One of the most popular sound healing tools, fueled by the worldwide interest in Tibetan Buddhist culture, is the Tibetan Singing Bowl.
Strictly speaking, the Tibetan Singing Bowl is not actually an instrument. It’s more accurate to describe it as form of “spiritual technology,” used both for healing and sacred ceremonies, as opposed to being a kind of folk instrument for which it is more commonly identified in the west. Worldwide, its tones are making their way into the soundscapes of various forms of live and recorded music and performance art and creative projects ranging from TV advertising through to smart phone lifestyle applications. These bowls are appearing with increasing frequency as a stylish accompaniment to Asian interior decorative motifs, with the added bonus of being a functional source of relaxation and meditation for household occupants.
Singing bowls have a complex range of audible and tangible tones, which vary in pitch and intensity depending on the style, how they are played (whether they are struck or stroked and with what type and size wand) and what metal they are made from. Regular commercially available bowls are generally made of cheaper alloys such as bronze, but rarer more authentic ones may be made of metals such as copper, tin, zinc, iron, nikel, antimony, silver or even gold. Some may even consist of up to twelve metals. In some highly-prized singing bowl sets, correspondence between tone, size, and construction materials is believed relative to the relationships between certain astral bodies, such as those of our solar system or particular stars. For this reason, such bowls are considered especially powerful if they are used on occasions when such astral bodies are at their greatest influence in relation to Earth.
In addition to their clearly audible and tangible aspects, the bowls have an underlying quality which makes them uniquely suited to the opening up of inner-space and reconnecting people with what is termed as “primordial consciousness.” This is the aspect of oneself that resonates directly with the healing energy and wisdom that is the source of all creation and which constitutes the most ultimate source of our being.
The sound of the singing bowl in the Bon Shamanic tradition from which it originnated, is considered to be the “sound of the void.” Accordingly the oldest most valuable and highly sought after bowls (in healing terms) are those from Tibet, which are considered to have richly embedded phychic qualities that resonate with teachings about the Bon Buddhist concept of “broadness" (realization of the expansive and all-encompassing nature of consciousness) and “emptiness” (the inherently insubstantial nature of all phenomena) made more or less potent depending on the quality and source of the metal from which the bowl is made, the authenticity of the ancestral linage of the craftsmanship, and the amount of ceremonial potentisation (accumulation of prayer energy) which any given bowl has been charged with. Some bowls are also made at cosmologically significant times to increase the level of potentisation, such as full moon.
They vibrate at a rate of anywhere from 8 to 12 Hertz, consistent with the range of alpha waves in the human brain: a state similar to deep concentration. Different bowls are designed for different purposes. According to world renowned singing bowl expert Frank Perry, there are no less than, “forty-five different shapes of bowl producing a wide range of psycho-acoustic effects,” both for the purposes of healing and spiritual unfoldment.