The Bowl Pattern

The bowl pattern is a common pattern seen on hair mineral analyses.  The hair must not be washed at the laboratory for accurate assessment of this pattern.

The pattern is defined as a combination of a low sodium/potassium ratio along with a high calcium/magnesium ratio.  More specifically, the sodium/potassium ratio must be less than about 2.5 and the calcium/magnesium ratio must be greater than about 9.5 or 10.

This pattern is associated with feeling stuck, mentally and emotionally, as though one has few options.  One is “in the thick of it” right now.

This pattern is often related to nutritional imbalances.


To understand this pattern, consider the two ratios that it consists of.  A low sodium/potassium ratio is associated with exhaustion, chronic stress, and often frustration, resentment and hostility.

This is combined with a high calcium/magnesium ratio.  This is associated with defensiveness.  One may be defending a lifestyle factor or an attitude that is not helpful for a person.

The combination of these two situations – fatigue, hostility, resentment, frustration – along with defensiveness, it is not surprising that one begins to feel stuck emotionally, mentally and perhaps physically as well.  This is an example of how two interesting patterns on a hair mineral analysis can combine to form another interesting and more complex pattern.

Visual understanding. The bowl pattern is so named because the first four macrominerals on a hair analysis from ARL appear to form the shape of a bowl (this is less obvious when looking at a Trace Elements chart or others), unless one or more of the numbers are off the chart, in which case one cannot use the visual cue to identify the pattern.

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In acupuncture terminology, a bowl pattern is associated with deficiency and yin.  These words, as used in acupuncture, describe a kind of empty feeling in the wrist pulses that the acupuncturist measures.  It corresponds to a kind of emptiness in the body.

This may be due to a nutritional imbalance, and it often is.  However, it can be due to other causes as well that are discussed in acupuncture textbooks.  The many amazing correlations between hair analysis and acupuncture are fascinating, and are discussed in another article entitled Acupuncture.


A bowl pattern may be related to a planned life situation that one is temporarily caught in.  This may seem strange, but at certain times a person can seem to be stuck in a situation, with no apparent way out, in order to learn various lessons for oneself and/or to assist others to learn various lessons



The bowl pattern can indicate that a person is confused, lost or clueless.  This is another interpretation of the bowl pattern that may be helpful for some people.  It is the opposite of the Hill pattern, which is a knowing pattern.

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The bowl pattern is interesting because it combines with other common patterns on a hair analysis, which then skew or influence the shape or nature of the bowl pattern.  Each of the different variants has subtle shades of meaning, though they are not as important as the basic concept of the bowl.  Among the most common variants are:

  1. Fast oxidizer bowl, also called a fast bowl.
  2. Slow oxidizer bowl, also called a slow bowl.
  3. A deep bowl – with very unbalanced Na/K and Ca/Mg ratios
  4. A shallow bowl – fairly good Na/K and Ca/Mg ratios
  5. A low bowl – as found with four lows pattern
  6. A high bowl – as found with a four highs or three highs pattern.
  7. A drastic bowl pattern. This is similar to a deep bowl pattern, but just more extreme.
  8. A double bowl. This is a bowl on the first four minerals AND a bowl on the second four minerals. It looks like one bowl followed by a second bowl.  It reinforces the bowl pattern.
  9. An 8-bowl, also called a large bowl. This is a less uncommon pattern in which the first eight minerals form a bowl pattern. It indicates a more severe bowl pattern.
  10. An L pattern on the first four minerals AND a reverse L pattern on the second four minerals. This forms a square-looking 8-bowl or large bowl. We have not seen it often, and right now are giving it the name of double bad lifestyle.  We believe it has to do with an advanced acupuncture pattern.
  11. A deep four lows bowl. This is a very extreme form of the bowl pattern seen in some cases of four lows pattern. It is defined as:
  12. a bowl pattern, AND
  13. a four lows pattern, AND
  14. a low four lows pattern

Each of the above is a type of “stuck” pattern.  As a result, the combination is a very stuck pattern.

Each of these variants on the bowl pattern can have meaning on a hair mineral analysis.  However, most indicate a more severe bowl pattern.  Here are notes on a few of the variants.


One could quantify bowl patterns as single or double, 8-bowl, deep bowl, four lows bowl and deep four lows bowl.  We don’t usually do this, and we are not sure of how to do it at this time.  Instead, we just refer to the pattern as mild, moderate or extreme.

One could also quantify the pattern in terms of whether it is more slow than fast, or more about an imbalanced calcium/magnesium ratio or an imbalanced sodium/potassium ratio.  Once again, at this time, we have not gone to this degree or extreme in understanding and labeling various bowl patterns.


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