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Photo Feature | The hidden powers of healing bowls

Pratik Rayamajhi

Pratik Rayamajhi

Photo Feature | The hidden powers of healing bowls

Patients are usually made to lie supine or sit cross-legged for the therapy, which is sometimes accompanied by a guided meditation session | Photos: Pratik Rayamajhi/ApEx

The ubiquitous singing bowls we see in curio shops at popular tourist destinations in Kathmandu valley are more than souvenirs. So says Hasina Shakya, who specializes in singing bowl therapy. “They are sacred and possess amazing healing powers,” she says.

Shakya is a therapist at Amoga Handicrafts and Healing Bowl Center, located inside the premises of the Golden Temple in Patan, Lalitpur. On this day she was administering therapy on her own husband, who cannot walk properly.

Shakya swears by the healing powers of the singing bowls. “He could not even leave his wheelchair before. But after two years of regular therapy he can walk a short distance with external support,” she says.

Singing bowls—or healing bowls, in therapy parlance—come in all shapes and sizes, and each has a specific purpose. The sounds and vibrations they emanate are said to promote not just mental and bodily relaxation but also to clear energy blockages that supposedly result in illnesses. This healing approach is generally associated with Buddhism, but Shakya says people of all faiths come for therapy.

Patients are usually made to lie supine or sit cross-legged for the therapy, which is sometimes accompanied by a guided meditation session. The bowls are used to produce ringing sound of various tones and lengths, either by a gentle strike of a wooden mallet or by the mallet’s swirling round the bowl’s rim.         

Rajesh Shahi, who runs a small souvenir shop at Kathmandu’s Basantapur, says he has been selling singing bowls and working as a therapist for the past 40 years. Like Shakya, he too is a staunch believer of the healing bowl therapy. “It works wonders, particularly if you are stressed or feeling agitated,” he says.

Shanta Shakya, who practices Reiki, a Japanese form of energy healing, at Thamel’s Dynamic Healing Center, says the therapy is about “sharing positive energy with the clients”. “The therapist can share her own or someone else’s energy to heal her clients,” she adds.

Singing bowls indeed produce a calm, relaxing sound, no one can argue against that. But as for their healing powers, all reported benefits are anecdotal. Why don’t you give it a try one of these days and find out for yourself?