VIDEO | Try a virtual sound therapy session to block out the noise in your life

By Becky Nystedt |

Sound healing may be just what you need to add some harmony to your life. Sound healing, or sound therapy, is practiced through meditating with deep repetitive rhythms, vibrations, and a colorful palate of tones that can help the mind and body. In the videos below, enjoy virtual sound therapy sessions with percussionist and sound therapist Kenny Kolter.

Tibetan bowl meditation

Tibetan bowls, also referred to as “singing bowls,” are a type of bell that rest on a hard surface as they are played. When a bowl is struck, vibrations occur on the rim of the bowl that release a single tone than can generate several harmonic overtones. Singing bowls are made from a combination of several metals, primarily bronze, and begin as molten discs that are hammered into concave shapes. Bowls can be made into different shapes and sizes which impact the sounds they can produce.

  • Thadobati bowls usually have hammer marks on the outside of the bowl and tend to have a flat rim and circular markings on the inner base.

  • Naga bowls, or pedestal bowls, have a round bottom and connected base. Since the base can be gripped, the sound from a naga bowl can easily be manipulated as it’s turned.

  • Manipuri style bowls come in all sizes. A visual characteristic of a Manipuri bowl is that it flares up and flares out like a salad bowl. Though this bowl is smaller, it has a big voice.

  • Jambati bowls have visible hammer marks which remind us that the bowls are handmade, and tend to be large and heavier

Remuna bowls bow out in the base and are concave, and are similar to thadobati bowls in shape and tone.

Drum meditation

Frame drums, which have been used around the world for thousands of years, are also commonly used in modern sound therapy sessions. Frame drums are any type of drum in which the head of the drum is wider than it is deep. Frame drums can be single sided, like the Irish bodhrán, or double sized, like the Tibetan dhyāngro. In many cultures, frame drums are used to quiet the mind, particularly during ceremonies. “The idea is that listening to a simple rhythm helps our minds to relax,” Kolter said.

“I particularly like this drum because it’s so full-bodied and there’s a lot of resonance. One of the fundamentals of Shamanism is using a drum in an easy, repetitive, rhythmic manner…it helps us divorce ourselves from our normal thought patterns.” Let the rhythms of the frame drum help you relax as Kolter plays in the video below.

Gong meditation

People have been using gongs for thousands of years in ceremony, meditation, and prayer. The gong is typically made from bronze, brass, or silver, and is played by striking a hanging circular-shaped disc with mallets. Though some might assume the gong produces only a single sound, Kolter reminds us, “You’d really be amazed at the vast sonic palette that resides within the instrument.” Below, quiet your mind as Kolter plays a type of gong called a tam-tam, made from silver and nickel.