Now You Know: Tibetan singing bowl therapy

Mark Handler is a Tibetan Bowl Master and psychotherapist in Traverse City.

He uses ancient singing bowls from Tibet as a form of sound therapy.

"If western methodologies or techniques won't work, often times you can achieve benefits through sound that you might otherwise not get through traditional psychotherapy," Handler said.

Marcia Borell is one of Handler's clients whom he performs the singing bowl therapy with.

"I used to teach a toddler class, and I was going through a catalog and I found a little singing bowl," Borell said. "I ordered it and the first time I hit it, it sounded like angels singing."

Borell uses sound therapy as a form of relaxation and physical therapy.

"The best thing for me is I've got back issues and I've got hand issues," Borell said. "I'm an artist, so I use my hands all of the time and so as soon as I go into that relaxed mode, I can feel my hands kind of release, and I can feel my back release."

Handler said he specializes in bowl concerts, seminars, hands on work shops using instruments from Tibet, Peru, and India, and also trains people to use the instruments.

Handler's lifelong commitment to music began at the age of six while studying piano.

"I found, being born with severe asthma, that music was a real way of coping and dealing with it and had real healing elements to it," Handler said.

Though using the singing bowls is a form of therapy, Handler said it's not a substitute for conventional medicine.

"In any healthcare approach what you're doing is you're giving an extra boost to the body's internal wisdom for healing itself, and that's what you're doing in this particular approach," Handler said.

Borell said after the sound therapy session that the relaxation she gained from it was comparable to her doing yoga or a lot of stretching.

"The simplest way for any person to understand this approach, an analogy, it's kind of like a massage of sound," Handler said.

Borell said she also does the bowl sessions at home. She has 16 Tibetan singing bowls of her own.

"The bowls just make these wonderful bell-like sounds," Borell said. "As you hear them more and more, you just feel more and more relaxed, and you just close your eyes and take in the sound."

Handler is performing a Tibetan singing bowl concert Sept. 29, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. at Blooming Lotus Yoga and Wellness in Interlochen.

For more information about Tibetan singing bowls, singing bowl therapy, or upcoming concerts you can contact Mark Handler by email: , or reach him by phone at 231-275-6631.

You can also see videos of his Tibetan singing bowl concerts here.