The Hamalayan Healing Bowl from Om Handicrafts, Patan, Nepal.
Typically called “Dhwoni Patra” in Nepali which translates to “singing bowl” is a special metallic alloy of seven different metals (copper, iron, tin, lead, gold, silver, mercury) which correspond to the seven planets in the universe and the seven Chakras (energy centers) in our body. By striking the surface or rubbing the rim the singing bowl produces majestic complex long sustaining harmonic overtones and yet intense vibration which is used as ultrasonic therapy and physiotherapy. The Singing bowl to produce the perfect harmonic sound should be made with an alloy of seven different metals in correct proportion and balanced hammering. To complete one of these bowls would take 2 to 3 days. These different metals are mixed together in a melting pot and poured in a carved stone to form a thick circular slightly curved disc. It is later heated red hot and hammered several times precisely to form a shape of a bowl, which would produce balanced vibration throughout the bowl and different notation. The bad bowls or cracked once are re-melted and remade for decoration purpose. Singing bowls were traditionally made in Nepal, India, Bhutan, China, Japan and Korea. Today they are mostly made in Nepal and Tibet. The best known types are from the Himalayan region and are often termed as Tibetan singing bowls.
Origins, History and usages
The history of singing bowl practice dates from more than 2500 years ago, although it is not historically recorded who started making or using the bowl as it was practiced by monks or royal families only for higher level of mediation and tranquility. However, the best healing bowl are originated and still been made in traditional town Patan (the city of metals) in Nepal among few families. In countries like Nepal, India, Tibet, and Bhutan they have always been used for relaxation, prayers, medicinal and meditative purposes. Singing bowls therapy has been practiced since centuries to cure several diseases like: migraine, joint aches, back pain, belly problems and also to cleanse the seven chakras (power centers) of the body. Regular practice of bowl therapy is known to de-stress and calm the mind and body. Little is known in western scholarship regarding Himalayan singing bowls. It is likely they were used in rituals having a specific function like other instruments (such as the bell). The oral and written traditions from the Himalayan region are vast and largely unknown in the west. Paintings and statues dating from several centuries ago depict singing bowls in detail. Singing bowls from at least the 10th-12th century are found in private collections. The tradition may date significantly earlier since bronze has been used to construct medicinal tools and musical instruments since ancient times. Singing bowls are played by the friction of rubbing a wooden, plastic, or leather wrapped mallet around the rim of the bowl to produce overtones and a continuous. Singing bowls are unique because they are multi-phonic instruments, producing multiple harmonic overtones at the same time. The overtones are a result of using an alloy consisting of multiple metals, each producing own overtone.
A phenomenon akin to “water memory” can be demonstrated by filling a singing bowl with water producing sounds with the bowl until the water begins to vibrate (due to vibrations of the bowl), stopping and letting the water to rest and then re-starting the whole procedure: the water will pick up the same vibration much faster than the previous attempt. While it is generally believed that the traditional manufacturing techniques are lost, there are new hand-hammered bowls being produced in the centuries old tradition. The difference is the quality of the alloy and the aging process itself. The tone improves as the age, do new bowls cannot sound as warm and mellow as a real antique. Both antique and new bowls are widely used as an aid to meditation and as a tool for trance induction. They are also used in yoga, music, sound healing, religious services, and performance and for personal enjoyment.
Antique Singing bowls Traditionally, antique singing bowls were made of Pancha-Dhatu (literally meaning “five metals” in Sanskrit) mixed with silver and gold. These seven metals are bronze, copper, tin, zinc, iron, silver and gold. Antiques often include silver, gold, nickel and the most prized “sky-iron” (Tibetan: thog chags) from meteorites and tektites. Antique singing bowls produce multi-phonic and poly-harmonic overtones, which are unique to the instruments. The subtle yet complex multiple harmonic frequencies are a special quality of the high quality bronze alloy. The art of making singing bowls in the traditional way is often called a lost art, but traditional craftsmen do still make singing bowls in the traditional manner in hidden corner of Nepal. The reason for the popularity of bowls as a material for meditative and medicinal uses is the strong anti-bacterial properties of copper. Silver, also a constituent of singing bowls has strong anti-bacterial properties as well. Some bowls have the tonal coherence that qualifies as a “singing bowls” and were specifically made to produce sound. Antique singing bowls are highly prized and collected worldwide. Their popularity is due to their medicinal and meditative value, fine craftsmanship and remarkable sound. The aging process greatly improves the tone and centuries old antiques produce an incredibly rich and beautiful sound. The antique bowls, which were used by masters of Tibetan Buddhism, are vibrant, full of spiritual energy and are more effective for meditative and medicinal purposes.
Modern Developments Singing bowl are manufactured today may be plain or decorated. They sometimes feature religious iconography and spiritual motifs and symbols, such as the Tibetan mantra (incantation) OM MANI PADME HUM, images of Buddha, and Asthamangala (eight auspicious symbols). New singing bowls are made from the same metals just as the antiques were. The best hands made bowls are made in Nepal. New singing bowls are exported from Nepal to all over the world. Today most of the European, Asian and North American countries use the bowls for meditative and medicinal purposes.
Full Moon Bowls One of the highest quality of healing bowl known as the Full Moon bowl however would take 2 to 3 months as they are made only during the full moon night using only purified, highest grade of raw metals for the cosmic energy and purification. That is why the Full Moon Bowl is the most pure and clear metallic bowl that’s ever been made. The purified seven metals and their planetary and astrological correspondences gets enhanced by the subtle moon energy for subtle healing vibrations. The greater resonance produced by Full Moon bowls is a phenomenon that occurs when the vibration energy force of the bowl drives our various system to vacillate with greater amplitude at a specific preferential frequency.
Our Singing bowls are chosen carefully by sound testing to ensure the healing properties, either for simply meditational practice base on personal use or for healing purpose. We have selected carefully for the long lasting and powerful sound for your truly unique healing Masterpieces.
TECHNIQUES & USSAGES • Using the healing bowl doesn't have any fixed timing and anyone can practice when desired as it doesn’t have any side effects and is very simple to use.
• But normally, 5-10 minutes two times a day, every morning and night before you sleep listening to the bowl placing it on your lap in a sit down positioning helps to feel the vibration and sound that would balance chakra and help for mental exercise, destressing and relaxation. So, two times every day is really helpful even if you do or do not have any problems.
• However, if you have some problems like back ache, bone or muscles problems, blood pressure etc. you can use the bowl least 20-45 minutes each day any time. For Headaches and migraine or insomnia, maximum 5-10 minutes you can use the bowl on the head. In a stand up position you can use the bowl placing it closer to the body and you can do these therapy yourself except for the back. But if you have somebody to do it for you is much relaxing.
• You can sit down on a comfortable chair to use the bowl on the head or your knees. If you are doing it for other parts, it is better to lie down on the bed and place the bowl on your heart, abdomen, sexual organ, thigs, knees, feet and similarly back, shoulders, hands, legs, wherever required or all the places moving the bowl slowly for 15-30 minutes. This is preferable for whole body therapy and chakra balancing at once if you could manage time daily.
• When you place the bowl on your body you can use couple of fingers to hold the bowl in the center without touching the rim of the bowl and tap it right below the edges once or twice maximum and leave it for 10-15 seconds letting the sound fade 50-60% and you tap it again. Don’t hit the bowl hard but with just right amount of force.
• When you do any of these therapies it is necessary to close the eyes to focus and enjoy the sound and feel the vibration. This itself is mediating. You can also hum the mantra “OM” when you put the bowl on the head or knees for meditation.
• Water therapy is for higher level of mediation where the different level of water makes different sound to concentrate on each ripple and drops of water into the bowl. It is also known as memory therapy. Concentrating on the ripple of water also helps for exercise for the eyes. But for the physical therapy, one can use hot water/ warm water inside the bowl and place in on you back or other parts for extra relaxation tapping the bowl gently and carefully avoiding water spill.
• Avoid using chemicals or hard agents to clean the bowl. You can use damp cloths and wipe it dry or just dust it off. You can also use lemon or vinegar only if it starts to oxides which would takes years. The sound gets richer as the bowl ages.