What is a Gong Sound Meditation & Relaxation Session?
Often referred to as a 'Gong Bath' a gong sound meditation and relaxation session can be experienced in a large or small group setting or on a one-to-one basis. Large groups are normally held in local venues such as village halls, healing centres etc. Smaller groups and one-to-one sessions are at my home in a dedicated therapy space.
During a gong bath attendees lie down on a mat and cover themselves with a blanket if needed. Some people prefer to relax on a chair, each person makes their own choice according to their preferences.
After an initial relaxation sequence I play the gongs - and sometimes other percussion instruments- for about 45 minutes.
This is followed by a few minutes silence as the sound vibrations fade away and we bring our awareness back to the present.
What does a gong bath feel like?
There is a longer explanation of how gong baths work in the paragraphs below. Essentially what happens is that the mysterious and compelling sounds of the gong carry no tune that our minds can follow, try as we might. So the mind quickly gives up and enters into the theta brainwave state. This is the level of consciousness associated with deep meditation.
Everyone's experience of a gong bath is unique to them. In fact, regular attendees even have different experiences from gong bath to gong bath.
Common feelings reported include:
Deep relaxation - being aware of one's surroundings and yet unable to hold a thought or concern in one's mind.
Floating and dreamy - some people have images and memories passing through their consciousness. Again, they don't stay, rather they waft through the minds eye.
Flashes of insight and clarity, maybe about life situations or events etc.
Seeing and feeling colours and hearing other sounds developing out of the gong vibrations.
Very deep sleep-like state.
A sensation of energy moving through the body.
Gong sounds can also affect how we feel after the gong bath. People often report an increase in energy in the days following. Or feelings of tiredness, as if they are de-toxing. Ailments may change or resolve. Decisions that have been put-off may be made. There may be a period of reflection and sometimes euphoria. Any of these and more effects may be experienced by those attending a gong bath and can be affected by their life situation, current needs and intention.
How does sound therapy work?
Sound was used in ancient civilisations such as Egyptian and in the Far East for ceremony, ritual and healing. In the past few decades sound vibration has become increasingly popular. It is used for entering a meditative state of consciousness, for relaxation and as a holistic healing modality with many benefits being reported across the globe.
Physicists have discovered that all matter is vibrating energy - from the most solid-seeming rocks and stones to the cells in our body. Each and every thing in creation vibrates at it's own frequency. In the human body the vibratory rate of a cell, an organ or system can be changed by ill health; slowed down so that symptoms of disease appear.
Our bodies are made of up to 60% water which is an excellent conductor of sound. It is believed by sound therapists that the vibrations created by their chosen instruments can bring about a synergy with the energy and physical system of the person experiencing them. The harmonious frequency of the sounds produced re-tune the cells and can lead to a re-balancing and better health and well-being.
Brainwaves are the electrical impulses of the neurons in our brains communicating. The waves vibrate (oscillate) at different speeds and are indicative of the state of consciousness we are in. For instance:
Beta brainwaves are present in our normal waking state, when we are alert, problem-solving and aware of the outside world (and all its worries!).
Delta waves vibrate at a slow frequency and occur when we are in deep meditation and dreamless sleep. It is believed that in this state the optimum regeneration and healing can occur.
Theta level of consciousness is that which we experience just as we are drifting off to sleep or waking up. It is also experienced in deep meditation. In this state we can access imagery and information beyond our normal beta level.
Alpha waves are present when we are quietly experiencing gentle flowing thoughts, being in the present moment.
Each gong is tuned to a different frequency. As they are played they create other frequencies. It is thought harmonious gong vibrations can act as a type of healing magnet - a blueprint, if you like. Any imbalances in our system will be re-balanced as our brainwaves move into harmony with the sound vibrations. This is called 'entrainment'.
Once this occurs our systems - both physical and more subtle energy systems - can work towards optimum health and well-being. Accessing the innate wisdom of our bodies, deep relaxation can occur opening us to profound energy changes that can affect every area of our lives.