Tibetan singing bowls vibrate and produce a rich tone when played. Also known as singing bowls, Buddhist monks applied singing bowls in meditation to promote relaxation. We use Tibetan singing bowls for many purposes, including stress reduction and pain relief. Some people use the bowls in combination with other healing practices, such as during meditation.
To create sound with a singing bowl, the teacher firmly presses a mallet in a circular motion against the outside edge. When you hear a clear tone, you slow down the action. Use your entire arm to make the motion. The sound of Tibetan singing bowls harmonizes, allowing deep relaxation of both sides of the brain. It stimulates stress relief and the elimination of toxins from the body.
Sound healing relies on the frequencies and vibrations of instruments. When washed over our bodies, the notes play close to our senses, elevating us to various states of consciousness between awake and asleep. One quickly enters a deep meditative state. Ultimately, our breath patterns change when the sounds become harmonious with our bodies. Brain waves shift as we drift into a deeper spiral of consciousness.
Few studies have examined the potential benefits of Tibetan singing bowls. With increasingly more pairing of singing bowls with other treatments, expect more studies.
I found a 2008 study from the Swiss journal Research in Complementary Medicine. Swiss research focused on crystal singing bowls for easing chronic spinal pain. The study examined 54 people, assigning the group either six sessions of singing bowl therapy, a placebo treatment, or no treatment.
Members of the singing bowl group and the placebo group experienced a decrease in pain. The study also found that both the singing bowl therapy with the placebo therapy had a stress-reducing effect on participants.
A study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion in 2014 studying the effects of a Himalayan singing bowl in meditation practice examined the benefits of a relaxation session with 12 minutes of singing bowls. The study found a reduction in blood pressure and heart rate compared to silence before a session.
In 2017, an observational study, Effects of Singing Bowl Sound Meditation on Mood, Tension, and Well-being, published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary Alternative Medicine, found beneficial effects of Tibetan singing bowl meditations on several hospital patients related to well-being. In the low-tech form of meditation, note the researchers did lower blood pressure and heart rate.
The potential positive physical effects of vibrations on the body include
- Deep relaxation and muscle regeneration.
- Pain relief for joints, muscles, sciatica, headache and migraine.
- Atoms, molecules, cells, tissues and organs function in a more synchronized way.
- Improved energy flow.
- Elimination of toxins.
- Improved immune system.
The potential positive mental or emotional effects of vibrations include
- A relaxed mind, mental and emotional tensions and blockages ease.
- Improved concentration.
- Inner emotions activate and release.
- More energy and strength.
- Ease of mental or emotional pain.
- Improved self-confidence and boosted creative and productive potential.
Matthew Wade, a 30-year-old entrepreneur suffering from a rough breakup in 2020, turned to sound healing.
“With my busy schedule and money worries, I face many problems,” he said. “I met Olga. When I noticed her Tibetan Bowl class, I tried.”
“I didn’t know what to expect. I felt ungrounded and anxious in my daily life and eager to try Tibetan Bowl therapy. At the first session, Olga let me choose two crystals that I would hold throughout the session.”
Wade rested his head on a pillow, shut his eyes, and created a space needed to heal.
“Olga began tapping the bowls, each time sending a vibration that felt throughout my body. In her soft-spoken voice, she explained which chakra aligns with each bowl. I could sense my thoughts were easier to control, lighter. It almost felt as if the vibrations kept my body grounded, allowing my mind to explore without the restraints of our modern-day life. It had such a calm, peaceful aura to it. I sensed the healing in that little spot.”