Have you felt drawn to the calming tones of Tibetan singing bowls? These ancient instruments produce soothing vibrations that can help relieve stress and foster deep relaxation. As a sound healer, I’ve witnessed the powerful effects of singing bowls on the mind and body.
If you’re looking to experience the benefits of sound therapy, a singing bowl is a wonderful tool to have. But with so many options available, how do you choose a singing bowl that’s right for you? Let’s uncover more in this blog post on how to select and play a Tibetan singing bowl for healing.
Do you have a specific interest in choosing a singing bowl for healing and learning how to use it? Then use the table of contents below to jump to the most relevant section. And you can always go back by clicking on the black arrow in the right bottom corner of the page. Also, please note that some of the links in this article may be affiliate links. For more details, check the Disclosure section at the bottom of the page.
Here's what we'll cover:
- What are Singing Bowls? Are there any benefits?
- Types of Tibetan singing bowls
- What Can Different Singing Bowls Do?
- How to Choose a Singing Bowl?
- What is sound and vibration healing from the Tibetan bowl?
- Techniques for using your Tibetan bowls
- How to take care of singing bowls?
- What are some common contraindications for sound healing?
- Where to learn more about singing bowls?
What are Singing Bowls? Are there any benefits?
Tibetan singing bowls are metal bowls that ring and reverberate when struck with a mallet. They originate from the Himalayan regions of Tibet, Nepal, India, and Bhutan. Singing bowls come in different sizes made of various alloys, often a mix of several precious metals like gold, silver, mercury, copper, and tin.
The soothing tones of singing bowls have been used for centuries to help induce a meditative state, relieve stress, and promote well-being. Many people use them in sound healing and chakra balancing. Researchers have found that the resonant vibrations of singing bowls can lead to a relaxed, altered state of consciousness and help reset our mind and body.
Types of Tibetan singing bowls
Singing bowls come in a range of sizes, from 6 inches up to 24 inches in diameter. The size, metal, and thickness of a bowl affect its tone and volume. The three most common types are:
Medium-sized, produce mid-range tones ideal for chakra work. Made of a silver-heavy alloy.
The largest and deepest, create a loud, gong-like sound. Made of a gold-infused alloy.
Produce high-pitched ringing tones. Easier to play and transport but may seem piercing to some. Made of various alloys.
What Can Different Singing Bowls Do?
The size and type of your singing bowl helps determine its specific healing properties:
- Smaller bowls (6-10 inches): Best for treating pain, energizing the body, and unblocking upper chakras. Their high tones resonate at a cellular level.
- Medium bowls (8-14 inches): Perfect for overall chakra balancing, meditation, and relaxation. Their mid-range sounds induce a gentle meditative state.
- Large bowls (12 inches and over): Excellent for releasing emotional and spiritual blockages, cleansing the energy field, and triggering a trance-like state. Their deep vibrations resonate through the entire body.
- Thadobati bowls: Promote tranquility, insight, and higher awareness. Help unblock the Third Eye and Crown chakras.
- Jambati bowls: Facilitate a deep meditative experience. Help release energy blocks in the Root and Sacral chakras. Their heavy vibrations can unlock emotional repression.
- Crystal bowls: Made of quartz crystal, produce a pure tone. Help create an expansive, spiritual atmosphere. Work well for heart opening and Third Eye activations.
How to Choose a Singing Bowl?
When selecting a singing bowl, here are some things to consider:
- Size: Choose a size that resonates with you and suits your intended use. Smaller bowls for targeted pain relief or chakra work. Larger bowls for meditation, cleansing, and induced trance states.
- Type of metal: The most common are gold and silver alloys. Silver-infused bowls have a melodic tone, while gold produces richer, more gong-like sounds. Also consider crystal bowls.
- Thickness and quality: Higher quality bowls with evenly hammered rims tend to produce clearer, more sustained tones. Look for precision, uniform thickness, and visible hammer marks.
- Sound: Place a wooden stick around the inner rim of different bowls to compare their sounds. Choose one with a tone you find pleasant and that elicits a bodily sensation. Deeper, resonant sounds tend to be most effective for healing.
- Aesthetic: Consider how the bowl’s color and shape appeal to you. While sound is primary, a visually pleasing bowl you connect with can enhance the healing experience.
- Price: Singing bowls range from $20 up to $2000 or more for rare antique pieces. In general, higher quality bowls with richer tones will cost more but provide deeper therapeutic benefits.
What is sound and vibration healing from the Tibetan bowl?
Sound and vibration healing uses the resonant tones produced by Tibetan singing bowls to help restore balance and wellbeing. When a singing bowl vibrates, it emits a deep, calming sound that can induce a meditative state and activate our body’s natural healing mechanisms.
The tones produced by singing bowls actually have a physical effect on our body and mind. As the bowls vibrate, they send sound waves and subtle energetic vibrations through the air that we can perceive through our sense of hearing and feel in our body. These vibrations interact with our body on a cellular level to help slow brain waves, relax the nervous system, decrease pain, and release emotional blocks.
When the body is in a relaxed state, stress hormones decrease while endorphins and neurotransmitters that improve mood and health increase. Blood pressure drops, oxygen flow improves, and the parasympathetic nervous system activates to encourage restoration and balance. Using singing bowls frequently helps train the body and mind to tap into this relaxed yet alert state where deep healing can occur.
The different pitches, volumes and harmonic overtones of each singing bowl also correspond to different energy centers in the body known as chakras. Practitioners skilled in sound therapy can use specific bowls placed on or over the body to open, balance and align the chakras, which in turn can help clear and strengthen the body’s energy flow. Opening the chakras and energy channels in this way releases emotional and spiritual blockages, reduces pain, and fosters an overall sense of wellbeing.
In essence, sound and vibration healing with Tibetan singing bowls works through entraining our body’s energies while inducing a relaxed state that encourages healing. The tones, rhythms and vibrations generated by the bowls help bring our physical and subtle bodies into harmony and balance, which can have profound therapeutic effects. With regular practice, the power of sound from singing bowls may continue to resonate within you long after a session has ended.
Techniques for using your Tibetan bowls
Here are several effective techniques for playing your Tibetan singing bowls:
- Striking: Gently strike the side of the bowl with a felt or rubber mallet to produce a ringing tone. Strike at different areas of the bowl’s surface to experience the range of sounds it can make. This the simplest method but can be too percussive for some.
- Rotating: Press the mallet against the outer rim of the bowl at an angle and smoothly rotate in one direction. This produces a cascading tone that flows around the bowl. Rotate faster or slower to change the tone. Rotating multiple bowls together creates a remarkable harmonic experience. This method requires practice but is ideal for chakra work and induces a trance-like state.
- Rubbing: Hold the mallet so one end rests in the bottom center of the bowl. Tilt the bowl at a 45-degree angle away from you. Apply firm and consistent pressure while rubbing the mallet around the inner rim of the bowl. This produces a steady, singing tone. Increase speed and pressure for a dramatic crescendo.
- Tapping: Gently tap different areas of the bowl’s rim and surface with your mallet to discover its unique harmonic rhythms and tones. Start with random taps, then find a natural tapping rhythm or progression that resonates with you. Tapping around the rim activates higher pitches, while tapping the center produces lower tones.
- Gliding: Hold the mallet at the base and gently glide its rounded end around the inner rim of the bowl with a smooth stroke. Flow through a series of gliding tones by varying the speed, pressure and contact point of the mallet around the rim. This creates seamless, melodic sounds ideal for journeying.
- Combining methods: For a dynamic sonic experience, try combining different playing methods on one or more bowls. For example, strike the bowl to initiate a tone, then glide into a rotating rhythm before tapping out a sequence of rhythms around the rim. Combining bowls of different sizes also produces rich harmonics that resonate through multiple levels.
- Listening: Simply place the bowl right-side up and listen to the subtle sounds within the silence. The inner song of singing bowls carries healing resonance even without outward playing. You may perceive high-pitched ringing, pulsations or wave-like swells of sound. Notice how the sounds shift as you relax into the listening.
With regular practice, you will become adept at coaxing a full range of beautiful tones from your Tibetan bowls! Let the sounds you intuitively feel drawn to guide your playing. The key is simply following the song of the bowls. Enjoy exploring all the healing gifts your bowls have to offer.
How to take care of singing bowls?
To keep your Tibetan singing bowls sounding their best and prevent damage, proper care and handling is important. Here are some tips for maintaining your singing bowls:
Clean your bowls after each use. Gently wipe the entire surface of the bowls with a soft, damp cloth to remove any oils or residue from your hands. Dry them completely with another soft cloth to prevent water spots. For stuck-on debris or lip grease, you can also use a small amount of mild dish soap and warm water. Rinse and dry thoroughly after cleaning.
Avoid harsh chemicals. Never use abrasive cleaners, strong detergents or solvents like window cleaner, acetone or lacquer thinner to clean your bowls. They can damage the finish and metal patina.
Remove tarnish. For silver or gold plated bowls, an occasional polish with a quality metal polish or jewelry cleaner according to the directions can help remove any surface tarnish and keep your bowls looking their best. Be very gentle while polishing as not to scratch the inside surface.
Store in a safe place. Keep your singing bowls in an area away from extreme heat or cold, and out of direct sunlight which can cause temperature changes that may damage the metal. Stack bowls upside down nested inside each other, or place a soft cloth like felt in between bowls to prevent scratches.
Handle with care. Always pick up, move or carry singing bowls from underneath the bowl using two hands—never by the lip or rim alone. Their round shape makes them prone to slipping and dropping if not properly supported.
Inspect regularly. Gently run your hands along the surface of your bowls to feel for any dents, warping or rough areas before and after each use. Minor dents and imperfections won’t affect the tone or playing, but should be monitored to ensure they do not worsen over time. Severe damage will require professional metal repair.
Polish bowls sparingly. For most singing bowls, an ideal finish is a natural unpolished patina. Only polish bowls when needed to remove obvious surface dirt or tarnish. Over-polishing can rub away the fine grooves and subtle hammer marks that give a bowl depth, and reduce desirable surface oxidation.
Consider seasonal retuning. The tones of your singing bowls can shift slightly over time with changes in temperature and humidity. Having your bowls professionally retuned once a year or so by a singing bowl master helps keep them sounding their best and therapeutic value optimized.
What are some common contraindications for sound healing?
When choosing a singing bowl for healing, it’s important to consider the contraindications. The vibrations from antique singing bowls and Tibetan bowls may interfere with pacemakers or other electronic implants, so avoid placing the bowls directly on areas of the body with these devices. For pregnancy, softer crystal singing bowls and smaller bowls producing mid-range octaves are recommended over the larger, resonant tones of jambati bowls which could be startling.
Those with seizure disorders should be aware the rhythmic pulses from multiple singing bowls played together may trigger seizures in some. Work closely with the client to find volumes and speeds they find pleasant and soothing. For PTSD, gradually introduce the bowls and allow the client to adjust the sounds to a comfortable level, as certain tones may be frightening or triggering.
The high-pitched sounds of some bowls may also cause distress for those on the autism spectrum. Closely observe clients and silence the bowls immediately if discomfort arises.
While singing bowls can relieve tension and ease pain for many, the vibrations may irritate migraine symptoms in some. Discover whether sound healing triggers or alleviates the client’s migraines before proceeding. Gently tapping or rubbing the rim of the singing bowl to produce light, resonant sounds at a lower volume is best.
In rare cases, the deep relaxation induced by Tibetan singing bowl meditation or sound therapy may cause lingering drowsiness or altered states. Practitioners should advise clients to avoid driving for 1-2 hours after a session. For those in early addiction recovery, the relaxation from singing bowls could potentially be triggering. Sound healing is best under the guidance of a medical professional in these cases, with proper consent from support teams.
By understanding these contraindications, singing bowl healers and therapists can provide safe, effective sound therapy tailored to their client’s needs. Proper precautions help ensure the harmonic tones from the bowls induce relaxation and stress reduction rather than discomfort. With the guidance of an experienced practitioner, the sounds of the bowls can then work to balance chakras, ease emotional blocks, and promote an overall sense of wellbeing.
Where to learn more about singing bowls?
Here are some excellent resources for learning more about sound healing and Tibetan singing bowls:
The Healing Sounds of Tibetan Bowls by Suren Shrestha
A comprehensive guide to the history, use, and healing aspects of Tibetan bowls. Written by the world’s foremost expert and importer of antique Himalayan bowls.
The Power of Sound by Joshua Leeds
A pioneering book on using sound, music, and voice for healing, learning, productivity and well-being. Covers the science behind sound healing and provides practical techniques and exercises.
In conclusion, Tibetan singing bowls are powerful tools for healing, meditation, and personal growth. By choosing a high-quality bowl suited to your needs and practicing regularly, you can unlock their full therapeutic potential. May your journey into sound healing begin! Please let me know if you have any other questions.
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