When these muscles are weak, one fatigues very quickly, thus unable to complete the task or must take a longer period of time to complete it.

How does all of this relate to children with Autism you may ask? Here is how: most of the time these children are not in a balanced state. Either over-sensitive or under-sensitive to sensory stimulation, decreased balance, body awareness, weak core muscles, poor digestion etc., are often part of the problem. The powerful vibrations of the Himalayan bowls will activate all the foundational sensory systems (vestibular, proprioceptive, tactile) of the child's body and thus increase communication between the body and the brain. This will promote organization, focus, body awareness, and activate those powerful core muscles, which I discussed earlier. Also, the vibration of the Himalayan bowls is very stimulating for the digestive tract. As we all know, kids on the spectrum often experience digestive discomfort. These bowls, if you pick the one that emits a frequency that relates to the lower parts of the body (which correlate with the chakra systems in traditional Indian medicine) then you can address the intestinal areas and stimulate the elimination process.


A week ago I had a wonderful session with one of the special children I work with. I brought a large bowl to his house. We sat on the floor with his mom, the child and myself while I was playing the Himalayan bowl. At first it was a little difficult for him to sit quietly and listen to the sound however when I asked him to be part of the process everything shifted. I gave him a little wooden wand and his own small Himalayan singing bowl and asked him to play along. It was fantastic how much fun we had. He was first playing along and then we all started to take turns striking the bowl with the wand. His mom called me the next day and told me that he had the biggest bowel movements that night yet.

In conclusion I would like to leave you with this thought:
"Powerful vibrations are the stimulation the body needs to liberate movement and create natural flow within the body."

3 comments:

  1. Awesome.....always enjoyed being reminded of this when hearing the Beach Boys
    http://www.lyricsfreak.com/b/beach+boys/good+vibrations_20013757.html or the rendition while surfing the waves of life.... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0yoiBYbT2I

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  2. I read this blog a few days after I brought my Bowl into the play room... there are no such thing as coincidences...

    Thanks for sharing Rita

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