Purpose: To determine the physiological and psychological effects of adding a Himalayan singing bowl (HSB) to a directed relaxation (DR) session.
Design: Randomized crossover study.
Setting: Community-based counseling practice.
Subjects: Fifty-one participants completed two randomly assigned sessions beginning with either 12 minutes of HSB or silence, followed by a 20-minute DR session.
Intervention: Random order of HSB intervention/silence prior to DR.
Measures: Blood pressure (BP), heart rate (HR), Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) scores measured before and after both sessions.
Analysis: Analysis of variance (ANOVA) compared differences between variables over time between both study days, and analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) analyzed changes from baseline, controlling for baseline, age, and sex.
Results: Fifty-one participants completed both sessions. There was a greater decline in systolic BP (p = .044) and HR (p = .003) with HSB compared to silence prior to DR. Changes in diastolic BP were greater with HSB, with a nonsignificant trend (p = .073). Hypertensive subjects (n = 20) had similar and significant BP changes with HSB and silence when compared to normotensive subjects (n = 31). PANAS scores fell significantly with both interventions.
Conclusions: BP and HR responses were enhanced by HSB exposure. HSB may be used as an adjunct to DR to produce physiological and psychological responses prior to DR.