The gong is one of the oldest instruments of healing and has been used for thousands of years in meditation, ceremony and rituals. Today they are used in yoga and meditation classes, sound therapy practice, group gong bath meditations and in palliative and cancer treatment centers to promote health and well-being. They are also a wonderful addition at weddings, family celebrations, workshops, and music festivals.
Grand Gongmaster Don Conreaux
According to Don Conreaux “The secret of the gong is its tremendous potential for healing and rejuvenation.” “Because the gong covers the full spectrum of sound, it vibrates all the cells and bones and organs, some more than others, depending upon the pitch of the gong. You feel an influx of energy coming from it in your body as well as hear it.”
“The gong is more accurately a force of energy, “like a divine engine, affecting the body’s meridians. By and large, after it’s over, you just feel great,” he says. “You feel like you’ve been healed by the spirit of nature. And the wonderful thing about it is that the instruments heal the player while the player is playing the instrument.”
The sounds from the gongs travel from the outer ear throughout the body via the vagus nerve — impacting brain waves, respiratory rate and heart rate.
Sound and vibration help facilitate a deep sense of peace, release tension and blocked energy, and balance the energy centers in the body. They are working at a cellular level to rebalance the physical, emotional and spiritual bodies.
“We call it the Music of Wholeness,” Don explains. “Whereas a lot of modalities read your symptoms and approach the body according to your illness, holistic sound healing works differently from that. What we do is approach the body as if it were already whole and complete, then we fill that body with vibrations that emphasize wholeness and resonance, and whatever the problem, the sound will go to that place that needs it and the body will pull it in and the cells will begin to regain their highest potential of resonance.”
Sound as medicine
“If we accept that sound is vibration and we know that vibration touches every part of our physical being, then we understand that sound is heard not only through our ears but through every cell in our bodies.”
“Sound enters the healing equation from several directions: It may alter cellular functions through energetic effects; it may entrain biological systems to function more homeostatically; it may calm the mind and therefore the body; or it may have emotional effects, which influence neurotransmitters and neuropeptides, which in turn help to regulate the immune system–the healer within.”
Mitchell Gaynor, M.D. a New York oncologist and Clinical Professor of Medicine at Weill Medical College of Cornell University has been using sound healing practices since the early 1990s. He is the author of “The Healing Power of Sound: Recovery from Life-Threatening Illness using Sound, Voice, and Music.”
Good vibrations – how sound works
Everything in the universe vibrates at it’s own unique frequency called a resonant frequency. This includes all of the cells, tissues, and organs of our bodies. When we are healthy, everything in our bodies is vibrating in harmony or resonance. Dis-ease results when a part of our body begins to vibrate at a different rate, out of harmony with the rest. Through the concept of resonance and entrainment, sound can be used to change the vibration of the dis-eased part and bring it back to a healthy state of resonance.
The healing power of gongs and Himalayan singing bowls derives from a natural phenomenon known as entrainment – entraining or synchronizing the body to a certain sound. Entrainment occurs when the powerful vibrations of one object actually change the less powerful vibrations of another object.
Entrainment was first discovered in 1665 by Dutch scientist Christian Huygens. He set up a room full of pendulum clocks with their pendulums swinging at slightly different times. When he returned to the room the next day, he found the sway of the pendulums had all synchronized.
As gongs and singing bowls are sounded, the powerful rhythmic vibrations resonate throughout the body. The sound of these harmonic vibrations stimulates the alpha and theta brain waves associated with deep meditative and peaceful states that are highly conducive to healing. They also slow down the heart and respiratory rate, creating a therapeutic effect upon mind and body. When the brain waves and body are synchronized, balance can be restored and stress released.
For many people, stress has become a way of life. When we are stressed, our bodies release hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline which make our hearts race and our breathing rate faster and shallower. These hormones can leave us feeling anxious and unsettled. Long-term stress causes a range of ailments including high blood pressure, insomnia, heart disease and digestive problems. Not only does stress damage the quality of our lives, it reduces the body’s ability to heal and fight disease.
The soothing effect of being bathed in an ocean of sound creates a profound relaxation and is helpful in reducing the stress that is so harmful to healthy living.
Effect of sound on cancer cells
Sound is now being used as an important part of the healing process for cancer patients as it helps calm the mind and body and assists in the management of pain.
In the early 80’s Fabien Maman, a French musician, acupuncturist and bio-energetician, devoted one and a half years studying the effects of sound on human cells. Experimenting with various acoustic sounds including the human voice, gong, acoustical guitar and xylophone, he found the vibrations actually transformed the cell structure. The human voice produced the most dramatic results – exploding cancer cells and energizing healthy ones; however, the rich overtones of the gong being played for 21 minutes also caused the cancer cells to disintegrate and ultimately explode.
Sound and molecular structure
Sound healing pioneer Jonathan Goldman, Director of the Sound Healers Association and the author of “Healing Sounds” and “The 7 Secrets of Sound Healing” states: “When we talk about sound healing, we’re dealing with an energy, a power that has the ability to rearrange molecular structure.”
The power of the voice
One of the most powerful instruments for healing and transformation is the human voice. Singing, overtoning and the chanting of mantras profoundly affect our well-being due to their therapeutic and calming influence.
Sanskrit mantras are energy based sounds that vibrate throughout the body and chanting these sacred sounds of power can bring us to a higher level of consciousness. The human body is over 70% water and since sound travels five times more efficiently through water than through air, it is an excellent conductor for sound and vibration.
According to Thomas Ashley-Farrand, author of “Healing Mantras” “These ancient sounds create energy vibrations that can replace negative energy with positive ones. When chanting Sanskrit mantras, the chanter benefits from thousands of years of powerful energy accumulated from the Divine and from the millions of devoted chanters.”
Sound in the workplace
Major corporations are employing the use of sound in a variety of creative ways to counter the effects of workplace stress. The California corporate headquarters of Toyota have a unique approach for overcoming stress and building morale with their ‘Toyota drum circle.’
‘Drumming away stress’ sessions are also being offered by New York psychotherapist Robert Friedman for a range of clients including companies such as Pitney Bowe, Xerox and Time-Warner.
Dr. Jeffrey Thompson, Director of the Center for Neuroacoustic Research, has developed programs using sound for Nike, Cisco Systems and Mattel that enhance creativity, productivity and health and wellness.
Sound in mind, sound in body
Hemi-sync and Holosync technology employ sound frequencies to achieve optimum brainwave entrainment with their binaural beat CD programs. They are scientifically proven to be effective in reducing stress and improving sleep and concentration.
Author of “Tuning the Human Instrument”, Steven Halpern creates healing music that is very nurturing to body, mind and soul. Steven affirms: “toning is an activity that releases and allows the natural flow of energy to move through one’s body.”
Guided imagery tapes by psychotherapist Belleruth Naparstek benefit major institutions and people worldwide for their positive effect on health. Imagery increases relaxation and helps reduce symptoms of anxiety, stress, depression, pain, trauma and many other conditions. Naparstek is the author of “Staying Well with Guided Imagery” and “Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal.”
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Sound and music have profound effects on our physiology – awakening the memory of wholeness and entraining the body toward greater harmony and balance.
All matter vibrates at a personal frequency – is your body vibrating at it’s optimal level?
This article is from the Great Gong Master Don Conreaux