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What Is Sound Bowl Therapy?

August 11, 2023 | The Aerial, BVI

Sound bowl therapy is a holistic practice that uses vibrations produced by Tibetan singing bowls to promote healing in the body and mind. During a sound bowl therapy session, a trained practitioner gently strikes or plays the sound bowl to release different frequencies that create soothing tones and vibrations. 

It is believed that the vibrations created by sound baths can induce relaxation, release tension, and clear energy blockages throughout the body. Singing bowl sound therapy may also stimulate the body’s natural ability to heal. 

Sometimes, sound baths are combined with modalities such as yoga or used to enhance one’s meditation practice. They can even be used for a singing bowl massage. Combining a sound bath with other healing modalities can encourage deeper physical and emotional healing and enhance one’s sense of spiritual connection.

Sound bowl therapy at Aerial BVI

What Is Singing Bowl Therapy? 

Also known as sound healing or a sound bath, singing bowl therapy is an ancient practice that uses the vibrations from metallic or crystal bowls to promote healing and relaxation. Metallic singing bowls are typically made from a blend of metals like copper, tin, and zinc. Crystal singing bowls are sometimes used to create higher-pitched glass-like sound waves. 

How Do Singing Bowls Work?

When struck with a mallet, a Tibetan singing bowl produces a rich and deep sound that resonates throughout the body. In contrast, a crystal bowl produces a high-frequency sound that targets specific energy centers when hit or circled with a mallet. Many believe that vibrations from singing bowls and crystal sound bowls help to restore balance in the body and mind. 

What Is the Origin of Sound Bowl Therapy?

Sound bowl therapy has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. While the exact origins of sound bowls are unknown, many believe that sound bowls originate from Tibetan and Himalayan cultures (hence “Himalayan singing bowls” and “Tibetan singing bowls”). Some sound healing experts believe that the sound bowl originated in Nepal. Singing bowls may have also been used by Buddhist monks for meditation and spiritual practices. 

Wherever they originated, most agree that sound bowls were used originally as kitchenware and were produced using a combination of copper and tin. Over time, the therapeutic benefits of singing bowls were discovered, leading to their integration into various healing modalities and health retreat destinations around the globe. 

What Are the Potential Benefits of Sound Bowl Therapy?

The positive benefits of sound bowls are clearer than their origins. One study showed that sound bowl therapy can improve anxiety, tension, and fatigue, boost mood, and increase spiritual well-being. A meta-analysis of four peer-reviewed studies indicated that singing bowl therapy may offer the following benefits:

  • Improved vigor
  • Reduced tension, anger, and confusion
  • Decreased anxiety and depression
  • Improvements in blood pressure, heart rate, and respiratory rate
  • Improved peripheral capillary oxygen saturation

The Academy of Sound Healing claims that sound healing modalities stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system and strengthen the function of the vagus nerve. This is thought to help correct sympathetic dominance and relieve the associated health complaints (such as feeling “wired and tired”). 

As the functioning of the immune system is affected by stress, the deep relaxation associated with singing bowls may theoretically help to boost immunity. However, randomized studies are needed before any definitive conclusions can be drawn.

How to Play a Sound Bowl 

Playing a sound bowl is a very personal experience. There is no right or wrong way to play a sound bowl. However, there are a few guidelines for making the experience more effective and enjoyable:

  • Playing a sound bowl should ideally be done in a quiet and relaxed setting. 
  • Understanding how to maneuver a sound bowl can help create more powerful and soothing vibrational sounds. 

The following is a common method for playing sound bowls:

  1. Find a quiet and serene space. This will help you immerse yourself fully in the experience. 
  2. Place the singing bowl on a flat surface so that it won’t tip over. Or, hold the bowl in the palm of your non-dominant hand. 
  3. Hold the mallet with a light grip in your dominant hand. Strike the exterior rim of the bowl with the padded side of the mallet.
  4. Let the vibrational sound resonate throughout your body as you breathe in and out.
  5. Strike the bowl again once the vibration and echo of the sound vanishes completely. To create an ongoing sound, you can move the mallet around the rim of the bowl in a circular clockwise motion. 

It can be helpful to consult a trained practitioner to learn how to play a singing bowl. This will give you the skills and confidence to play more effectively on your own. 

Wellness retreat with sound bowl at Aerial, BVI

Where Can You Experience Sound Bowl Therapy?

If you are interested in experiencing the healing vibrations of sound bowls, you can start by looking for local practitioners who are trained in singing bowl therapy. Sound bowl therapy can be experienced in an array of settings such as sound healing centers, yoga studios, and wellness retreats around the globe.

If you are looking for a more immersive experience, consider a wellness retreat that offers a combination of healing activities such as sound bowl therapy, workshops, and meditation sessions. Our all-inclusive health and wellness resort in the British Virgin Islands offers wellness retreats that incorporate sound bowl therapy and various other healing practices.

Sound Bowl Therapy

Sound Bowl Therapy Safety 

Sound bowl therapy is generally considered a non-invasive and safe technique that can be incorporated into one’s self-care routine. However, some individuals may not find sound bowl therapy effective or might experience discomfort during a singing bowl session. 

There are a few categories of people for whom sound bowl therapy is contraindicated. You should not use sound bowls if you are pregnant, have metal implants like pacemakers or metal pins in your body, or have a neurological disorder such as epilepsy or Parkinson’s disease.

When you register for sound bowl therapy at The Aerial, BVI, or a center near you, be sure to notify the practitioner of any underlying conditions or metal implants you have. We take safety very seriously and will recommend a different kind of therapy if sound bowls aren’t suitable for you.

Boost Your Well-Being With Sound Bowl Therapy

For most people, sound bowl therapy promotes deep relaxation and reduces stress. The healing vibrations produced by sound bowls can help to balance the body’s energy and invoke a sense of calm. 

If you are looking for an alternative therapy type to calm your mind and lift your mood, sound therapy with singing bowls could be a great option. When combined with other healing practices, sound bowl therapy can enhance your well-being and help you achieve a profound sense of inner peace.