Physiological and psychological effects of a Himalayan singing bowl in meditation practice: a quantitative analysis

Am J Health Promot. 2014 May-Jun;28(5):306-9. doi: 10.4278/ajhp.121031-ARB-528. Epub 2013 Aug 13.


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.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect / physiology
  • Aged
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meditation / methods*
  • Meditation / psychology
  • Middle Aged