On a sunny, unseasonably warm winter’s day, Lori LeBlanc unpacked the tools of her trade — seven bowls that look like burnished brass but were forged from seven metals. She placed them in a particular formation on a thin woven floor covering and invited a visitor to lie down, with eyes closed. Then she slowly began to strike the bowls in varying sequences. The metal vessels responded with bell-like tones that filled the room with shimmers of sound, a sonic wash that reached down to the bone.

“Some people say it’s like being massaged with sound,” LeBlanc said after the short demo session was over, its end signaled by the chiming of tiny tingshaw cymbals.

LeBlanc knows the value of that analogy, having earned a license in massage therapy, but the Tibetan singing bowls have become her healing tool of choice … and a calling. She has been introducing the Midcoast to the ancient practice since last summer, offering monthly concerts in Belfast, Camden and Rockland. Last month, she began teaching a Sunday morning singing bowls meditation class at Thomaston Yoga Studio and also started an ongoing healing circle that meets early Tuesday evenings at the Camden Yoga Barn.

LeBlanc finds yoga and dance studios offer the right kind of location for her Tibetan singing bowls, which reverberate best in an intimate space. The seven bowls, made in Nepal and originated in India, are relatively tuned to certain Western-scale pitches, although LeBlanc said only the large “A” bowl is truly right-on.

“According to the Tibetan system, the earth vibrates to ‘F,'” she said.

LeBlanc came to the bowls from a lifetime of music. She sang and played band instruments as a child, although she was tossed out of school band once the teacher realized she had been playing by ear and memory.

“For some reason, I just couldn’t learn how to read music, but sound has always been a big part of my life,” said LeBlanc, whose personal collection of sound-makers includes a didgeridoo, drums, flutes, bells, rattles and gongs.

In art school, LeBlanc began to have unexplained episodes of paralysis and pain that may be tied to traumas earlier in her life. She did not want to rely on medication and looked to alternative healing modalities including massage, chiropractic, acupuncture and biosonics, which uses sound energy via tuning forks. Because her partner has family in Maine and because she could study biosonics at the Polarity Realization Institute in South Portland, LeBlanc completed her degree at Portland Art School, now MECA, but pursued a career in alternative healing modalities instead of photography. She earned her LMT and became certified in Polarity Therapy and BioSonic Repatterning, beginning a private practice in Portland and Brunswick in 1994. A couple of years ago, though, she was beginning to question her path.

“I had come to a place in my own spiritual journey which raised questions like what truly was my role as a healer — does anything I do have any lasting benefits … I have always taken this responsibility very seriously and I am committed to being of true benefit,” she said.

LeBlanc and her partner sold their home and embarked on a road trip. During a stop in Boulder, Colo., LeBlanc went into a shop that carried Tibetan singing bowls. She was aware of them, as she had explored crystal singing bowls, but she did not own one. In that shop, she met someone who would change her life.

“I met a famous Nepalese bowl healer, though I didn’t know he was famous at the time. He invited me to spend time with him and to teach me what he knows,” she said.

LeBlanc spent several months studying with Shree Krishna Shahi, who teaches singing bowl therapy and sound healing around the world and who has met with President Bill Clinton and the Dalai Lama. In addition to imparting his knowledge about using sound to promote healing and relaxation and for meditation, Shahi insisted she share her knowledge, not just use it for her own healing.

“He said it must be a benefit for all,” LeBlanc said and since returning to Maine — she currently lives in Bremen — she has been exploring different ways to make the healing power of the bowls available to a wide variety of people.

Which is not to say LeBlanc has not received major benefit herself from the practice. The combination of vocal toning and striking and “singing” the bowls — the latter using a stick-like mallet around the rim to elicit piercingly pure tones — has given LeBlanc much physical relief.

“The proof for me is that it works! It’s a very powerful tool for healing,” she said.

In individual sessions, LeBlanc helps clients use this tool to meet their specific needs, whether it be for stress relief, dealing with chronic pain or any number of other challenges. She also has brought her bowls to the bedside of the dying, including her own grandmother.

“When loved ones are passing, it can be very powerful,” she said.

LeBlanc repeatedly refers to using the bowls as a tool and part of her practice is teaching people how to use this tool as a way they can meet their own needs. She said she has helped many people with serious illness, from cancer to back surgery to post traumatic stress disorder. The bowls also serve as a tool for meditation, which has long been shown to lower blood pressure and heart rate by inducing alpha waves in the brain. Getting to that beneficial state can take some work, but “the sound of the bowls helps bring you there; it eliminates the need to try by just doing it,” she said.

LeBlanc tries to eliminate worry during her concerts by explaining how the session will run and how it will start and end with the tingshaw. People need to know that ahead of time, she said, because most listen lying on the floor with their eyes closed.

“It’s so relaxing that even those who start off in chairs end up on the floor,” she said.

She asks for sliding scale donations for her concerts and is exploring offering reduced-fee Tibetan Singing Bowl Therapy Clinics in the future. She also is looking to start a group in prison. LeBlanc is a survivor of sexual abuse, rape and violence and although she said she no longer identifies with this label, she feels she has a lot to offer in this area for healing.

“I have learned what true freedom is — life after violence,” she said.

And she thinks she has found her true calling in the Tibetan singing bowls. After beginning work with them and with Shahi, she said she realized that it was not her commitment to healing that was awry, it was what she was doing to support it.

Balance is key to both the bowls’ power and the way LeBlanc uses them in her practice. She said there is real collaboration and commitment between her and those with whom she works.

“Working with the bowls creates a true partnership, a powerful commitment to restoring balance and well-being. I meet each person right were they are and so do the bowls,” she said.

These personal results can have global impact because “When we restore our inner peace, we can contribute to restoring world peace,” she said.

On Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 6:30 p.m., LeBlanc will offer a free talk and concert at Camden Public Library. For more information about her work, visit lori7bowls.com.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email to dernest@villagesoup.com.