ROCKLAND, Maine — Lori LeBlanc learned early the healing power of sound. As a child growing up in Bridgeport, Conn., she often sang for patients in nursing homes.
“Singing lightened people’s hearts,” LeBlanc, 43, of Bremen said Friday.
Now a licensed massage therapist, she incorporates the capacity for sound to heal into her work using singing bowls from Nepal. The sound, produced by striking the different sized bowls with mallets covered in leather or felt, invites listeners to open their hearts, clear their minds and enter into a deep well of silence, according to LeBlanc.
She will give a concert using the bowls at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27, at the Rockland Public Library, 80 Union St.
LeBlanc began exploring alternative medicine and Buddhism when she experienced unexplained paralysis and severe pain in college. Her study of meditation and Buddhism led her to explore sound therapy.
Singing bowls date back to the time of the historical Buddha, who lived from 560 to 480 B.C. The tradition was brought from India to Tibet, along with the teachings of the Buddha, in the 8th century, according to Bodhisattva Trading Co., based in West Los Angeles, Calif.
Singing bowls are considered to be a quintessential aid to meditation and can be found on private Buddhist altars, and in temples, monasteries and meditation halls throughout the world. Tuned to the universal chord “om,” the sounds of the bells being struck with a mallet invoke a deep state of relaxation which naturally assists one in entering into meditation, the ultimate goal being enlightenment.
A metallurgical analysis done by the British Museum in London, showed that the instruments are made of a 12-metal alloy consisting of silver, nickel, copper, zinc, antimony, tin, lead, cobalt, bismuth, arsenic, cadmium and iron, according to the website. Although shaped like bowls, they are more akin to bells than any other musical instrument.
“Four of the bowls are used for balancing the body in spirit, mind, heart and chakra,” LeBlanc said. “For concerts, I add nine higher pitched, smaller bowls to the seven. The bowls I use are empty but you can put water in them, which changes the key.”
LeBlanc said people have described sessions and concerts using the bowls as “sound massages.”
“I think people who come to the concerts for the most part are very curious,” she said. “Part of what I share with people is that there isn’t any right or wrong way to experience it. It’s available for everyone, wherever they’re at. Some come for music and are surprised they feel so relaxed.”
In addition to the concert at the Rockland library, LeBlanc will perform at 6:30 p.m., Nov. 10, at the Camden Wellness Center, 69 Elm St.
For more information visit lori7bowls.com.