Have you ever been a part of a singing bowl bath or sound healing session and wondered: how do singing bowls work? During my time in the session, that’s all I kept thinking about while also completely enjoying the whole process. In this article, I’ll share with you all the information I found out while figuring this out myself.
So, how do singing bowls work? I’ll share the details, but in general the singing bowl works by using a mallet to create friction around the bowl and it produces a harmonic vibration. When striking the bowl with the mallet causes sound.
What Are the Physics of Singing Bowls
When singing bowls are filled with water, you can actually see the vibration cause the water to create droplets and makes a different sound than when it’s empty.
In fact, the vibration can become so powerful that it can cause the the water to jump out of the bowl. This is called Faraday instability.
When striking and running the mallet around the bowl, this increases the friction around the bowl and makes the bowl sing.
This is also known as resonance.
Resonance is when you add energy to something by keeping the friction and vibration going, it will keep the sound going. Or keep transferring the energy from friction to sound frequency.
When the bowl is vibrating, that vibration moves to the air and the air starts vibrating. The vibrating air reaches our ears and we hear the harmonic sounds that move us and that brings us such joy.
You can see similar thing happening when you move your finger around a glass, but it doesn’t sound a beautiful and doesn’t seem to fill the air as fully as when playing the singing bowls.
You can change the note that you hear by changing the frequency. This usually happens by adding water to the bowl. You can also change the frequency by having a larger or smaller bowl.
How the Singing Bowl Size Effects the Sound
When the bowls are different sizes, they will create varying frequencies. The larger the bowl, the slower the frequency and the slower vibrations will emit a lower note and higher notes are produced by faster vibrations.
Many look at the larger bowls to be better for the low frequencies that help ground us.
How Mallets Work with The Singing Bowls
The mallets can either be a hard wood or a soft wood. The harder the wood or when using bare wooden striker, it will work the higher partials. So you’ll hear a higher sound than by simply applying friction to the bowl.
You can play with different size mallets to see what size will be the most pleasing to your bowl. You can also experiment with using different materials to wrap the mallets. Many popular types are:
- Cloth, either thin cloths or thicker cloth like wool
The layers of cloth will effect the sound and usually make a lower sound on the bowl.
Why They Make Us Feel a Certain Way
Many believe that the notes and frequencies correspond with different areas of our chakras. If we have certain blockages in our different chakras, then playing the frequencies associated with those chakras can be brought back into proper alignment and help us.
Healing is the state of coming into balance and harmony with our highest purpose. Steven Halpern, composer of healing music states:
“Our bodies are genetically pre-programmed to be self-healing instruments-if we give them a chance.In my opinion, certain music heals by assisting the body to come into its natural state of balance and harmony. At this stage of research and development, it is both politically incorrect and legally irresponsible to state that a specific selection of music will heal a specific physical disease. The common denominator in the vast majority of approaches acknowledges that the body heals itself most effectively in a state of deep relaxation. Using music to evoke “the relaxation response” is one of the simplest and most effective ways of all-but you must choose the right music. our responses to music are far more complex, subtle and far-reaching than we imagined.”
Dr. Mitchell Gaynor used singing bowls in therapies for cancer patients and wrote a book about it. He was as surprised as anyone that he would end up using singing bowls for healing several years after becoming a doctor.
But science is starting to see how different frequencies can change nearly every system in our body from the autonomic, endocrine, and more. The fact that we are all vibrational energy to begin with, it would make sense that the bowls would change us in certain ways.
How Does Sound Healing Work
Research seems to be lagging a bit with scientific explanation of how this all works, but let’s look at how sound healing works. This comes from the phenomenon of entrainment. This is when two items get into phase with each other.
This works well for our bodies as well. If parts of our bodies are not vibrating in a harmonic way, causing dis-ease, then being able to apply the right frequencies to them should help to bring them back into the proper frequency for healing.
What Happens if My Singing Bowl Won’t Sing
You should get better with “playing” your singing bowl with practice. It takes patience and doing it often to get the right vibration going. Also make sure that your bowl is in good shape. If the bowl is too thin, it might not be able to provide the right sort of vibration.
Also, play with different mallets to see if you just need a different size to properly play the singing bowl.