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Crystal Clear 

Sound healing gives good vibes

Most people are familiar with meditation in the broadest sense—quieting one's mind through a particular discipline. The use of crystal bowls to create powerful sonic waves is less commonly known. But practitioners say it can be transformative.

And it has history. Though crystal bowl meditation became popular in the healing community in the 1980s, the practice of sound healing using bowls is believed to have ancient roots.

Practitioner Doug Cristafir, of Bend's Radiant Arts, describes a session of what he calls a "crystal bowl harmonic sound bath."

"In a quiet subdued atmosphere, while laying on a mat, people are invited to relax and let go," he explains. "We bring attendees into a state of calmness creating harmonic tones that can be gentle and rise to a full intensity of sound."

In his practice, Cristafir uses seven crystal bowls, four Tibetan metal bowls, and three crystal pyramids, played throughout a 45-minute session. The resulting harmonic vibrations—each bowl corresponds to the notes A through G on the musical scale—leave attendees feeling refreshed and cleared of anxieties in the way an intense yoga session might alleviate stress.

"While no healing claims are made," Cristafir is careful to disclaim, "some have claimed better sleep for a week, loss of a headache, flu symptoms ending, and no more chronic pain. Many have also shared experiencing other worldly visions, past life alignments, and a much clearer sense of whatever they have been working on within their lives at the time."

While no studies have been done to support these claims, ultimately, crystal bowl healing is virtually harmless. Unless, of course, you're one of the few people who simply doesn't like the sound of the "singing" bowls.

The notion that sound can be therapeutic is hardly novel. Most people use music to that end on a regular, if not daily basis. And while New Age-style treatments sometimes come with a side of dogma, Cristafir says crystal bowl healing offers a blank canvas.

"Our sessions are offered as an experiential process that helps one to feel more within their bodies," he explains. "We do not promote any specific perspective. We provide a space for someone to be present and to take with them whatever comes up during or after the session."

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