by Dr. Lawrence Wilson

© February 2024, LD Wilson Consultants, Inc.

All information in this article is for educational purposes only.  It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.

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 2.5 and the calcium/magnesium ratio must be greater than 9.5.


This pattern is associated with feeling stuck, mentally and/or emotionally, as though one has few options.  One is “in the thick of it” right now. I think of a spider caught in a toilet bowl, unable to climb out.

This pattern is often related to nutritional imbalances, because when a person follows a development program, the pattern often goes away within three to twelve months.


To understand this pattern, consider the two ratios of which it contains.  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, unless one or more of the numbers are off the chart, in which case one cannot use the visual cue to identify the pattern.


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.


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 – 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. Large bowls.  These are bowl patterns that involve more than four minerals.  One can have a 5-mineral bowl or 5-bowl, a 6-bowl a 7-bowl or an 8-bowl.

These are somewhat less uncommon patterns.  They indicate feeling trapped and the bigger the bowl the more of one’s life it affects.

10. A triple.  This is three bowls on one test.  Often they are on the first four minerals, the first 7 or eight minerals, and the remaining 4 or 5 minerals.  This is a more intense bowl pattern that usually indicates a life out of balance.

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:

1. a bowl pattern, AND

2. a four lows pattern, AND

3. 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 has meaning on a hair mineral analysis.  However, most indicate a more severe bowl pattern.


A 1X bowl is a mild or moderate bowl pattern without four lows and only involves the first four minerals or only the second four minerals.

A 2X bowl can be a bowl on the first four AND a bowl on the second four minerals.  It could also be an extreme or deep bowl.

A 3X bowl is usually a combination of the above (double bowl or deep bowl) AND a mild four lows pattern because four lows is also a stuck pattern.

A 4X is the above AND a low four lows on either the first four minerals or the second four minerals.

A 5X is the above AND a low four lows on both the first and the second four minerals.

A 6X is the above AND an extreme or deep bowl pattern.

Other possibilities that would add to the number of the pattern would be more than two bowls on one test.  There could also be more than one extreme bowl and this would raise the X number, as well.

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