Sound therapy is at its high nowadays. Literally from all directions one is surrounded by various sound healing options: meditations, ceremonies, workshops or simply singing bowls sellers offering a vast assort main of sound related products.
Whereas this might have its positive sides (Ex. more selection, competitive prices, Etc…) on the other hand creates a mass confusion in the acquisition phase. This unique article is therefore for the first time giving you a full breakdown of the selection criteria and some practical tips before making the investment.
6 most important things to consider when buying singing bowls:
1. Purpose of use (Crystal or Metal)
In general, my advice is to always start with metal alloy bowls. Unless you’ll be conducting only group sound meditations, metal bowls offers more flexibility and better integration in diverse applications. The usually strong transmission of vibration can be experienced as audible and tactile sound thus making them ideal for individual and group settings. Metal bowls prefer to be hit (tapped) with a soft padded mallet and occasionally rimmed (rubbed) with a wooden/suede wand. Dispersion of sound into silence is one of the core therapeutic features of metal bowls.
On the other hand, crystal singing bowls usually emanates louder and more piercing tones. That’s chiefly due usually being rimmed (rubbed) therefore the sound is rather “constant” allowing us to additionally “build up” on the already existing sound pressure level. Unless using the “clear” type of bowls that are usually thinner and meant to be tapped, the “frosted” or sandblasted type of bowls will sound with a quite short and often “duller” tone in comparison with the clear ones. In general Crystal bowls are somewhat limited while working in private 1 on 1 sessions.
2. In the second step we need to understand that there is a subdivision between Therapeutic and Meditation metal bowls:
In Nepal and India where the majority of bowls is produced they are offering 2 main types of bowls: 1. The so called ”Tourist” or Souvenir type of bowl. Those are usually made of thick brass and are heavily decorated: (with engravings, etching, bossed-out motives). The proper definition of those however would be “cast” bowls. They are usually of small to mid-size diameter 2-7” (5-18cm) and of inferior transmission quality (compared to the hand hammered). 2. Hand hammered also known as Therapeutic
Hand hammered bowls come in different shapes and sizes. The common denominator is that they are hand manufactured using bell bronze metal. During the last 50 years a lot of myths arisen in their regards: commonly wrongly called “Tibetan” bowls, that were presumably made by monks in Tibetan monasteries under a secret alchemical formula of 7 metals is perhaps one of the biggest lie in the field of sound therapy. One of the newest trends are also the so called “Full moon” bowls that gained notable popularity within the last 7 years. Finally the only 2 true options are “Contemporary” or “Antique” bowls.
3. Each singing bowl possess a multitude of frequencies. Metal bowls contain a lot of overtones (often misinterpreted as harmonics) whereas Crystal bowls being precisely and repetitively machine molded poses a more “pure” sinusoidal sound properties, usually resulting in one very pronounced fundamental frequency and not so evident and considerable overtones. If we strike the bowl with a proper* mallet we will be always able to determine what is the “home” note or tone of the bowl. The root note is often assigned to a particular “healing power” or “chakra”. Bowls coming in a set should have consistent and precise root notes.
Often a metal bowl has a dim root note, hence the user might get deceived into believing that the bowl is possessing another root note (usually the 1st or 2nd overtone). That’s even more evident when we are using an inappropriate mallet, for example a mallet with a too small beater head diameter or a too rough mallet that it’s not padded enough. Unfortunately, nowadays It’s a very common trend of bowls being tapped with a wooden wand, that not only evokes higher pitch notes but also build tension within the human body. The wand is meant to rim/rub (turn) the bowl not to strike it.