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More MS news articles for May 2003

Bowls' gentle hum soothes nerves

Workshops to teach use of Tibetan healing art,1426,MCA_448_1972854,00.html

May 22, 2003
By Lela Garlington
The Commercial Appeal

When he can't block out his mind clutter, Kevin Fowler hits the bowls.

In what some may see as New Age, Fowler practices sound massage by using Tibetan singing bowls.

It's far from new, however. The bowls originated in 1100 BC and have been used by Tibetan monks for spiritual purposes for centuries.

To acquaint others with the concept, Fowler is holding the first of several two-hour workshops where participants can learn how to play the bowls.

Recently, Fowler demonstrated how the bowl sings. Cupping the hand-hammered bowl in his left palm, he gently rubbed the rim with a soft leather-tipped mallet in a slow, methodical motion.

Played incorrectly with too much pressure or speed, a bowl can screech or rattle.

When the mind is in overdrive with the daily discourse of "coulda, woulda, shoulda," the energy and soothing sounds of the bowls ease the mind, said Fowler, 51.

"The vibrational energy of the bowl can override thought activity," he explained.

"It enhances a more meditative state."

As a commercial scientist who also makes handmade Buckeye Hollow soaps, Fowler found his first two bowls in his hometown of Atlanta in 1992. Eight years later, he held his first workshop.

What intrigued him was the scientific effect the bowls' humming or rhythmic tones have on the body. He has won over several converts.

Former massage therapist Tammy Jo O'Neal, 39, took his workshop about two years ago to combat multiple sclerosis that sometimes leaves her with numbness, pain and the inability to walk.

"Stress is the major influence that gives me trouble," said O'Neal, a cook at One Love, the organic and vegan cafe inside the Mid-Town Food Co-Op.

To help prevent an MS attack, she plays her bowl two or three times a week.

"All of our organs resonate at a certain tone," O'Neal said "As you play, it helps bring balance back to those organs that are out of balance."

The Tibetan Singing Bowl workshop will be at the Massage Institute of Memphis at 3445 Poplar across from Highland Quartet at 7-9 p.m. Wednesday. It costs $20. For information: 324-4411.

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