A crystal healing bowl is a type of singing bowl made from crushed silicon crystals. Singings bowls are ancient toning devices that have traditionally been made from a bronze alloy and used in Buddhist monasteries throughout the Orient to support meditation and prayer. When struck lightly with a stick wrapped in leather or cloth, each bowl produces a characteristic tone which can be sustained by lightly moving the stick around its rim, thus making it "sing." A crystal healing bowl is a modern innovation that enthusiasts claim produces clearer, more precise tones than a metal bowl.
The raw material for a crystal healing bowl is silica sand. It is dropped into a mold and spun until the centrifugal force distributes it in the precise form of the bowl, then an electric arc torch is applied to heat the sand to a temperature around 4000°C (7000°F). The heat fuses the individual silicon quartz crystals in the sand into an amorphous glass-like material that can have a clear or frosted surface. Clear bowls are more difficult to produce than frosted ones and are thought to create a purer tone, so they are typically more expensive.
Above and beyond the ability of a crystal healing bowl to deepen meditation practice, its usefulness extends into areas of healing that involve the energetic vortices of the human body known as the chakras. A bowl can be molded to produce a tone that corresponds to a particular chakra, and a collection of bowls, each producing the characteristic tone of a chakra, can be used to balance and open the chakras. When used for this purpose, crystal healing bowl therapy is often combined with other methods of healing, such as color, aroma, and gemstone therapy.
The size of a crystal healing bowl can vary from 6 to 20 inches (15.24 to 50.8 centimeters), which is a measure of the diameter of the bowl opening. It is usually supplied with an O-ring made of rubber or cloth and a wooden striker covered in suede or another cushioning material to dampen its impact. When the bowl is placed on the O-ring to isolate it from the surface on which it is sitting or held in the hand and struck lightly, it produces a clear, unambiguous tone. The sound waves of two or more bowls struck simultaneously interfere to create a characteristic beat pattern that can stand on its own as a type of musical composition as well as contribute to a therapeutic healing agenda.