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Tibetan Singing Bowls for Healing

Some of the best new ideas are old ones when it comes to healing practices. Healing professionals are reintroducing ancient methods like the Tibetan Singing Bowls into their practices. Use of singing bowls originated in the pre-Buddhist Shamanic Bon Po culture in the Himalayan Mountains.

Traditionally, the bowls were made of seven sacred metals, corresponding to the seven planets: GOLD- Sun, MERCURY- Mercury, IRON- Mars, LEAD- Saturn, SILVER- Moon, COPPER- Venus and TIN- Jupiter. The iron originally used to make these bowls was from meteorites found high up in the mountains.  The tonal vibration of each metal contributes to a complex blended sound when a bowl is activated.

To activate the sound, a wooden rod is lightly dragged around the edge or sides of a bowl.  Often several bowls of different sizes and therefore different tonal ranges are rung together creating a “sound bath”.  The ringing induces a deep relaxation state in a listener.  Healers say the vibrations activate water molecules in a person’s cells to promote healing.

The healing power of the bowls was shrouded in mystery.  Unlike other Tibetan practices that were well documented, as part of the Tibetan Buddhist Cannon, there was nothing written about the healing powers or spiritual practices of the singing bowls.  Mention of the Tibetan bowls was limited to its use by pregnant women for eating. Metals in the bowl would leach into the woman’s food in very low levels giving her a homeopathic dose of minerals.   It is hard to believe that a precious handmade object as this was intended only as a food container.

A deeper look at Tibetan culture reveals the Singing bowls as much more. These bowls were found in both monasteries and private homes.  The highest Lamas were using them in ritual offerings to their Gods and Deities, but it was forbidden to talk about these bowls, even within the monasteries themselves. It is said that the highest Lamas used these bowls for their rituals to travel to another level of consciousness. The singing of the bowls deepened their meditations.

Practitioners perform sound baths for groups of people or for individuals. Using the singing bowls in a clinical or spa setting prior to performing physical treatments helps clients to relax deeply.  This in turn enhances the benefits of treatments that follow.

Taking a sound bath can be a relaxing or spiritual experience.  This is something our ancestors knew and we are learning anew.