Tibetan Singing Bowls
& Gongs

Does The Size Really Matter?

A Guide to Tibetan Singing Bowls and Their Effects on the Human Body

Have you ever heard of Tibetan singing bowls? If not, you’re missing out on a wonderful way to relax, heal, and harmonize your body, mind, and spirit. Tibetan singing bowls are a type of bowl that vibrates and produces a deep tone and makes a beautiful sound when played. They promote relaxation and offer healing properties and can help you with everything from stress relief to pain management to boosting your memory and creativity. Tibetan singing bowls have been used for centuries by Buddhist monks and other spiritual seekers for meditation and healing. Tibetan monks have used them in meditation practice for centuries. Some historians dispute the link between singing bowls and Tibet and place their origin in China, but they have been used in religious and spiritual ceremonies for a long time.

Tibetan singing bowls are considered a form of vibrational medicine and sound therapy that can stimulate alpha and theta brain waves. They are classified as a type of bell. They come in different sizes, shapes, colours, and materials, and each one has its own unique tone and vibration.

But how do they work? And does the size of the bowl matter? How does it affect the frequency, amplitude, intensity, and vibration of the sound and the inner organs? What are the benefits of having a bowl large enough to place on the head and experience brain vibration? In this article, we’ll explore these questions and more and give you some tips on how to choose and use your own Tibetan singing bowl.

Frequency, Amplitude, Intensity, and Vibration

First of all, let’s talk about sound. A sound is a form of energy that travels in waves through the air or other mediums. Sound waves have four main characteristics: frequency, amplitude, intensity, and vibration.

  • Frequency is how fast the sound waves move, it is the number of cycles per second, measured in Hertz (Hz). Frequency determines the pitch or tone of the sound. The higher the frequency, the higher the pitch. The lower the frequency, the lower the pitch.
  • Amplitude is how big the sound waves are, it is the height or magnitude of the wave, measured in decibels (dB). Amplitude determines the loudness or volume of the sound. The higher the amplitude, the louder the sound. The lower the amplitude, the softer the sound.
  • Intensity is the amount of energy carried by the wave, measured in watts per square meter (W/m2). Intensity determines how powerful or forceful the sound is. The higher the intensity, the more powerful the sound. The lower the intensity, the less powerful the sound.
  • Vibration is how much the sound waves shake or move the particles in the medium they travel through. It is the movement or oscillation of the particles in a medium (such as air or water) caused by the wave. Vibration determines how much stimulation or disturbance the sound creates in our bodies. The higher the vibration, the more stimulation or disturbance. The lower the vibration, the less stimulation or disturbance.

The size of a Tibetan singing bowl affects all these aspects of sound. Generally speaking, larger bowls produce lower frequencies, which are more calming and relaxing, lower amplitudes, higher amplitudes, and higher intensities because they contain larger mass and you hit them with greater force and higher vibrations than smaller bowls. Smaller bowls produce higher frequencies, which can be more stimulating and energizing, lower amplitudes, lower intensities, and lower vibrations than larger bowls. However, other factors such as shape, material, thickness, and playing technique can also influence these aspects. And the influence on the human body which is mostly water varies as varies the resonant frequency of the inner organs of the human body.

The shape of the bowl also affects the sound waves. Bowls with a rounder shape produce a more mellow sound, while bowls with a more angular shape produce a sharper sound.

Benefits of Brain Vibration

One of the most unique and intriguing benefits of Tibetan singing bowls is their ability to create brain vibrations. This is when you place a large bowl upside down on your head and play it with a mallet or striker. The sound waves travel through your skull and stimulate your brain cells directly. This can have various effects on your brain waves, which are patterns of electrical activity in your brain that reflect your mental state.

There are five types of brain waves: delta, theta, alpha, beta, and gamma.

Delta waves are associated with deep sleep and unconsciousness.

Theta waves are associated with light sleep, dreaming, creativity, and intuition.

Alpha waves are associated with relaxation, alertness, focus, and learning.

Beta waves are associated with wakefulness, attention, problem-solving, and stress.

Gamma waves are associated with high-level cognitive functions such as memory, perception, and consciousness.

By using Tibetan singing bowls on your head, you can influence your brain waves to achieve different states of mind. Those bowls can invoke a higher state of awareness and consciousness. The exact influence of the frequency is unclear as the frequency of such bowls is around 100 to 120 Hz thou some very large bowls can go down to 80 Hz they would be too heavy to place them on the head, and brainwaves fluctuate during the day between 1 to 80 Hz.

There are five types of brain waves, ranging from the slowest to the fastest:

  • Delta waves. These are the slowest brain waves and range from 1 to 4 Hz. They occur when you’re in deep sleep or unconscious. They’re essential for your body to heal and restore during sleep.
  • Theta waves. These range from 4 to 8 Hz and occur when you’re in light sleep, dreaming, or daydreaming when awake. They’re associated with relaxation, low alertness, creativity, and intuition.
  • Alpha waves. These range from 8 to 12 Hz and occur when you’re awake but relaxed and calm. They’re associated with being alert but not stressed, focused but not tense, and learning but not struggling.
  • Beta waves. These range from 12 to 38 Hz and occur throughout your daily activities. They occur when you’re awake, alert, busy, and focused. They can be divided into three subtypes:
    • Low beta waves. These range from 12 to 15 Hz and occur when you’re thinking or reasoning.
    • Beta waves. These range from 15 to 22 Hz and occur when you’re performing tasks or solving problems.
    • High beta waves. These range from 22 to 38 Hz and occur when you’re excited, anxious, or experiencing something new or complex.
  • Gamma waves. These are the fastest brain waves and range from 40 Hz or more. They occur when you’re engaged in high-level cognitive functions such as memory, perception, and consciousness.

The way to influence the brainwaves indirectly, as most of them are in inaudible range, is through binaural beats. I do it by placing two similarly pitched singing bowls one to the left ear and the other to the right ear. My brain then resonates with the binaural beats created by my brain equal to the differences between the base frequencies of those two bowls. But more about brain waves in another article.

Brain vibration can also help you balance your left and right brain hemispheres, which are responsible for different functions such as logic and creativity. By stimulating both sides equally with sound waves, you can harmonize your brain activity and improve your overall mental performance.

Nepali Tibetan Singing Bowl
Nepali Tibetan Singing Bowl

Main Frequency, Aliquot Overtones, Musical Harmony

Another benefit of Tibetan singing bowls is their ability to produce complex sounds that consist of a main frequency and several aliquot overtones. An overtone is a higher frequency that is produced along with the main frequency when an object vibrates. An aliquot overtone is an overtone that has an integer ratio with the main frequency (such as 2:1 or 3:2). These overtones create a harmonic series, which is a set of frequencies that sound pleasing and consonant together.

Tibetan singing bowls can produce up to seven or more aliquot overtones, depending on the quality and skill of the bowl and the player. These overtones create a rich and full sound that can fill a room with soothing and healing vibrations. The overtones can also interact with each other and create new frequencies that are not present in the original sound. These are called combination tones or beats, and they can enhance the effects of sound therapy.

Musical harmony is the combination of different sounds that create a pleasing and coherent effect. Harmony can be achieved by using different bowls that have compatible frequencies and overtones. For example, you can use bowls that have the same main frequency but different overtones, or bowls that have different main frequencies but similar overtones. You can also use bowls that have harmonic intervals, such as octaves (2:1), fifths (3:2), or fourths (4:3). These intervals create simple and stable harmonies that are easy to listen to and enjoy.

The Bigger the Better?

So far we have seen that Tibetan singing bowls have many benefits for our health and well-being. But does that mean that bigger bowls are better than smaller ones? Not necessarily. The size of the bowl is not the only factor that determines its quality and effect. Other factors include:

  • Shape. The shape of the bowl affects how it resonates and produces sound. Bowls can have different shapes such as round, flat-bottomed, curved-sided, or bell-shaped. Each shape has its own characteristics and advantages.
  • Material. The material of the bowl affects its durability and tone. Bowls can be made of different metals such as copper, brass, bronze, iron, silver, or gold. Some bowls are also made of quartz crystal or glass. Each material has its own properties and benefits.
  • Thickness. The thickness of the bowl affects its weight and volume. Thicker bowls are heavier and louder than thinner ones. Thicker bowls also tend to have lower frequencies than thinner ones.
  • Playing technique. The playing technique affects how the bowl sounds and feels. Bowls can be played by striking them with a mallet or striker or by rubbing them with a wooden stick or leather-wrapped wand. Each technique produces different sounds and sensations.

Therefore, when choosing a Tibetan singing bowl for yourself or for someone else, you should consider all these factors as well as your personal preference, purpose, and budget. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to which bowl is best for you. You should experiment with different bowls and find the one that resonates with you and meets your needs.


Get yourself a bowl which resonates with you. Go as big as you can handle or as small as you wish. Listen to the sound, and feel the vibrations. Tibetan singing bowls are amazing.

Nepali Tibetan Singing Bowl
Nepali Tibetan Singing Bowl

4 responses to “Does The Size Really Matter?”
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