The Complete Guide To Tibetan Singing Bowls

Written on Tuesday, May 13th, 2014 by @Paul Harrison
A collection of Tibeta singing bowls being used for massage therapy


Tibetan Singing Bowls offer a way to meditate on sound. Using one for as little as an hour will provide spiritual healing, balancing the chakras and helping to cure illness. They’ve been used in religions for over two thousand years. Now, new scientific research proves that Tibetan Singing Bowls truly work.

Tibetan Singing Bowls are actually a type of standing bell, but instead of being inverted they are held in the hand. The rim of the singing bowl vibrates to produce a whistling sound comprised of two frequencies, a first harmonic and then overtones. These sounds are used in traditional “Tibetan Singing Bowl meditation techniques”.

Tibetan Singing Bowls are used all around the world for relaxation, meditation, and for spiritual development. Traditionally singing bowls were created in Asia though since Buddhist practices have spread worldwide there are now many manufacturers around the world.

In Buddhist tradition the singing bowl is used as an auditory marker, denoting the beginning and ending of a period of meditation, and is often combined with the use of a percussion instrument called the “wooden fish,” which is struck when a specific phrase is chanted. Japanese and Vietnames tradition also use the singing bowl to mark the beginning and ending of periods of walking or seated meditation. The bowl itself may also be used as a means of meditation.

Tibetan Singing Bowls make for a powerful form of meditation. The specific sound that the singing bowl generates is conducive to spiritual healing and for chakra balancing. For this reason many people around the world use Tibetan Singing Bowls for healing.

When listening to the singing bowl our brain waves begin to synchronise with the frequency of the bowl, while unique tones produce a deep meditative state. More, the sonic waves of the bowl open the mind and lead to spiritual awakening.

Dr. Mitchell Gaynor [director of Medical Oncology and Integrative Medicine, Cornell Cancer Prevention Center New York] says, “Sound is vibration. Vibration touches every part of our physical being. Sound is heard not only through our ears but through every cell in our bodies. One reason sound heals on a physical level is because it so deeply touches and transforms us on the emotional and spiritual planes. Sound can redress imbalances on every level of physiologic functioning and can play a positive role in the treatment of virtually any medical disorder.”

Diane Mandle [Sound Healing expert] says, “Tibetan singing bowls are ‘struck and sung’ in specific rhythmic patterns to create vibrational sound harmonics at the frequency of “AUM” or “OM”. This sound frequency known as that of Perfection impacts the sympathetic nervous system as your brain waves synchronize to the vibrations of the bowls. The harmonic vibrations engage the relaxation reflex and slow down the respiratory, brain and heart rate and disrupt the pain reflex creating a deep sense of well being.”

Tibetan Singing Bowls and other spiritual sound practices have even been used to help people suffering from cancer.  Dr. David Simon [medical director, Deepak Chopra Center], a real inspiration, says of his first experience with Tibetan Singing Bowls, “I could feel the vibration physically resonating through my body, touching my core in such a way that I felt in harmony with the universe.I immediately intuited that playing the bowls would change my life and the lives of many of my patients.”  He has subsequently tested Tibetan Singing Bowls on his patients and states that sound has a powerful capacity for healing even in cancer patients.

Illness can be thought of as a disharmony of the body, an in-balance. All energy is in a state of vibration, including energy in the body. When that vibration is tampered with the body falls out of sync, resulting in illness. Meditating on the sound of a Tibetan Singing Bowl restores the body to its natural frequency, thus curing illnesses, both physical and psychological. You can quite quickly test this for yourself. Below is a video of Tibetan Singing Bowls being played. Listen to the sounds and you will quickly feel your body and mind relaxing, unwinding, and restoring to their natural state.

Bodhisattva Gwalwa Karmapa says that Tibetan Singing Bowls produce the sound of nothingness, the primordial sound, resonating at the same frequency as “Om,” the frequency of creation. This is why early models of Tibetan Singing Bowls have been in use by Shamanistic cultures since as early at 560BC.

You’re likely wondering whether the healing properties of Tibetan Singing Bowls is similar to that of binaural beats. Though some studies into binaural beats have given positive results, the latest Brainwave Entertainment lacks the history and culture of the Tibetan Singing Bowl. There is an ethereal quality to the singing bowl that binaural beats lack. Tibetan Singing Bowls also hold a powerful spiritual symbolism that binaural beats lack.

Countless studies have shown the power of belief and the power of spiritual influence on the mind. The more the mind believes in the spiritual properties of an object or power the more effect that object will have on them. By mere virtue of their history and spiritual symbolism, Tibetan Singing Bowls are more powerful than binaural beats and other modern practices are ever likely to be.  Add to that the fact that Tibetan Singing Bowls are a natural, analogous sound, where more modern sound healing devices are digital, and it’s easy to see why Tibetan Singing Bowls are so much more powerful than “Brainwave Entertainment”.

Brainwave Entertainment and Tibetan Singing Bowls do hold similar properties. Both produce are used to produce theta brainwaves. At 4-8Hz our self-healing, intuition, and creativity mechanisms are activated. It’s at this range that you are at your strongest, and that is precisely the range Brainwave Entertainment and Tibetan Singing Bowls put you in.

It is also at this frequency that the chakras can be healed.

The Indian healing system believes that chakras, energy centres, pass energy around the body. You can discover the science and spiritual of Chakras in our Complete Guide To Chakras. Essentially, there are seven chakras in the body (Root chakra, Sacral chakra, Solar Plexus chakra, Heart chakra, Throat chakra, Third Eye chakra, and Crown chakra). When one of these chakras is blocked energy is not channelled through the body correctly, leading to illness and dysfunction.  

Chakra balancing is used to restore the natural flow of prana / chi / energy around the body, thereby restoring health. This is precisely what happens when meditating on a Tibetan Singing Bowl.

So, having covered the history and traditions of Tibetan Singing Bowls, their spiritual healing powers, and the science that proves their effectiveness, let’s take a look at how to actually use a Tibetan Singing Bowl.

How To Use A Tibetan Singing Bowl for Meditation 

“Around Rim” Technique

  1. Hold the bowl in  your left hand. Hold the mallet in your right hand at around mid-length. Your fingertips should point down and should be touching the wood.
  2. Tap the mallet on the bowl’s side to warm the bell
  3. Using an even pressure, move the mallet clockwise around the outside edge of the bowl. Use a full arm movement and keep stirring the bell almost like soup.
  4. Applying pressure continue to rub the mallet around the outside edge of the singing bowl.
  5. Try not to go too fast but rather allow the volume to build gradually.


 Advanced Tibetan Singing Bowl Meditation Techniques

“Wah Wah” : Most singing bowls allow you to use the Wah Wah technique. Use the technique above to get the bowl singing then pull the mallet away from the bowl while it is still singing. Now, hold the bowl up to your top lip one inch away from your mouth. In this position, silently make your mouth in a “Wah” shape (imagine saying “Wah Wah Wah Wah”). This will change the sound of the bowl.

Water Bowl

You can make a special effect by putting a little water on the bottom of the bowl. This makes the bowl sound like dolphins.

You should use about 3 /4 ” inch of water but dont get the outside rim wet. Again, use the first technique described above then, while the bowl is singing, pull the mallet away.

Now tilt the bowl, causing the water inside to lap towards the rim. Now swirl the bowl. This will create  the sound of dolphins.



 Here’s how great a Tibetan singing bowl can sound!


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paul harrison meditation teacher
Paul M Harrison is a meditation teacher with more than ten years of experience. He also writes as a lifestyle journalist and author. The author of more than five books, you can find his works on his Amazon Author Page Contact him via Twitter or Facebook