Can Tibetan Singing Bowl Therapy Help Lessen Stress?

singing bowls
Kimberley Coole/Getty Images

Tibetan singing bowls are a type of bell used for healing. Also known as Himalayan bowls, Tibetan singing bowls vibrate and produce a deep, rich tone when played. To create sound with singing bowls, gently strike the bowls and then rub the accompanying mallet in a circular motion against the bowl's rim. 

Buddhist monks have long used Tibetan singing bowls in meditation practice. In addition, some alternative medicine practitioners (including music therapists, massage therapists, and yoga therapists) use Tibetan singing bowls to aid in the treatment of certain health conditions.

Why Do People Try Tibetan Singing Bowl Therapy?

Many proponents of this alternative therapy claim that these vibrations can produce beneficial changes in the body by reducing ​stress, "harmonizing" the cells, and "balancing the body's energy system." Some also claim that Tibetan singing bowls can stimulate the immune system and produce beneficial changes in brain waves.

People use Tibetan singing bowls for many purposes, including stress reduction and pain relief. Some people use the bowls in combination with other healing practices, such as meditation and deep breathing.

Related: Natural Relief for Chronic Pain

The Benefits of Tibetan Singing Bowls

There is currently a lack of scientific research on the potential health benefits of using Tibetan singing bowls, despite their long history of use.

One of the available studies is a 2008 report from the Swiss journal Research in Complementary Medicine.

 For the study, 54 people with chronic spinal pain were assigned to either six sessions of singing bowl therapy, a placebo treatment, or no treatment at all. 

Study results showed that members of the singing bowl group and the placebo group experienced a significant decrease in pain intensity. The study's authors also found that both the singing bowl therapy and the placebo therapy had a stress-reducing effect on participants.

Given these findings, the study's authors concluded that singing bowl therapy's effectiveness for pain relief could not be confirmed.

Where to Find Them

Widely available for purchase online, Tibetan singing bowls are also sold at some meditation centers, yoga studios, music shops, and stores that specialize in new age products. Proponents suggest that using higher-quality bowls tends to produce more resonant sounds.

The Takeaway

Although there is little scientific support for the healing effects of Tibetan singing bowls, integrating the use of such bowls may help enhance the relaxing effects of stress management techniques like meditation, deep breathing, and guided imagery. Studies show that by lessening your stress, each of these activities may help boost your overall wellbeing.

Keep in mind that alternative medicine should not be used as a substitute for standard care.

Sources:

Wepner F, Hahne J, Teichmann A, Berka-Schmid G, Hördinger A, Friedrich M. Treatment with crystal singing bowls for chronic spinal pain and chronobiologic activities - a randomized controlled trial. Forsch Komplementmed. 2008 Jun;15(3):130-7.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.

Continue Reading