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Using The Sound Of Tibetan Bowls For Healing

September 10, 2013 1:29 p.m.


Diane Mandel is California's only state certified Tibetan bowl practitioner and instructor. She runs the Tibetan Bowl Sound Healing School in Encinitas.

Peter Poole, is a former client of the Tibetan Bowl Sound Healing School who is now a student practicing sound healing.

Related Story: Using The Sound Of Tibetan Bowls For Healing


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

CAVANAUGH: Those of us who work in radio believe that sound can tell a story sometimes better than pictures can! My next guest sound also has the ability to heal. Diane Mandel teaches classes in sound/energy healing in Encinitas. A major part of it involves the sound of Tibetan bowls. Here's a sample.


CAVANAUGH: That's the sound of Tibetan bowls, and it was produced by Diane man dell. And Diane, I'm going to give you time to sit down and put on your hundred dollar phones. Welcome to our program! Thank you for that. What exactly did we just hear?

MANDEL: You heard a few triads of harmonic sound from an ancient modality, ancient Tibetan bowls that were created and tuned to the frequency of om, which is a frequency that represents universal perfection.

CAVANAUGH: Describe to our audience how you produce those sounds. What instruments do you use so to speak?

MANDEL: Well, I use a variety of different kinds of mallets, softer or harder. And I can strike the bowls or I can sing the bowls. And each bowl produces its own about five different levels of sound that the human ear can hear.

CAVANAUGH: What does sing the bowls mean?

MANDEL: It means going around the rim of the bowl, and producing a different kind of sound, which I wasn't able to do right then.

CAVANAUGH: Now, what are these bowls made of?

MANDEL: The ancient bowls that were made in -- on the borders of Tibet a long time ago before Tibet was invaded and the monasteries they were made in were desecrated, made out of seven metals that were gold, silver, iron from meteorite deposits, copper, lead, mercury, and one other that I can't remember right now.


CAVANAUGH: And these?

MANDEL: These are ancient, they're very, very old. The metallurgist would go out to the Himalayas, they would collect the different metals, smelt them, and pound them into shape and sound while the monks were chanting mantras and blessings into them. So the ancient bowls were all handmade, and they have this inheritance of these mantras and blessings. Then the bowls were used in rituals and ceremonies.

CAVANAUGH: Now, Diane, the practice is described as the ancient art of sound healing. How does it work? &%F0

MANDEL: It works through something called brain wave entertainment. That's happening, there are many different things that happen. Part of it works, it's just magic!


MANDEL: That's part of it. But the more scientific explanation is the brain waves are entertaining to the frequencies of these these instruments. Then the brain waves are aligning to that frequency of om, and they're producing what's called cardiorespiratory syncrasy, which means the brain waves and the heart rate, and the respiratory rate are beginning to dance together. And healing is predicate said on the ability for the body to reach that kind of vibrational harmony.

CAVANAUGH: I'm wondering, the sounds I believe can be individualized to match the energy of the person that you're healing or working with; is that right?

MANDEL: No, it's the opposite.

CAVANAUGH: The opposite!


MANDEL: It is the sound of sometimes, for example, I might use a bowl on someone -- I'll put them in a private session, I'll put them on the chakras and all around the body. And maybe one of them, I won't be able to sing it, or when I strike it, it goes dead. And it is that the bowls are actually reflecting the sounds and frequency in the body, and that's how I can tell individually and together like little separate ions, like a whole continent, what is resonating and what is in harmony, and what is out of alignment in the body.

CAVANAUGH: Are there different harmonics that you use for people who are suffering from different ailments?

MANDEL: It's not the harmonics that I use differently, it is the way that I play. I'm working with patterns of sacred geometry, and I'm moving energy up the body, down in, I'm supporting a certain area of the body or relieving a certain area of the body. So I'm bringing in, moving around or taking out, reducing energies. And it's more the sound, the actually harmonics of the bowls are really beautiful, and how they work together will shift a little bit. But it's not that I'm match the harmonics to the body, I'm listening to the body through the Harmon Monicks.


CAVANAUGH: In a practice, do the bowls always have to be on the people or just in the room?

MANDEL: Both. I do concerts nationally, and so there are 50 people who can be there, and I'm engaging the energy in the room at that point. And I'm playing. Sometimes I'll get into a room, and the bowls don't want to be in harmony with each other, and I need to work on that. But it's different. When I'm working individually, I'm also using visualization and working very specifically with that one person's issues.

CAVANAUGH: Right now, Peter Poole is on the line with us. He's had treatments or he's had sessions with Diane using the Tibetan bowl sounds therapy. And welcome to the program!

POOLE: It's good to be here.

CAVANAUGH: Now, I'm wondering if you could testimony us what attracted you to sound healing. What were you hoping to get from it?

POOLE: Well, first of all, I've just always been interested in that part of the world and Tibet. And with a Google search I did, I saw the words Tibetan healing bowls. I had never heard of this. And I thought I've just got to find out what that is! So the idea of receiving something from these ancient bowls that would open up certain potentialities, I really just wanted to experience it.

CAVANAUGH: And what was your experience like?

POOLE: It was really like nothing else that I had experienced before. I think in the first session, Diane placed a number of bowls both around my body, and on some places of my torso and hands. And the session probably took about -- the sound part of the session probably took about 40 minutes or so. And I could feel the sounds reverberating within my body. And I could compare it to perhaps how we feel emotions in different places of our bodies. But these sounds were going in and having an effect. By the end of the session, I felt so energized and yet calm, I felt like I was in the center of a sphere of energy that my body was part of. It was just this shimmering energy. It was really an amazing sort of expanded experience.

CAVANAUGH: Thank you for that very well spoken firsthand account! I really appreciate you taking part in this. Thank you.

POOLE: You're welcome.

CAVANAUGH: Now, Diane, I'm wondering is there any clinical scientific evidence that indicates that sounds, the sounds created by these bowls, or by the other objects that you use, that sounds can work to heal?

MANDEL: There are a lot more and more. One of the major proponents of this modality is doctor Mitchell Gainer who is the director of medical oncology at the String cancer center. And he's been using these, and he's done blind studies with them. In one of the blind studies, he found that the people that he worked with with these instruments with sound, and he also works with toning, and some other sound modality, but primarily with these, there was a 50% faster recovery rate from the effects of chemotherapy. And he's got a book, the healing power of sound. There are lots and lots more studies that are coming out.

CAVANAUGH: And I believe what you say is it's really that you're not introducing anything, you're just allowing the body to respond to these sounds in a positive and healing way.

MANDEL: In a really simple way of stating it, within the body is everything we need to heal. What the bowls are doing, they're gently nudging us back to the awakening of our natural vibratory state, which is a very wonderful, blissful place. And it's helping to get rid of what I would call all the illusionary, you know, the stories and the pain and all of that stuff. It's getting us back to a visceral -- not just a cognitive memory, but the visceral memory of wholeness.

CAVANAUGH: Tell me if you can, if I were to propose that this room that we're in is full of stress, and you wanted to use the bowls to perhaps mitigate that or to change that, could you play us something that might counteract the stress that we are feeling now?

MANDEL: I would use another instrument to begin with what you call a tingshas, and that's an instrument that awakens dormant energy. A lot of people where stress is there, it's something not only that's come in, are but it's something that's forgotten like our peace is forgotten. And yes, it's possible.

CAVANAUGH: Would you do that now?

MANDEL: Oh, sure!


CAVANAUGH: And once again, Diane is walking over to the Tibetan bowls, Diane man dell, who works with sound therapy in Encinitas.

(Audio Recording Played)



CAVANAUGH: Diane just brought over a Tibetan bowl and put it very close to me. The vibration is just amazing. And I wanted to ask you, just in closing, where people can find out more about this.

MANDEL: Oh, yes, they can find out more, thank you for asking. I have a couple of websites,, or if you're interested in learning, it's And I'm leaving on a national tour on Saturday. And the event page on either of those.

CAVANAUGH: Thank you so much for coming in and doing this. I really made you work for a living today! Thank you so much.

MANDEL: My pleasure.