Are Singing Bowls Dangerous? (2022)

Are Singing Bowls Dangerous? (1)Share on Pinterest

Singing bowls are metal and crystal bowls used to deepen meditation and promote relaxation. They produce sustained sounds and vibrations when hit or circled with a mallet.

Sound therapy and guided meditations often make use of singing bowls. Bowls of varying sizes are placed around the room, around your body, or on your body. You can use them by yourself or with the help of a meditation or healing practitioner.

If you would like to hear the beautiful and relaxing sound of singing bowls, you may want to watch this video of six-time Grammy-nominated singer Jhené Aiko, who has helped bring singing bowls into mainstream music.

In addition to relaxation, people say singing bowl sound therapy can help:

  • lessen chronic pain
  • improve sleep
  • reduce anger
  • improve blood pressure
  • improve respiratory rate
  • reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression
  • improve symptoms of some neurological disorders such as fibromyalgia and Parkinson’s disease

What is sound therapy?

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Singing bowl therapy falls under the umbrella of sound therapy. Sound therapy incorporates singing, chanting, and instrumental music. It is ancient practice that has become a popular complementary treatment for many physiological and mental health conditions.

UCLA, which offers a music therapy treatment program, cites research showing that sound therapy can help improve both physiological symptoms and mental health.

Research at McGill University has explored the neurochemistry of music. The researchers noted that sound therapy is an ancient art that has migrated in the past several decades into clinical settings. Clinicians use it for

  • pain management
  • relaxation
  • psychotherapy
  • personal growth

It is said that Tibet and neighboring areas have used singing bowls for centuries in religious and spiritual ceremonies, as well as meditation. According to the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, Tibetan singing bowls first appeared around 560–480 BC.

Some historians dispute the link between singing bowls and Tibet and say singing bowl use for healing and relaxation is a modern convention. Others criticize the claim of a connection between singing bowls and Tibet as a form of cultural appropriation.

Singing bowls are made out of metal alloys, often copper and brass, similar to church bells. Some singing bowls are also made out of quartz crystal.

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It’s unclear exactly why singing bowls might have positive effects on health and well-being.

Some theories include:

  • The sound of the singing bowls may produce binaural beats, encouraging brain waves that help you feel relaxed, such as beta waves or trance-like theta waves. This is called entrainment, or stimulating brain waves through pulsing sound or light.
  • The sound waves from the bowl act on the energy field of your body and cause you to relax.
  • Singing bowls may work by their vibrations as well as sound.

There’s also some evidence that music therapy more generally can reduce your levels of the stress hormone cortisol. When your levels of cortisol are lowered, you feel more relaxed.

A 2020 research review of four studies showed that singing bowl therapy resulted in improved mental and emotional health. These improvements echoed the findings of an earlier 2016 observational study. Some of these improvements include:

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  • anxiety
  • depression
  • fatigue
  • tension
  • anger
  • confusion
  • vigor

The study also reported improvements in physical health, including:

  • blood pressure
  • heart rate
  • respiratory rate
  • peripheral capillary oxygen saturation

A 2019 study found that Himalayan singing bowls can help induce a deep state of relaxation in a short period of time, often under 20 minutes. This level of relaxation was greater in both depth and consistency than relaxation from just lying down in silence.

A pilot study in Italy showed that Tibetan singing bowls helped relieve distress and increase a sense of well-being in people with metastatic cancer. They also helped decrease anxiety, involuntary mental activity, and stress. The researchers called for larger studies to confirm results.

A 2022 study in Germany found that singing bowl massage led to a decrease of overall EEG power, or certain brain signals, which might help create a sense of well-being. These researchers also called for larger studies to confirm results.

Makers and practitioners of singing bowls sometimes issue precautions. Some common warnings, like these from Shanti Bowl, include:

  • Beginners: Start out with slow 5-minute sessions until you see how the singing bowls affect you.
  • Epilepsy: Singing bowls may trigger seizures. People with epilepsy should generally avoid singing bowls.
  • Metal implants: Avoid singing bowls if you have metal devices in your body, such as a pacemaker, coronary shunt, artificial heart valves, or metal pins or staples. The vibration of the singing bowl sound could possibly move the metal inside you, causing injury or malfunction of the device.
  • Bodily conditions: Avoid placing singing bowls directly on or near tumors, implants, screws, or artificial joints.
  • Mental health: Singing bowls often elicit deep memories, emotion, and thoughts. If you are diagnosed with a mental disorder like PTSD, anxiety, or depression, be sure to work with your doctor or therapist to make sure you can manage the thoughts and feelings that might arise.
  • Skin conditions: If you have an inflammatory skin condition like psoriasis, eczema, or hives, practitioners recommend not placing bowls on your body since they could aggravate the skin condition.
  • Pregnancy: In general, avoid singing bowls during pregnancy. If your doctor approves, you might try short sessions, but make sure the bowls are away from your belly and back.
  • Children: Be careful to monitor your child’s use of a singing bowl. Use incorrectly, it can damage hearing.
  • Surgery. After surgery, wait to place singing bowls on your body until sutures are removed and your skin is fully healed.

Lack of effective treatment for health problems

If you’re using Tibetan singing bowls as a therapy for physical health problems or mental health issues, it’s important to use them as a complementary therapy and not the only therapy.

It’s not a good idea to delay other treatment or therapy in order to use Tibetan singing bowls as a treatment. If you have a diagnosed condition, be sure to talk with your doctor about any treatment you’d like to try, including singing bowls.

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During singing bowl therapy, you’ll be lying down on the floor, with the bowls in one of several configurations. They may be placed

  • on different points on your body.
  • around your body.
  • around the room (if there are multiple people in the therapy), with at least one bowl near your head

Either you or a practitioner will tap the bowl with a mallet and then use the mallet to circle the bowl using varying pressure and speed. This will make varying sounds, often prolonged to emit different vibrational frequencies.

Singing bowls may be used with or without guided meditation.

There is a growing body of research that sound therapy using singing bowls can benefit some mental and physical conditions. The most evidence is for relaxation, especially if you use the bowls in guided meditation.

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There is little evidence that Tibetan singing bowls are dangerous in any way. For most people, they likely won’t cause any negative effects. There are a number of precautions against using singing bowls in some circumstances, like during pregnancy, if you have epilepsy, or if you have metal devices in your body.

Most studies of health benefits of singing bowls have been conducted in the past decade. Researchers say larger studies are needed to confirm results of reported benefits of singing bowl therapy.


Are singing bowls scientifically proven? ›

Singing bowls sing because of physics! Vibrations and resonance are created by striking the bowl with a mallet. In addition, while the scientific evidence is not clear, a wealth of anecdotal evidence indicates that singing bowl tones have positive physical, mental, and emotional effects on those who hear them.

What should you not do with a singing bowl? ›

Even though singing bowls are made of metal, they are very fragile. You must be careful not to strike your singing bowl hard (especially small size singing bowls), as this can cause it to be knocked off your hand and get damaged. Try out different striking mallets to find the right one for your singing bowl.

Can anyone use a sound Bowl? ›

Anyone can play and enjoy the vibrations and sounds the singing bowl creates.

What are the 7 metals in singing bowls? ›

Carefully selected for their acoustic qualities, our singing bowls are made in accordance with the traditional making rules. The secret of the enchanting sound a singing bowl produces lies in the making process that involves 7 different metals: gold, tin, silver, iron, mercury, lead and copper.

Can singing bowls open chakras? ›

There's a solid connection between the two. Singing bowls can unblock, cleanse, and activate chakras. You can use the bowls to do so by playing or striking the bowl in gentle motions. Specific healing frequencies and vibrations are emitted to clear and charge chakras when you do so.

How can you tell if a singing bowl is real? ›

Authentic, antique singing bowls will be at least 100 years old, while others can be hundreds of years old. Generally speaking, older bowls can be distinguished by their shape, markings, metal thickness, as well as the tone produced.

Are you supposed to put water in a singing bowl? ›

Do you put water in a singing bowl? A singing bowl can be used with or without water. Water in the bowl can produce different resonant vibrations and sounds.

Can I put water in my singing bowl? ›

It is recommended that you pour enough water to fill the bowl at half of its capacity. Be careful not to pour too much water into your bowl, or else you may have a difficult time playing the singing bowl as it may continuously spill. Doing so may also mute the sound of your bowl and decrease the vibrations.

Can you damage a singing bowl? ›

A singing bowl might survive a drop, but you should avoid repeatedly dropping it. This might change the surface of the rim and impact the sound of these bowls. If they are not handled with care, they might have cracks, which will completely ruin the look and sound of the singing bowl.

Do singing bowls help with anxiety? ›

Limited research published as recently as 2016 has suggested that the use of singing bowls can help reduce anxiety and depression, as well as calm the nervous system.

What you need to know about singing bowls? ›

The singing bowl is a metal bowl, struck by a mallet, often used in spiritual or religious settings to invoke meditation or relaxation through the resounding vibrations and pleasant sounds it emanates when played. They can also be used in sound therapy to induce healing and treat various illnesses.

Does size matter in singing bowl? ›

Despite the fact that sound can vary from singing bowl to singing bowl, smaller bowls aren't necessarily inferior in volume and tone. They do tend to have a higher pitch, but so are larger bowls of a certain thickness. Small singing bowls typically do not exceed six inches, and its ability to travel is a big draw.

Do dogs like singing bowls? ›

Most dogs seem to love the crystal singing bowls and very quickly mellow or fall asleep. We recommend this for doggie nap time, pups with anxiety, and for drowning out fireworks, thunderstorms, as well as other stressful noises.

Which is better metal or crystal singing bowls? ›

Metal singing bowls are better for beginners to learn on, both for durability and sound exploration. Ultimately, if you want to be a singing bowl collector with a robust range of bowls, and/or are interested in chakra cleansing and balancing, crystal singing bowls are a must.

Why do singing bowls have cushions? ›

Similar to the protection provided when not being played, a singing bowl cushion adds extra security while being played. A common way of playing a singing bowl is to strike it. Of course, hitting the singing bowl with a mallet will cause it to move but a cushion underneath the singing bowl will help it stay put.

What note should a singing bowl be? ›

Singing bowls can be associated with different notes. There are seven notes belonging to the C major scale, which is the scale most singing bowl practitioners work with. These seven notes are: C, D, E, F, G, A and B. Singing bowls, specifically crystal singing bowls, can be tuned to one of these specific notes.

What chakra is D Note? ›

D Note - Sacral Chakra (11" bowl) E Note - Solar Plexus Chakra (10" bowl) F Note - Heart Chakra (9" bowl) G Note - Throat Chakra (8" bowl)

Does a singing bowl need a cushion? ›

A hard surface will create a dull tone by dampening the sound. Hence, a softer surface like a cushion is ideal for singing bowls. Moreover, larger singing bowls require cushions as they are harder to handle and play. Using a cushion makes the singing bowl more accessible and helps it produce even tones.

Does the size matter in Tibetan singing bowls? ›

Does the size of a singing bowl matter? Yes, the size of a singing bowl significantly affects the sounds and vibrations it creates. That's mainly because Tibetan bowls are idiophones.

Do Japanese use singing bowls? ›

The culture of meditation in Japan can still be seen today in the meditative tea ceremony, the use of incense sticks in everyday life and the art of making singing bowls. The Japanese singing bowl has been refined over the centuries. Today it is unsurpassed in sound and design.

Where should I keep my singing bowl in my house? ›

To enhance the positive energies and get maximum result, you can place the singing bowl in the West, NorthWest and northern corners of your space.

Do singing bowls rust? ›

The metals that make up your singing bowl are also averse to moisture. Letting your bowl stay wet can cause rust and corrosion. No matter what happens, always dry it off as soon as you can.

Can singing make glass shatter? ›

Short Answer. It is possible to break a glass by singing, although it requires singing at precisely the pitch at which a particular glass resonates and with enough decibels to shatter the glass.

Can singing bowls make you cry? ›

During sound therapy sessions, it may become uncomfortable if the singing bowl aids in bringing out strong emotions or painful memories. Some people feel the need to cry or take a break from talking to people for a while which is a part of the emotional stability and healing process.

Can singing bowls heal chakras? ›

As we noted above, singing bowls possess the ability to realign or heal chakras. This is because each of these energy centers has a “unique vibrational frequency.” These frequencies can interact with the vibration frequencies that are created when playing a singing bowl.

What is the best sound for anxiety? ›


Weightless by Marconi Union was found to reduce levels of stress and anxiety by a whopping 65 percent, and produced a greater state of relaxation than any other music tested to date.

Who should not use a singing bowl? ›

In addition, singing bowls should not be placed on your body if you have a heart pacemaker, coronary stent, cardiac shunt, artificial heart valves, implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), metal inserts, metal implants, or metal staples.

Do singing bowls help tinnitus? ›

We all agreed that distraction and relaxation can help our Tinnitus and it really was remarkable how soothing it became to focus on circling the mallet around the edge of the bowl, whilst creating an addictive mellow sound and vibration.

Should you let your dog lick your bowl? ›

While many owners share table scraps with their furry friends, one vet has warned of the possible health dangers if your dog shares food directly from your plate. According to Team Dogs, plates licked by dogs can harbour hidden bacteria such as salmonella which cannot be destroyed by dishwashing.

Can dogs actually hear music? ›

Certainly dogs hear the sound of music.

With the except of some very low frequency sounds that humans hear that dogs can't, dogs can hear much better than people. There may be all kinds of things dogs hear over the radio, from streaming music, or off a CD that people can't hear.

How do you know if a singing bowl is good? ›

A high quality bowl will be able to hold its vibration and produce several tones, harmonics and overtones. If the vibration sounds as if it's “fluttering” away, the bowl is not high quality. You should be aware that the amount of time or effort it takes to make the bowl sing is not important.

What is better crystal or metal singing bowls? ›

Put simply, the sound of a crystal singing bowl is more profound and with higher vibrations.

Can singing bowls break? ›

Crystal singing bowls are pretty durable, but they are breakable. The two most common ways to break a bowl is to drop something in it, or by stepping over it and knocking into another bowl.

What frequency is a singing bowl? ›

Singing bowls have a frequency range anywhere between 110 Hz and 660 Hz but can reach up to the 800s or even 900s. Generally, Hz readings for singing bowls are approximate due to the complexity of their sounds and changing frequencies as they switch between different tones and octaves.


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