Tibetan singing bowls are a type of bell that vibrates and produces a rich, deep tone when played. Also known as singing bowls or Himalayan bowls, Tibetan singing bowls are said to promote relaxation and offer powerful healing properties.
Buddhist monks have long used Tibetan singing bowls in meditation practice. In addition, some wellness practitioners (including music therapists, massage therapists, and yoga therapists) use Tibetan singing bowls during treatment.
Uses for Tibetan Singing Bowls
People 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 meditation and deep breathing.
Many proponents claim that the vibrations of a singing bowl can produce beneficial changes in the body by reducing stress, “harmonizing” the cells, and “balancing the body’s energy system.” Some also claim that Tibetan singing bowls can stimulate the immune system and produce beneficial changes in brain waves.
The Benefits of Tibetan Singing Bowls
Very few scientific studies have examined the potential benefits of Tibetan singing bowls, despite their long history of use.
One of the available studies is a report from the Swiss journal Research in Complementary Medicine. For the study, 54 people with chronic pain originating from the spine were assigned to either six sessions of singing bowl therapy, a placebo treatment, or no treatment at all.
Study results showed that members of the singing bowl group and the placebo group experienced a significant decrease in pain intensity. The study’s authors also found that both the singing bowl therapy and the placebo therapy had a stress-reducing effect on participants.
Given these findings, the study’s authors concluded that singing bowl therapy’s effectiveness for pain relief could not be confirmed.
A preliminary study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion in 2014 examined the benefits of starting a directed relaxation session with 12 minutes of singing bowls and found a greater reduction in systolic blood pressure and heart rate compared to silence before a directed relaxation session.
How to Use a Singing Bowl
To create sound with a singing bowl, firmly press the accompanying mallet in a circular motion against the bowl’s outside edge or rim. When you hear a bright, clear tone, you can slow down the motion. Use your full arm to make the motion, rather than just rotating your wrist.
You can also make the same circular motion against the outside belly of the bowl. Additionally, you can gently strike the bowl before beginning the circular motion.
Where to Find Them
Widely available for purchase online, Tibetan singing bowls are also sold at some meditation centers, yoga studios, music shops, and stores that specialize in new age products. Proponents suggest that higher-quality bowls tend to produce more resonant sounds.
Although there is little scientific support for the healing effects of Tibetan singing bowls, integrating the use of such bowls may help enhance the relaxing effects of stress management techniques like meditation, deep breathing, and guided imagery. Studies show that by lessening your stress, each of these activities may help boost your overall wellbeing.