Using Tibetan Singing Bowls in Healing

Singing bowls are used for meditation, relaxation and healing purposes. These small, circular bowls function like bells and have a melodious sound when played. Singing bowls come mainly from Tibet although they are also played in Nepal, India, and Bhutan. Tibetan Llamas have been using them for thousands of years. However, they have always been considered sacred and therefore their existence was mostly kept secret until the Chinese invaded Tibet in the 1950’s. Since that time knowledge of singing bowls has slowly spread, and their use has become more common in other cultures.

Traditionally singing bowls are made from a mixture of seven metals, though most singing bowls on the market today are made from only three or five metals. These bowls produce tones that allow you to relax deeply and create harmony between body and soul. When you place the ringing bowl on your body the sound waves reach every cell with vibrations that massage the cells as they pass through your body. It doesn’t take long to reach a state of complete relaxation. This cellular massage has also been known to provide healing results to sick or damaged bodies. Singing bowls can also be used for relaxation while you play the bowl.

There are two ways to play a singing bowl. The first way is to strike it with a   mallet . The second way is to rub the bowl with a wooden stick producing continuous singing tones. Good singing bowls have lots of different tones that come out as you move your  mallet  around the outside of the bowl. To prepare for a cellular sound massage you must first lay flat on your back. Make yourself comfortable and then place the singing bowl on your chest. Because the vibrations tend to make them slide you may want to put a piece of non slip matting, like you would find in the kitchen drawers, between the bowl and your body. Once everything is in place and you are comfortable use the  mallet  to strike the singing bowl close to the rim.

As the bowl begins to ring your ears will begin to pick up lower tones. Not only will you be able to hear the bowl ring, but you will also begin to feel the sound waves as they pass through you body. Your chest area is mainly a large air chamber. This chamber acts in the same way as the hollow cavity of a guitar or violin. The sound will resonate inside your chest and continue on through the rest of your body. As you concentrate on the combined sensations of audible sound and tangible vibration your body will enter a deeply relaxed state.

Though the bowl will continue to sing for some time, it will be necessary to repeat the striking action from time to time, if you can find the energy to do so. You don’t have to put it on your chest. And if you are a flexible enough person to place it on your back and still be able to strike it with the  mallet , then that is always an option. If you want to try placing the bowl on your back, but find it difficult to strike the bowl from this position, it is fine to recruit someone else to be the striker. There are also singing bowl therapists who place the bowls around you, and on top of you. These therapists can adjust the sound and play the correct tone for your particular chakras.

Striking the bowl will make it resonate, but rubbing it will make it sing. The difference between a resonating sound and a singing sound is simply the isolation of a single note. When rubbing the bowl, you need to hold the base gently between the fingertips of one hand. You want to keep the fingers toward the base so that they won’t mute the tones you are going to play. It is sometimes nicer to use a leather  mallet . This will eliminate the clanging sound often associated with a plain wooden stick.

Hold the striking stick vertically alongside the bowl. Wrap your hand tightly around the top end of the stick, and rub the bottom end around the outside edge of the bowl. When you play the singing bowl in this way, you can use a plain wooden  mallet , rather than a leather-wrapped  mallet . Press the wood firmly to the rim in order to keep it from rattling.

As you begin to rub the rim of the bowl you will hear several tones mingled together. As you continue to rub one note will begin to stand out above the rest and the other tones will slowly fall away until you are left with a pure and penetrating ring.

Singing bowls can be relaxing for use in your own personal meditation, and they can also be used for yoga classes and other situations to begin or end a class.