A Must-Read Guide to Singing Bowls + How to Choose Yours

Sound healing is a unique method where sound waves align chakras, ease tensions, and mainly work on the internal systems of the body. Have you ever seen tuning forks? Perhaps you have a finer memory of wind chimes. These are instruments believed to heal with the use of sound waves just like the infamous Tibetan singing bowls. So that brings us to the question, what exactly is a singing bowl? How to use a singing bowl for healing?😀

A Tibetan singing bowl is a type of standing bell made from an alloy of metals like bronze, iron, gold, silver, etcetera. It emits healing sound waves when the rim of the bowl is gently rubbed with a wooden mallet that’s designed for this purpose. Such a spiritual device is capable of healing the nervous system, aligning chakras, charging crystals, meditation, and much more.🤹

A Guide to Singing Bowls

Read onto find out A to Z of singing bowls with the help of these topics:

  • What’s the meaning of a singing bowl? Where does it come from?
  • What are the types of Tibetan singing bowls based on material, style, and size?
  • What makes the singing bowl work as a healing device?
  • How to start using a singing bowl?
  • Which singing bowl to get?
  • FAQ on singing bowls

Basics: What is a singing bowl?

Commonly called the Tibetan singing bowls, these are actually standing bells made from metal alloys. It’s a frictional idiophone that makes a sound like a glass harp or glass harmonica. It sings via vibrations when excited using a striker made of wood and wrapped in leather. This musical cum spiritual instrument is believed to emit frequencies that can heal and calm the body as well as the mind.

Although it’s popular as a Tibetan singing bowl, the oldest bowl dates back to the 5th Century BCE of China. Historians have also found singing bowls going back to the Shang Dynasty that existed between the 16th and 11th BCE in China too.

The singing bowl is known by a variety of names such as Buddha bowl, Tibetan bell, rin gong, Himalayan bowl, cup gong, meditation bowl, and prayer bowl. In Chinese, it’s known as "qing", and "nao" while Japanese call it rin, kin, keisu, sahari, uchinarashi, and dobachi.

These prayer bowls are a vital spiritual instrument in Buddhist and Taoist teachings. In Buddhism, singing bowls are used regularly for setting the ambiance and frequency for meditation or chanting. When it comes to Japan, singing bowls are often used concurrently with handbells (rei) and the percussion instruments (kei) as well as (orugoru) during temple rituals.

A Tibetan Singing Bowl With a Wooden Mallet

Because singing bowls going further back than 500 years have been found in regions of Nepal and India, it’s not merely a Chinese or Japanese tradition. Monks, sadhus, and yogis have been using it to channel their chants. When it comes to Indian singing bowls, you’ll notice the Sanskrit script on them. The traditional ones in Tibetan say "OM Mani Padme Hum", translated as "the jewel in the lotus".

Historians have substantial evidence claiming that these bowls were once used for grain measure or as food, water, and seed bowls. But others oppose those views arguing that bowls with such excellent acoustics couldn’t be anything other than for sound.

The singing bowl works based on "vibrational behavior" almost like a brain wave. When it’s played, certain frequencies are emitted that can align chakras, cleanse crystals, remove stress, alleviate pain, and much more. That being said, some people might also experience headaches if the singing bowl is played at an unfavorable frequency.

Fun Fact
The singing bowl is often placed inverted on the head to let vibration pass through the body for healing purposes. If you have a bowl, try it right away and tell us about your experience in the comment box below!

What are the common types of singing bowls?

While the Tibetan singing bowl crystal may be a new invention, Tibetan singing bowls aren’t. That’s mainly the reason why historians have been able to identify almost 50 types of such prayer bowls from China, Japan, Nepal, India, and Bhutan.

Let’s find out the various types of singing bowls based on their material, style, and size.

Metal Singing Bowls

Technically, every signing bowl is made of seven different metals, each corresponding to a heavenly body such as mercury (Mercury), gold (Sun), silver (Moon), copper (Venus), iron (Mars), tin (Jupiter), and lead (Saturn).

Because bowls made from the seven sacred metals don’t sing particularly well, bowls made of 80% copper and 20% tin are more popular nowadays.

Here are the main varieties of Tibetan metal bowls available today:

Tibetan Singing Bowls

  • Thadobati: With a significant height of up to 5 inches and flat bottoms having 9 inches in diameter, thadobati bowls are mostly made with straight side walls. The tone of this bowl features five octaves.
  • Jambati: Featuring curved sides and an inward-facing opening, jambati singing bowls are flat bottomed. They have a hammered style with acoustics that can play up to four octaves. These are the biggest and heaviest singing bowls and take up to four people to create. Hence, jambati bowls were once used to store grain and are one of the costliest.
  • Ultabati: It’s a large singing bowl like jambati with considerable weight and hammered design. You can play the lowest two octaves on it. Interestingly, Ultabati can produce the Om sound. This bowl has a blackened exterior.
  • Naga: A pedestal singing bowl that looks like a chalice in one glance, naga bowls don’t show as much sonic resonance as other bowls. But these are extremely rare to find. It’s a thin bowl in sizes 4 to 10 inches that come with an attached base and rounded bottoms. Historians believe these were once used as an offering bowl.
  • Mani: Another unique-looking bowl, mani is stout and smaller than the others. These have a flat bottom and lip, much like jambati bowls, and were once used for sacred rituals. Mani bowls produce higher tones and are often called mudra bowls.
  • Manipuri: Small to medium-sized singing bowls that can play primary tones are called Manipuri. Considered beginner-friendly, manipuri bowls come from the Indian state of Manipur and are often hammered or engraved with a smooth finish.
  • Remuna: Quite flat and stout, this is a singing bowl with delicately thin walls. The best feature of these singing bowls is their engravings and markings. It goes great with Thadobati bowls and features circular artwork inside and outside.
  • Lingam: Named after the small protrusion on the bottom-center of the bowl, Lingam singing bowls aren’t easy to play. It stands for the Hindu God Shiva and looks. Thin and often discolored, Lingam bowls are seen in small to medium sizes.

Crystal Singing Bowls

One of the newest types of singing bowls, crystal bowls have been famous since the 80s. The most common crystal used for these bowls is made with quartz. With a frosted look and low sounds, a crystal singing bowl can emit 3rd, 4th, and 5th octaves.

How does a singing bowl work? (Benefits explained)

When you use a striker to rub over the rim of a singing bowl, it makes aesthetically pleasing sounds based on basic sound theories. The core principle has to do with vibrations and resonance (when your rubbing motion continuously makes sounds). It can’t make complex harmonies but can certainly strike chords and create overtones.

If you’re wondering how singing bowls affect us, the main thing to understand is how sound affects us. Put simply, scientists found out that the sound of a singing bowl affects water droplets on a molecular level. Imagine what would it do to us given that human beings are made of 60% water?

There are studies that conclude that sound vibrations emitted from a singing bowl can create a centering effect on the brain that can synchronize the left and right sides of the brain.🧠 But that doesn’t mean every strike on the bowl creates healing frequencies right away and only that. In fact, different techniques of striking can create different sounds from a bowl. It’s for you to find the resonance that favors you.

Benefits and merits of using singing bowls

Sound therapy or psychoacoustics has been in use around the world for ages. It can heal the physical, emotional, and spiritual parts of the being.

Here’s are singing bowl benefits worth watching out for:

  1. Stress relief: Singing bowls can help in achieving deep relaxation and concentration. That’s why singing bowl meditation is more beneficial than you think. If you’re anxious, it can relieve tensions quickly by releasing happy hormones like serotonin, endorphins, and dopamine.
  2. Mental health: Tibetan singing bowls emit frequencies that can be calming to stressed-out people. In the due course, it can alleviate mental health problems such as anxiety, anger, frustration, depression too. It can lift your spirits and put you in a better mood.
  3. Sleep problems: Somnipathies or sleep disorders are often a result of constant thinking, tensions, and stress. With the singing bowl emitting frequencies that relax you, falling into a deep sleep is fun.
  4. Pain management: Whether you’re in pain emotionally or physically, singing bowls can heal you. It’s best for migraines, joints, muscles, arthritis, and even sciatica. That’s because the vibrations of these bowls lead to muscle regeneration and stress relief that helps the body and the mind.
  5. Blood circulation: Just as sound therapy can affect water molecules, it can improve the circulation of blood within the body and even heal blood-related problems including blood pressure. On a simpler level, with more blood circulation comes with more oxygen and energy besides less anger too.
  6. Immunity: Stress is the reason why immunity often lowers in the body according to Dr. Mitchell L. Gaynor and sound vibrations can put the immune system back in balance. It’s the resonance of the sounds emitted from singing bowls that help to bring your natural state of health and spirit into balance.
  7. Healing injuries: Boosting the healing properties of the injured parts of the body, especially the spine and shoulder injuries is an effect of the singing bowl.
  8. Digestion: By improving metabolism from the body, singing bowl vibrations can resolve many stomach issues. It heals by affecting the parasympathetic nervous system.
  9. Detox: One of the ways singing bowl energies cleanses you is by physical and spiritual detox. It cleanses the mind and body to empower you. Your physical and mental blocks get released by the different healing frequencies of the singing bowl.
  10. Amplifying positive energies: This is the very reason why other healing powers like crystal healing, yoga, and meditation work well with a singing bowl.

How to use a singing bowl for healing? (A quick guide)

We discussed all the positive effects of a singing bowl above and now it’s time to experience it yourself. In terms of music, singing bowls work much like bells but with a unique playing experience.

How exactly do you make a singing bowl sing? What if it doesn’t sing? Let’s find out all about it!😊

A step-by-step method to use a singing bowl

  1. Take the singing bowl and hold it in your flat palm (if it’s small-sized) or on the accompanying singing bowl cushion (if it’s medium or large-sized) on a flat surface.
  2. Take the mallet you received with the bowl and press it strongly against the rim of the Tibetan bowl.
  3. Move your hand in a circular motion without taking the mallet off the rim of the prayer bowl.
  4. You’ll hear a clear tone in a few seconds and when you do, slow down the motion of your hand.
  5. Take care to move your entire arm instead of just the wrist when rubbing the mallet against the singing bowl.

The above is a basic method to play the Tibetan singing bowl. You can utilize different Tibetan singing bowl healing techniques to play those acoustic vibrations to heal your body, mind, and spirit. Whether you’re using it on your body or around it, the sound vibrations can bring you to peace.

What if your singing bowl doesn’t sing?

If your singing bowl isn’t making any typical calming sounds, the worst might be permanent damage like a hairline fracture or crack. A Tibetan bowl may not sing also when you’re striking wrongly on the bowl or if you’re touching the bowl while using it. The same can happen when the bowl isn’t flat as well or when it’s not clean.

In the rarest of moments, if you can’t connect to a singing bowl spiritually, then it may not sing. Try to bond with it just like you do with a healing crystal to solve this problem today!

How to use a singing bowl for crystal healing?

The singing bowl amplifies the power of healing crystals and works as a sound charging spiritual device. It can amplify the ritual you’re doing such as a crystal grid, manifestation ritual, or even cleansing. Tibetan singing bowls are often recommended for cleansing crystals and charging them. It can also improve your meditation sessions with crystals.

The best way to use a singing bowl is for cleansing and charging healing crystals. All you need to is place your crystals to cleanse or charge individually inside the bowl and play the Tibetan singing bowl music. Vibrations will do all the rest!

Singing bowls work with healing stones because these bowls emit frequencies that affect the chakras within us. But it’s even better if you can get a crystal singing bowl because it already contains the crystal vibrations.

How to choose the right singing bowl for healing?

You are ready to tap into the world of sound healing and let me tell you, it’s all that and much more. A singing bowl can pave the path to a better mindset and health. But for that, you need to choose the right bowl.

There are different types of singing bowls for different healing techniques for different chakras, purposes, energy rituals, sizes, materials, and styles to choose from. Let’s find out how to pick the right singing bowl for you.

Based on chakras

A prayer bowl that emits the correct notes in music also corresponds to different chakras. You can empower, clean, and recharge chakras with these notes of the singing bowl.

Chakra NameNote
RootNote C
SacralNote D
Solar PlexusNote E
HeartNote F
ThroatNote G
Third EyeNote A
CrownNote B

Based on tones

How to pick a Buddha bowl based on the tone it plays? That’s easy! Take a look at the table below.

Tone RangeSinging bowl
Five OctavesThadobati
Four OctavesJambati
Second and Third OctavesUltabati
Five OctavesNaga
Third to Sixth OctavesMani
Third to Sixth OctavesManipuri
Third to Fifth OctavesRemuna
Third to Sixth OctavesLingam

Based on purposes

What are you trying to achieve with a singing bowl? Is it just a hobby or are you looking for something spiritual? Whatever be your concern, a Tibetan bowl can help you find healing in many ways.

As a fun side note, small Tibetan bowls are great for reiki and large bowls for energy grids.

If you want to heal many people, a large bowl with great resonance is the way to go. If it’s in your budget, go for Manipuri or Thadobati bowls. Sometimes you’ll quickly know the type of singing bowl you need and want without even knowing what type of bowl it is.

Based on sizes

Once you have a rough idea about the size of different prayer bowls for singing, it’s easy to pick one whether you need it for personal or professional use. The following will help you!

HeightWeightDiameterType of Bowl
2 to 4 inches0.5 to 1.75 lbs4 to 9 inchesThadobati
4 to 8 inches2.2 to 14.3 lbs9 to 16 inchesJambati
4.5 to 6.5 inches3.3 to 10 lbs10 to 16 inchesUltabati
2 to 8 inches0.5 to 3.3 lbs2 to 8 inchesNaga
2 to 5 inches14 oz to 5.5 lbs4 to 9 inchesMani
1.5 to 4 inches0.5 to 3.3 lbs3.5 to 9 inchesManipuri
3 to 4.5 inches1 to 1.75 lbs6 to 8 inchesRemuna
1.4 to 4 inches0.5 to 5 lbs3.5 to 10 inchesLingam

Based on materials

Every Tibetan bowl is made of different metals or combinations of metals such as gold, silver, tin, copper, iron, lead, and mercury.

Brass bowls were the earliest of singing bowls. When it comes to healing powers, resonance, and frequency matter. If possible, always get the seven metal singing bowl. Price isn’t a concern because some handmade bowls are beautifully made and fair-priced.

Based on its costs

Depending on what your budget permits, select from different price ranges of Tibetan bowls as shown below.

CostType of Bowl
$60 to $560Thadobati
$640 to $2,400Jambati
$700 to $2,000Ultabati
$140 to $640Naga
$270 to $675Mani
$75 to $425Manipuri
$235 to $635Remuna
$400 to $1,900Lingam

Based on style

There are many famous styles for creating Tibetan bowls. Craftsmen may hammer the sides by hand-beating it, polish it wide/thin, or even engrave it in Sanskrit, Tibetan, Chinese, or Japanese. Some artists mattify the surface and others make it glossy too. There can even be stylistic add-ons like circles, protrusions, and pictures of Buddha on many handmade singing bowls.

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7 Frequently asked questions about singing bowls

Do singing bowls create side effects?

Like most good things, overdoing anything singing bells are bad too. Because these bowls have healing powers doesn’t mean you should skip the medicines you’re prescribed. However, if you combine both the healing processes, singing bowls can accelerate the healing process with medicines.

If you’re wondering whether singing bowls have risks, yes they do. Prayer bowls can increase headaches and seizures for those who are prone to it or if they spend too much time. People allergic to metals from which singing bowls are made could also derive harmful side effects like rashes, hives, and other skin allergies.

Is it safe to use a singing bowl during pregnancy?

As the effects of the frequency of different singing bowls on pregnant women aren’t conclusive at the moment, it’s best not to use it if you’re expecting. That being said, if the frequency is right and the bowl doesn’t physically touch you, you’ll be safe with singing bowl therapy.

Can a singing bowl break?

Unless your meditation bowl is made of crystals, it won’t break with a fall or two. But yes, singing bowls can break or develop cracks in them due to damages. In such a case, the sound would be distorted or cranky.

How do you clean a singing bowl?

Always use a soft cloth to wipe away dirt and dust from settling on your singing bowl. You can use warm water or cleaning solutions appropriate for the metals with which singing bowls are made. Never use any harsh chemicals or abrasives to clean your bowl. Repeat cleaning after every use ensures that the bowl is always dry and away from damp spaces. You mustn’t keep these bowls in sunlight too.

Can you share a singing bowl?

Unlike crystals, sharing a singing bowl isn’t just good but favorable too. You can ask others to play the sounds while you meditate, do yoga, or reiki.

Where to buy singing bowls?

From Amazon shopping portals to crystal shops, exhibitions, and kiosks, you’ll find Tibetan prayer bowls at most new age stores unless you’re going all the way to Tibet, China, Japan, India, or Nepal.

How to find the frequency of a singing bowl?

There are many apps that you can use to measure the frequency of a signing bowl via a well-calibrated phone. Check out Spectroid, Sound Spectrum Analysis, Audio Spectrum Analyzer dB RTA, and SpectrumView to get started with it!

Start playing healing frequencies on your singing bowl today

Popular across the East in countries like Tibet, China, Japan, Nepal, and India, singing bowls are a spiritual and physical healing device that works on the principles of sound therapy. It’s typically made from seven metals and accompanies a mallet with which you strike to create sounds. These create vibrations on a molecular level to heal different parts of your body and mind.

There are several types of Buddha bowls with different metals and combinations of metals as well as Tibetan and crystal bowls. A resonant sound bowl will help you heal from stress, mental health problems, blood circulation problems, stomach, issues and much more.

Using a singing bowl is easy. All you need to do is rub the leather-wrapped wooden mallet on the rim of the singing bowl firmly and it creates sounds unless you’re holding it wrong or the bowl is cracked. Different techniques and strokes can create different effects and sound waves from the Tibetan bowl. The singing bowl uses are many!

The best thing is you can even keep your crystals and crystal jewelry inside the singing bowl and play it for a few minutes to cleanse or charge it.🧘🏻‍♀️ But to do that, you should select a singing bowl that’s convenient to you. Get a root chakra singing bowl or a heart chakra singing bowl or pick one based on tones, purpose, size, materials, costs, and styles right away.

If you’re new to these bowls or sound therapy, get a singing bowl set to find out what different healing frequencies can do to you.

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