Here I will share with you what I know about these awesome bowls from my own personal experience and from a bit of reading and this will be enough for you and your partner or other birth support person to be able to use your bowl in a safe and effective way during your SoundBirth.
History of Bowls making Sounds!
Have you seen and heard those metal Tibetan singing bowls? The Tibetan monks created these bowls centuries ago to be used for healing, ritual and practical purposes. They are made from a combination of 7 different metals (gold, silver, nickel, copper, zinc, antimony and iron) and played either by tapping the side of the bowl with a wooden mallet or moving the mallet around the edge of the bowl (like you do when playing music with your wine glasses!).
By the way … I use top quality Tibetan Singing Bowls from Germany (but made the traditional way from top quality metals) when I give people a “Sound Massage”. Click here to find out more! If you haven’t experience a sound massage yet stick it on your list of nurturing things to do for yourself!
Where Did the Idea of Crystal Singing Bowls Come From?
The crystal singing bowls were stumbled upon while the computer industry was making silicon computer chips in the 1980s! They used these bowls to grow pure silicon chips for their computers. If the bowls were not perfect enough they were thrown into the bin! One day while a bowl was being chucked out someone recognised that it made a beautiful sound! And here is where the crystal singing bowl was born … near the trash bin!
What are They Made From and How and They Made?
Crystal singing bowls are basically reconstituted quartz crystal. They are made from a sand-like substance called silica which is pure quartz in nature. It is very pure, the same sand that is used in making fibre optic glass. The sand is placed into a spinning mould and heated at temperatures that reach approximately 4000 degrees centigrade. This process melts the silica and creates the solid crystal singing bowl.
Different Sizes and Pitches
They come in a variety of sizes from 8 inch in diameter to 24 Inch. The smaller size creates the higher pitch and larger the lower pitch. I have chosen the perfect size and pitch for having a SoundBirth so you don't need to worry about this. It is not too small (we don't want you making high pitched sounds during labour). It's not too big (someone might need to carry it to hospital for you and they get rather heavey if too big!). It's just the right pitch (not too high, not too low...JUST RIGHT!)
The Healing Qualities
Here’s a fact for you that you might find interesting! It has been found that because crystal singing bowls are made from 99.99% quartz crystal they have a greater effect on the human body than any other instrument. Apparently this is because our body has a natural affinity to quartz as it is composed of many crystalline substances – the bones, blood, DNA and the liquid–colloidal structure of the brain. Even our cells contain silica balancing our electromagnetic energies and have the same formula as natural quartz crystal.
Ted Andrews explains this in Crystal Balls & Crystal Bowls,
“The electrical aspects of the quartz emanations trigger strong responses within the crystalline structures and patterns of the human body…”
Mitchel Gaynor MD from The Healing Power of Sound has found that when toning with a crystal singing bowl,
“the sounds permeate our systems, resonating with our essence, so that inner chaos, conflict and dissonance seem almost immediately to be transformed into harmony.”
This is the reason why they are used now for healing and transformation by many sound therapists around the world.
Uses and Benefits
“The intention behind the sound is of extreme importance. It may, in fact, be as important as the actual sounds that are created". Jonathon Goldman, Healing Sounds: The Power of Harmonics
Jonathon Goldman also came up with this equation which I use a lot in my other programs (Sound Nutrition) and in my life!
Frequency + Intention = Healing
Vocalisation + Visualisation = Manifestation
Something else for you to think about and maybe try out for yourself!
Crystal Singing Bowls symbolise the creation of “new life”. The bowl represents the feminine energy, the “womb”, the “Great Mother”. The wand is the masculine, the “Father”, the activating or releasing force. The magnificent sound they co-create when joined together is the birth of “sacred sound”.
How beautiful it is then to have this sound supporting a woman as she births the baby that she, the feminine and he, the masculine have co-created!
That's all I know so far about these bowls! If you know anything else that you would like to share please do so in the comments!
This is what I wrote when planning my SoundBirth Presentation for the Australian Homebirth Conference in March 2016. I'm sharing this for those who couldn't be there. Enjoy :)
I LOVE entrainment! The one and only scientific term that I LOVE!
Since I started reading about entrainment, I can see it working everywhere! And can see how important it is to know about it when it comes to giving birth and being a Mother.
What is Entrainment?
In 1666 Dutch physicist Christian Huygens, the inventor of the pendulum clock noticed that the pendulums of 2 clocks mounted on the same wall had synchronised! This was the birth of the term “entrainment”.
“Entrainment involves the ability of the more powerful rhythmic vibrations of one object to change the less powerful rhythmic vibrations of another object and cause them to synchronise their rhythms with the first object. Through sound it is possible to change the rhythms of our brainwaves, as well as our heart beat and respiration.”
Jonathon Goldman, Resonant Sounds
Examples of Entrainment:
How Does Entrainment Affect YOU Before, During and After the Birth?
“When we utilize singing bowls or practice toning, the fine, harmonious vibration instantly entrains us to the frequency of our own essence.” Dr Mitchell Gaynor
Here are some examples:
Brain Waves / Sound Waves, Same Thing!
I was SO excited when I realised that that brainwaves and sound waves are both measured in cycles per second or hertz. Here is why!
Because of "entrainment", sound waves move or pull or drag our brainwaves into different states of consciousness. As Jonathon Goldman points out above, "they change the rhythms of our brainwaves, heart beat and respiration". This on it's own has huge implications! When aware of this you can start using sound in your life to alter your own state of consciousness depending on what you are needing at the time....Thinking? Doing? Sleeping? Meditating? Birthing?
Here are the four main brain wave states:
If you want to know more about the Science of Sound watch the videos or read any of these books below:
Shh Sound Health in 8 Steps...
The 4 Ways Sound Affect Us ...
Good Vibrations: The Scienc...
The Power of Sound – Jonathon Goldman
Healing at the Speed of Sound – Don Campbell
The Mozart Effect – Don Campbell
And be aware of how your brain is being entrained from now on!
This picture is of my daughter who was 10 at the time playing my bowl at my Blessingway ceremony. She also played the bowl while I was in labour with my fourth baby. She took turns with my other daughter who was 8, my Mum, my husband and my back-up midwife. If a 10 year old can do it so can you!! (or your partner or mother or older child or midwife...)
It is important for both the partner and any other support person to know how to play a crystal singing bowl so that there can always be someone there playing the bowl for you (the birthing woman) during each contraction. After all, if the sound of the bowl does indeed become the woman's favourite birthing ritual someone will NEED to be playing that bowl ... believe me!
Make sure your partner practices playing the bowl whenever he / she has a chance BEFORE the birth. It’s NOT a difficult instrument to play but it is important to feel comfortable playing it and for them to get your feedback on how loud or soft you like it.
Here are some guidelines:
That's all for now!
Share this with your birth support team and give them a go at playing the bowl so they know they can make it resonate and can control the volume.
If you would like to have a SoundBirth I'd be happy to teach you and your birth team everything I know in a private session whenever you are ready!
When you are a Mum with a baby sometimes it's nice to have a bag of tricks up your sleeve that will save your sanity! Here are some of the tools that helped me over the years.
Making up your own bag BEFORE your baby arrives is a good idea but if baby has arrived already it's never too late! This would also be a great gift to give your pregnant friend!
1. A Journal
This is (mostly) your GRATITUDE journal. You may be wondering what this has got to do with sound. Well, I have added it because I know from my own experience that if I don’t feel grateful. I feel “crapful” and won’t feel like doing anything joyful like playing with sound, or anything else for that matter! So, to start with one needs to feel grateful which basically puts you into a better mood.
When you have a baby, life can feel a bit boring or tedious sometimes BUT if you start looking for things to feel grateful for your life will go from tedious to marvellous! Miracles happen ALL the time, such as; You turn the tap on in the shower and warm water instantly comes out and pours all over your tired body washing the day (and baby spew) away…Your husband texts you to see if you need anything from the shops on the way home and he brings home everything you have asked for… You are able to download a book instantly and read a few pages of it while baby was sleeping! You have money to pay for the shopping in your trolley! The sun came out and warmed you up on a cold day! You hear the birds singing beautifully as you are trying settle your screaming baby while taking her for a walk outside.
See? It's pretty easy to find 3 things to be grateful for! The best thing is that when you start noticing these little miracles, more miracles seem to happen… because you take the time to NOTICE them!
I recommend writing down at least 3 things you are grateful for in your journal each day. I usually do this at the end of the day before I go to bed.
You can also use your journal to answer these reflective questions:
This is the first object for your “musical objects” game, where you sing songs that relate to the object. Your baby or toddler can take a lucky dip from the bag or choose a favourite toy - then you sing together a song that relates.
For a mouse, you might sing “Three Blind Mice” or “Hickory Dickory Dock.”
Duck – “Six Little Ducks Went Out One Day”
Frog - “Der Glumph Went the Little Green Frog One Day”
Star – “Twinkle Twinkle”
You will probably think of more songs for these objects and will find more objects to add to your collection. Objects can be found at discount stores or just around the house. Make sure the objects are safe for baby/toddler to play with and supervise at all times.
OMG have we had fun with scarves over the years! We have a large rainbow one in the “dancing room” that we play with, along with a box full of smaller coloured scarves.
There are SO many ways to play with a scarf. My favourite is just putting on some music (classical music is great for this because you get a variety of tempos…fast and slow and everything in between!) and challenge yourself to find as many different ways to move the scarf around as possible!
Babies LOVE watching the scarf float up and down over their head and feeling it gently touch their skin. Hours of entertainment! (well, a few minutes at least!).
Musical Instruments Like an Egg Shaker
There are many instruments you could pop into your SoundPlay bag ... but an egg shaker is the perfect little instrument to start your musical instrument collection! You can find these at your local music shop for sure!
Put on some music and shake the egg shaker along with the music or just explore with your baby the many different ways you can shake and roll your egg.
Remember to choose quality instruments when you add to your collection. Before you buy ask yourself, “Would I enjoy exploring and listening to this?” Plastic instruments don’t break and are colourful BUT they also sound like plastic! Kids deserve and need quality sounds too!
Sound Making at Home
There are many things you can make music with around the home. My babies loved playing with a 30cm piece of plastic chain that I bought from the hardware shop. It rattled beautifully and they enjoyed the feeling of it in their hands ... and mouth...
You will come across all kinds of objects that your baby/ toddler will like purely because it sounds good. For example, cellophane paper crinkles beautifully and pots and pans make cool banging sounds. You can also make things like a mobile with things that jingle hanging from it or shakers made out of a plastic bottle with rice or lentils inside it (make sure lid is secure before handing it to your baby).
Use your imagination and pay attention to the sounds that can be made out of everyday objects that entice your baby’s curiosity!
Other Treasures You Could Add
Use your imagination when you are finding more treasures to include in your SoundPlay Bag and have fun! Other treasures to include in your SoundPlay Bag are;
Put on some music and tap it around where baby can see it moving. Watch him/her tracking the balloon. They LOVE watching the movement and colour!
Put on music outside if possible or loud enough so you can hear it outside and blow bubbles! Notice how much better you feel when watching bubbles floating everywhere! I don’t think it’s possible to feel crappy when blowing bubbles! Unless one pops in your eye! Watch out for baby’s eyes too by the way.
Bells on a bracelet
Jingle bells attached to a soft band/hair tie/bracelet can be worn on the wrist or ankle and make for great dancing.
Twirling ribbons like those used in rhythmic gymnastics (but smaller) are also wonderful for movement to music.
These are great for using in children’s songs and can be made as simply as sticking a cardboard figure to a popstick or using felt.
That's all! If you have anymore ideas I'd LOVE to know about them!
It is very common for women in labour to find a ritual that helps them to cope during those birthy contractions. These rituals become their “THING” that NEEDS to be there for them every single time!!! And if it’s not there they can be triggered into feeling anxious, abandoned and even pissed off! So look out!
Here are some examples of birthing rituals:
Using SOUND as a Birthing Ritual
During my last 2 labours I NEEDED the sound of the bowl during each contraction. It became my birthing ritual. And if that sound wasn’t there and playing in time with my birthy rhythm I noticed I felt anxious about making sounds with my voice, abandoned by my support crew and slightly pissed off about it!
I didn’t make a big deal about it. I just noticed these feelings arise within me. And I want to let you know about this because for those people supporting a woman during labour it is important to firstly NOTICE the ritual that is arising for that woman and then SUPPORT her to continue having that ritual available to her.
For example, if the ritual is to lean forward onto a birthing ball you make sure that ball is there. Or if counting up to 20 with you becomes her thing then you’d better make sure you are there to count up to 20! Or if she likes to be held and rocked then go hold her and start rocking! Or if she loves vocalizing with the sound of a crystal singing bowl then you had better be there at your bowl creating that sound for her!
A Common Question:
I am often asked by doulas this question:
“So how do I ensure the bowl is played when there are SO many other support tools that I should be doing?”
This is a totally valid and great question! After all, doulas have been trained on how to support birthing women in SO many beautiful ways! It can be a bit overwhelming for them! And now I’m adding ANOTHER tool to their list!
Seriously … how can one person play a bowl AND give massages AND hold their hands AND talk them through a contraction AND heat up heat packs AND use a Robozo ... and the list goes on ... and on ...
My answer to this one is:
Birth situations are SO varied…and mostly always totally not what you expected them to be. So THE MOST IMPORTANT thing is to BE PRESENT and to PAY ATTENTION to what is needed in that moment. If you trust that you can do this then all of your inspired actions will flow from this space.
And follow your impulses!
Back to Birthy Rituals
So what I suggest is this:
1. Introduce your crystal singing bowl and the benefits of having a SoundBirth when you meet your pregnant woman.
2. Introduce the sound of the bowl during a contraction … especially if you feel your woman is holding back her voice, needing to let go, feeling a bit shy, needing to create sacred space and privacy, or if she just want to give it a go!
3. Then notice what happens. Is she letting go more with her voice? Is she asking for the bowl? Does she seem more relaxed? If you feel this has become her ritual then just continue playing the bowl for her during each contraction (or surge…whatever you like to call it). If you notice she is asking for touch or rocking or the ball and not needing the bowl then go with that for a while. You will know if she misses that bowl sound or not soon enough! She will tell you!
Adding SoundBirth to your birthy tool kit doesn’t mean you will use it every time with every woman during the entire labour. It just means you will be able to OFFER it and USE it if your woman is ENJOYING and LOVING the SOUND RITUAL.
I hope this has helped! Please let me know if you have any questions so I can write MORE blog posts about SoundBirth for you.
The idea of creating "SoundBirth Practitioners" was born when some of the pregnant women I was talking to about SoundBirth were asking me if someone else could play the bowl for them because a) their partner didn't want to play the bowl for whatever reason; b) the woman preferred her partner to be doing other things like holding her hand or giving her a massage or c) the couple didn't want to purchase a crystal singing bowl.
I also found that birth professionals and sound therapists were interested in adding this tool to their birth bag full of tricks so I decided to go ahead and create a SoundBirth Practitioner Training.
Some of the Soundbirth Practitioners have more of a birth background and some have more of a sound background which they will share with you on my website (when I get around to doing this!). But either way they have all been trained by myself either in person or online so they know how to support you using their voice and a crystal singing bowl!
What are the Main Benefits of Hiring a SoundBirth Practitioner?
What SoundBirth Practitioners Will Not Do?
1. SoundBirth Practitioners are not required to give advice about any birth decisions. This is up to you and your chosen midwife and/or obstetrician.
2. SoundBirth Practitioners won't be giving you massages or using other birth techniques while they are in the role of "SoundBirth Practitioner". They will be too busy playing the the bowl for you. Plus some of them are not trained birth professionals.
So there you go!
If you would like to be put in touch with a SoundBirth Practitioner in your area the best way at the moment is to email me!
If you would like to become a SoundBirth Practitioner then here is the link to the online training!
BEFORE I CLAIMED ANY SPACE
14 years ago I was a bit of a lost soul … I had just quit university, I didn’t have a job, I didn’t like where I was living, and I didn’t have a sense of what was next in my life.
I met this guy called Steve at a personal development–type workshop and was invited to stay at his new house in the hills as a border/cleaning lady until I worked out what to do next. After I eventually said yes I bravely jumped into his car and he drove me to his house in the hills.
I was kind of expecting a wooden house with floorboards and a cozy fire or something … the kind of house I would expect to live in if I built a house in the hills. But it was one of those new modern houses. It was BIG. Tiles. Marble kitchen bench. NEW. The furniture was very bachelor-like and way too formal for me. There were no paintings on the walls. I wasn’t used to big and new. This was Steve’s house for sure.
CLAIMING MY SPACE ... BIT BY BIT
14 years later and I am STILL here in the house in the hills! Married to Steve with 4 daughters and a dog. How did that happen!!! Anyway… I am STILL claiming my space! I never felt at home in this house. I never felt like it was mine too … even after being married and having what sometimes seems like 100 children! But now I ALMOST feel at home. How have I done this? Here are some of the ways I have made Steve’s house feel like mine too:
There are still more physical things I want to do with this house like rip out the carpets and put wooden floor boards in and put a fireplace somewhere to keep the house warm and cozy and build a “sound nutrition” room upstairs just for me and my bowls! But everything takes time and money…right? Bit by bit. Doing the physical stuff has really made a difference.
But the physical stuff you can SEE isn't EVERYTHING!!!
THE MORE EFFICIENT WAY TO CLAIM MY SPACE!
I have recently experienced a simple yet powerful way I can claim my space without having to buy furniture or add fireplaces or wait for 14 years! It actually only takes a few seconds to transform a room/house into a space that feels like MINE. That nurtures me. That makes me feel safe and cozy. That makes me feel alive again! And it's almost FREE!
Here's my secret!
I PLAY MUSIC I LOVE TO LISTEN TO!
That’s it! Simple!
I turn off The Wiggles!
I turn off the Top 20!
I turn off the TV!
And I turn on music that I love and have loved in the past.
I choose music:
NICOLE THE DOOR MAT
I have found that over the years of having kids I have listened to The Wiggles and PlaySchool WAY too many times to keep the little ones happy ... and now I let the big kids listen to the top 20 over and over again … but hey … what about me? If you succumb like I have to your kids music choices all the time (or your husband’s music choices for that matter) just to "KEEP THE PEACE" and "NOT ROCK THE BOAT" then see what happens and how you FEEL when you decide to choose music YOU LOVE … and turn it up LOUD! Notice what happens to your space. Notice how you FEEL.
Whether you are outside, in the car, at home, in hospital giving birth MUSIC and quality SOUND is THE tool to transform any space into a sanctuary. Into YOUR space.
DO IT BECAUSE YOU ARE WORTH IT!
Why is it important to claim your space? Because you are a woman. Because you deserve it. Because you are TOTALLY WORTH IT. Because when YOU feel good, everyone around you will benefit! (which is a good point when you are a Mum ... believe me!)
So, what’s your favourite music? Quick … go find it, put it on and turn it up loud!
P.S. And WHO CARES what everyone around you thinks, says or does! They'll cope! They may even enjoy watching you come ALIVE!
I had a thought this morning that I wanted to share with you!
I know that I SO often put myself down about how I parent, about the choices I make, about what I haven’t done today etc … You know the story! But then when I DO look at the great stuff I say and do for my kids I can see how friggen lucky they are that they have me as their Mother! So I thought that I could write a letter from them to me! You know…a pretend letter! I’m not going to wait for THEM to write to me after all! It might NEVER happen!!!
And why would I do this? To stroke my ego? To make them feel like they owe me? NO and NO! Rather it's to make my mind focus on all the awesomeness that I am rather than all the yuckiness that I sometimes am! And why is this important? Because when I feel good about myself I AM a better Mum! I have a better day! And my kids are calmer, feel safer, whinge less and feel happier! Totally worth it right?
So here we go!
Thank you for being my Mum.
Thank you for wiping my bum. (I just wrote that coz it rhymes ... and is true of course)
Thank you for choosing to speak to me kindly, when really you wanted to yell really loudly!
Thank you for giving me fun activities to do, when really you wanted to do what YOU wanted to do.
Thank you for birthing me gently into the world, so my first experience of life was one that makes me feel safe and secure and happy to be here.
Thank you for not making me go to school when you knew that all I wanted to was to hang out with you!
Thank you for taking me on holidays, so that I could grow up with fun and happy memories!
Thank you for giving me chocolate and lollies, when you wished that I loved green smoothies and carrots.
Thank you for planting flowers in the garden, so that I could admire them and pick them for you.
Thank you for buying us a big goofy dog, so that I could experience loving an animal.
Thank you for giving me boobies mostly whenever I wanted, so that I could experience having my needs taken care of.
Thank you for cuddling me close at nighttime, so I could feel safe and sleep soundly.
Thank you for keeping our house tidy and clean (most of the time) so I could play in it safely and find my toys and not get sick!
Thank you for trusting me enough to let me learn in my own way, in my own time.
Thank you for choosing Daddy to be your husband so that I could experience having a solid, grounded male presence in my life.
Thank you for never leaving me for good, when I knew you were exhausted and frustrated and tired.
Thank you for being YOU (hippy, warts and all) because without you I wouldn’t be me!
Your letter will look different to mine of course because we all give of ourselves in our own special ways. Just ask yourself questions like:
See? You deserve a massive pat on the back and 1000 Billion gold medals! And no more criticising yourself OK?!? Because that in itself is what turns us into Mummy Monsters! Scary! Especially for our kids!
So I challenge you to spend a few minutes writing a gratitude letter to yourself from you kids in the next 24 hours! Do it! You’ll feel like the Mother of the Year!
Nicole Lloyd B(Mus) is a mother of four girls and creator of SoundBirth. Here she shares her experiences using sound before, during and after the birth and anything else about sound or birth that she feels like writing about!