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2 Unique Ways to Induce The "Acute Relaxation Response" - TSB & PMR




Tibetan singing bowls (TSB) are ancient and mystical musical instruments with a rich cultural heritage originating from Tibet and neighboring regions. These exquisite bowls are typically made from a unique blend of metals, including copper, brass, and sometimes even silver or gold. Their distinctive shape resembles a shallow, inverted bell, and they come in various sizes, each producing a unique tone and resonance. When struck gently with a mallet or rubbed along the rim with a wooden or felt-covered striker, these bowls emit enchanting and ethereal sounds characterized by a fundamental tone accompanied by a series of harmonious overtones. Beyond their musical allure, Tibetan singing bowls have a profound spiritual significance and are widely used in meditation, healing practices, and ceremonial rituals to induce relaxation, balance energy, and promote a sense of well-being and harmony. These captivating instruments continue to captivate and inspire people around the world with their mesmerizing vibrations and profound cultural symbolism.


Some suggest that Tibetan singing bowls possess the capacity to induce remarkable enhancements in various facets of well-being, including alleviating distress, anxiety, depression, fatigue, and tension. Moreover, these melodious vessels have been found to yield favorable effects on physiological parameters such as blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, peripheral capillary oxygen saturation, cutaneous conductance, and more.


Case Study:

Building upon this foundation, let's delve into a specific research study that aimed to explore the impact of either progressive muscle relaxation or Tibetan singing bowls on the acute relaxation response. The researchers articulated their primary objective as follows: to compare the potential acute relaxation response (RR) triggered by Tibetan singing bowl (TSB) sound-based therapy with Jacobson's progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) and a control waiting list group (CWL) among a cohort of young adults without clinical anxiety disorders. They also elucidated their rationale for employing heart rate variability (HRV) as a marker in their investigation. This choice stemmed from the understanding that a fundamental characteristic of RR acquisition involves an active parasympathetic nervous system capable of counterbalancing sympathetic activity, and HRV typically exhibits a positive correlation with parasympathetic tone.


So, what did their inquiry reveal? In summary, the researchers asserted that both Tibetan singing bowls and progressive muscle relaxation demonstrated the capacity to elicit the acute relaxation response within a single treatment session. However, the effect appeared more pronounced in the Tibetan singing bowl group. Specifically, Tibetan singing bowls engendered increases in HRV parameters associated with parasympathetic activation, accompanied by reductions in alpha band activity, which may signify a potential attenuation of heightened environmental vigilance, according to the researchers.


This underscores the notion that both progressive muscle relaxation and Tibetan singing bowl sound therapy sessions offer captivating avenues to facilitate the body's calming response and engage in the acute relaxation response. It is worth acknowledging that each individual may discover unique methods that resonate with them, but an awareness of research-supported tools can undeniably enhance one's repertoire of relaxation techniques.


Study:

Rio-Alamos, C., Montefusco-Siegmund, R., Cañete, T., Sotomayor, J., & Fernandez-Teruel, A. (2023). Acute Relaxation Response Induced by Tibetan Singing Bowl Sounds: A Randomized Controlled Trial. European journal of investigation in health, psychology and education, 13(2), 317–330. https://doi.org/10.3390/ejihpe13020024

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