While there are far more benefits to using a singing bowl than there are disadvantages, it's important, like any other method of treatment or healing, to know when singing bowls should be avoided or their use limited. Before investing in your own personal singing bowl or attending a sound therapy session where singing bowls are used, there are several cautions and warnings to be aware of.
In this article we answer the following questions:
- When should singing bowls be completely avoided?
- When should singing bowls avoid certain parts of the body?
- When should you limit access to singing bowls?
It is important to keep in mind that a Tibetan singing bowl is not a toy and not just an instrument. It’s a powerful tool for meditation that has been used in religious practices for thousands of years. Singing bowls and their ability to influence our minds and mood should be treated as any other method of healing or medication.
When Should Singing Bowls Be Completely Avoided?
There are certain illnesses, conditions, and circumstances that might require completely avoiding singing bowls or participating in sound therapy where singing bowls are used. If you find that you have one or more of these conditions but are still interested in the healing effects of singing bowls, you should consult your doctor before use.
Certain neurological disorders will foreclose the use of singing bowls. For example, if you have epilepsy, you should not attend a sound therapy session where singing bowls are used. If you wish to do so, it is necessary to get your doctor’s permission as well as be prescribed the correct anti-epileptic medication. If you have Parkinson’s disease and have a deep brain stimulation device (DBS) to treat your illness, you should not use singing bowls. If you have a neurological disease other than these, please contact your physician to be sure that you can receive sound therapy with singing bowls.
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. Placing a vibrating singing bowl on your body if you have any of these inside of you is very dangerous. As the singing bowl is played and the vibrations pass through your body, there is a chance that the vibrations could shake and disturb the metal inside of you, causing it to move or malfunction, which could result in pain or death.
Source: Massage Around the World
You should also avoid singing bowls if you have other clinical disorders such as polyneuropathy or hemiparesis. It may be necessary to also avoid sound therapy with singing bowls if you are currently being medicated for severe depression or anxiety. While singing bowls may help with mild cases of depression, anxiety, and PTSD, it is important to receive permission from your doctor, psychiatrist, or therapist before going forward with sound therapy.
During your sessions, please keep in mind that singing bowls place people in meditative states that allow individuals to reflect on themselves and their thoughts. If you suffer from mental illness, it may become uncomfortable if the singing bowl aids in bringing out strong emotions or painful memories. After a session, you may feel the need to cry or need a break--that’s okay, it’s all part of the healing process. Take it slow afterwards.
If receiving sound therapy with singing bowls for things such as PTSD, anxiety, or depression, it is important to find the right teacher--someone who is professional, knowledgeable, and capable of understanding and sympathizing with the trauma that may be resurfaced in your sessions. Reliving trauma can be incredibly difficult so it is important that you expect and prepare yourself for some traumatic experiences to resurface during your sessions. If you are not ready for this type of healing, singing bowls and sound therapy should be avoided until a later time.
When Should Singing Bowls Avoid Certain Parts of the Body?
Sometimes you can have access to singing bowls but still limit where the bowls are placed on your body. Often, in sound therapy, singing bowls are placed on certain parts of the body. If any of the following applies to you, you may still play or listen to singing bowls but must avoid placing them on your body.
Some skin disorders and diseases will prevent a person from benefiting from sound therapy when it involves placing singing bowls on the body. In particular, if you have an inflammatory skin disorder, such as hives, psoriasis, eczema or its variant weeping eczema, singing bowls should not be placed on your body or touch your skin. Additionally, singing bowls should not be placed on heavily scarred areas.
Certain artery diseases or blood clots will limit where you can place a singing bowl on your body. For example, if you have carotid atherosclerosis, singing bowls should not be placed in the area around the neck. Singing bowls should also not be placed near diseased or clotted veins. In cases of thick vein thrombosis, singing bowls should not be placed on top of the affected vein or near it.
There are other cases where singing bowls cannot be placed on certain parts of the body. For example, they should not be placed directly on or near acute inflammations, tumors, implants, screws, artificial joints, and inflamed joints and veins.
When Should You Limit Access To Singing Bowls?
There are certain times or situations where you should limit access to singing bowls. This does not have to mean completely cutting singing bowls out of your life. Instead, these are times when you should either avoid singing bowls for a determined amount of time or only use them for a specific amount of time.
For example, during pregnancy, singing bowls should not be placed on the body. If you receive sound therapy or are interested in attending a session, and are pregnant, it is important that the bowls are not placed on your body, especially within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. You may be able to still attend sessions or use a singing bowl while pregnant but you should consult your doctor before playing or hearing a singing bowl. If your doctor approves the use of singing bowls during your pregnancy, it is vital that you do not play the singing bowl too loud near your belly or place the bowl too close to your belly or back.
If you are not pregnant but do have young children, it may be necessary to limit the use of singing bowls in your home. As children are very curious and might think your singing bowl is a toy, it is important to keep it out of reach or ensure you supervise them while they are playing it. Loud singing bowls can cause damage to hearing if played incorrectly and your child may want to see how loud the singing bowl can be. For the safety of your children, as well as your singing bowl, it would be best to ensure the two remained separated or closely watched when together.
Some illnesses or conditions that may come and go will limit your access to singing bowls. If you are experiencing a fever, have severe inflammation or have open wounds, singing bowls should not be used until these symptoms and conditions have passed. Additionally, after surgery, singing bowls should not be placed on the body before the sutures have been removed and the scar has fully healed and closed. If you are suffering from whiplash, you should not seek sound therapy treatment until at least three days after your injury.
Finally, if you are a singing bowl beginner, it may be necessary to limit how long you play your singing bowl per day. According to alternative health practitioners, it is possible to play your singing bowl for too long, resulting in a “healing crisis.” Your singing bowl gives off vibrations and energy and, as such, too much energy, or playing too long, can overly affect your body. You might find that your symptoms worsen instead of improve.
If this is the case, it is suggested that you limit yourself to a maximum of 5 minutes a day. These 5 minutes of playing should preferably be done at night before bed so that you have the night to sleep and process the energy from the singing bowl. As you adjust to the energy of your singing bowl, you can increase the time you spend playing it but remember less is always more so it is important to not over do it.
Additionally, as a beginner, it is not recommended that you place singing bowls on your body for sound therapy yourself. You should seek a professional or undergo training in order to carry out singing bowl sound therapy appropriately.
Singing Bowls and Cultural Appropriation
We are sometimes asked if singing bowls can be dangerous in another way - namely, whether their use in western societies amounts to cultural appropriation. This is a thoughtful question, and it deserves a thoughtful answer.
In our view, singing bowls were created for everyone to use and enjoy. We believe everyone in the world should be able to access the incredible healing potential of Tibetan bowls, regardless of the society in which they live.
Accordingly, in our view there is nothing wrong with using a singing bowl, provided that the user does so in a manner that is respectful to the cultural significance and heritage of singing bowls in Eastern culture.
This would include ensuring that those who sell or profit from singing bowls do so in a respectful manner and at a price point that is accessible for those who wish to use them. It is precisely for this reason that we make our singing bowls very affordable (which ensuring that they are of the highest quality) and donate a significant portion of our profits to charity.
Singing Bowls, the Bible and Christianity
We are sometime also asked if singing bowls are compatible with the teachings of the bible and Christianity. This is also a thoughtful question, and it deserves a thoughtful answer.
Although most people believe that singing bowls are foreign to Western and Christian traditions, it is important to remember that singing bowls are essentially metal bells which are positioned and played differently than the metal bells that are so common in the Western world.
In particular, bells have a long history in Christian tradition and have been used for hundreds of years in churches across the world. Bells have been used as a call to worship and to remind us to open ourselves to the presence of something greater (regardless of what that something greater is according to our particular religion or faith).
While the sound of a bell may differ from that of a singing bowl (also known as a "standing bell"), the science behind singing bowls is essentially the same. In addition, the bible contains scripture which encourages the use of bells and approves of the sound made by them. For example, Exodus 28:33-35 states as follows:
Make pomegranates of blue, purple and scarlet yarn around the hem of the robe, with gold bells between them. The gold bells and the pomegranates are to alternate around the hem of the robe. Aaron must wear it when he ministers. The sound of the bells will be heard when he enters the Holy Place before the Lord and when he comes out, so that he will not die.
The bible also frequently encourages meditation, which can be aided with the use of a meditation aid such as a singing bowl. For example, as stated in Proverbs 15:28, “the heart of the righteous one meditates before answering.” This is connected with Proverbs 16:23, which indicates that meditation gives us soulful depth, peaceful reserve, and moral strength, which together add insight and understanding to our beings and make us better neighbors. By using a meditation aid, we can more easily achieve such insight and understanding.
In our view, there is nothing problematic from a religious perspective about using a singing bowl. While singing bowls may have their origin in Eastern culture, there is no reason why a person cannot use a singing bowl merely to assist them in meditating or as call to worship, like any other bell you would see in a church. After all, a singing bowl is merely a bell that is resting on its back.
We hope this article was informative and helpful! As with any therapy or medication, it is important you know the side effects and precautions--singing bowls are no different. Singing bowls and sound therapy can be a great tool for healing and meditation but it is important to know that in certain cases they can actually have the opposite effect. Remember to always practice caution before using your singing bowl or attending a sound therapy session. As long as you know the risks associated with these treatments and are healthy enough to receive the sounds and energy of the singing bowl, you will be able to enjoy them!
We invite you to get your own singing bowl and experience some of the amazing benefits!