The search for a way to achieve stress relief and deep relaxation takes us back to the ancient practice of sound therapy. This is one of the oldest healing approaches in history, and modern science has recognised its benefits.
Sound therapy is based on the premise that everything in our lives, including our body, is made up of vibrations. If the vibrations lose the proper rhythm, an individual’s physical and mental state experiences discord as well.
When there is a conscious application of sound frequencies, this can bring about healing. Sound therapy is the conscious application of sound frequencies for healing. Using vibrations brings the individual back to a state of harmony of mind, body and spirit. In fact, studies have shown that sound therapy can affect brain waves and encourage the healing process.
How Gong Sound Impacts Our Body
Sound healing can be achieved using different instruments that generate frequencies. And one of the most prominent instruments used is the gong. It has been used throughout history as a ceremonial and healing instrument, with origins dating back to 3,000 B.C.
Gongs have a distinct, rich sound. When the gong produces sound waves, our dermatomes – nerves that relay sensation – are stimulated and send signals to the brain. The gong sound enables us to reach a meditative state, which can help ease pain and other sensory issues.
The gong sound has been proven to eliminate headaches, migraines, spinal pains and other injuries. One expert, Yogi Bhajan, even developed a programme where the gong is used to treat drug addiction.
Gong baths are performed in various parts of the world, largely thanks to the endorsement of Don Ayerdon Conreaux, the world’s best-known gong master who started the practice in 1969 under the tutelage of Yogi Bhajan and Paramahansa Yogananda.
For Conreaux, the gong is not merely an instrument, but ‘a power tool’ that can help overcome stress and related health problems.
His teachings illustrate that the gong sound helps enable energy paths to flow smoothly over the body. This way, the body restores physical and mental balance, which leads to health, peace of mind and access to a higher level of consciousness.
In a Gong Bath, participants are covered with blankets and comfortably lie down on soft sleeping mats. The gong creates an ocean of sound that sends gentle ripples throughout the entire body to calm, relax and soothe.
Gong Baths and Entrainment
Changing the gong sound throughout the session prevents it from sounding monotonous. When the sounds are right, the gong bath leads to entrainment, a form of beneficially arranged brainwave frequencies. Alpha and theta brainwaves can be reached.
The vibrations send the group into a deeply relaxed state. The heart rate gradually slows, blood pressure lowers, and the breathing rhythm becomes calm. The entire body resonates with the sound, and the mind is sent to a meditative state where a sense of deep awareness and wholeness is achieved.
Generally, participants feel relaxed and recovered after the sound session, with some even reporting seeing different colours, a sense of heaviness in their legs and arms, and sensations in body parts that have undergone surgery or trauma.
Gong Sound Meditation and Stress
Stress is something we experience every day in many forms, be it physical, mental or emotional. When we experience stress, our bodies release hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, directly impacting blood pressure, glucose levels and immune functions.
And we all know that prolonged and consistent exposure to stress causes hormonal imbalance related to high blood pressure, heart disease, depression and insomnia, to name just a few.
Gong baths can eliminate these everyday stresses. Scientific evidence suggests that sound therapy using gongs encourages damaged DNA strands to repair themselves. Also, tones can liberate emotional blockages, healing both mind and body.
In a Slovenian study of 100 gong bath enthusiasts, participants shared that gong baths primarily improve their psychosocial condition and give them fresh motivation for their work.
Gong sounds are quite powerful in that they can stimulate the vital organs in our bodies. For instance, a gong bath can have a profound effect on the nervous system where trauma is usually stored. Gong therapy can aid in the treatment of drug abuse as well as other forms of addiction.
The meditative state that gong sounds elicit can also help relieve health issues like high blood pressure, depression, insomnia and chronic pain. Some specialists are even using sound therapy for cancer patients.
It Can Impact Everybody
What’s amazing about gong bath as a form of therapy is that it doesn’t require certain beliefs or a specific set of skills for its benefits to be experienced. We don’t have to ascribe to a particular religion; we don’t have to study anything prior to trying it.
As explained by Richard Rudis, a Tibetan Buddhist, human beings have an innate capacity to absorb rhythm. Even before birth, we are already exposed to the sounds of heartbeats and breathing. For him, benefiting from sound therapy is possible for everyone. ‘We’re all attuned to it immediately,’ he says. ‘There are no prerequisites . . . All you have to do is just be there and have an open heart and lie down.’
Whatever your background, people from all walks of life feel more centered, relaxed and revitalised after a gong bath.
Gong sound meditation is a worthwhile therapeutic activity for everyone. We know that music can instantly change the mood of a person – even an entire group – and that’s how a gong bath works.
Our day-to-day lives can be filled with stress that can result in imbalance. What we could do is ease those imbalances by immersing ourselves in highly beneficial activities such as sound therapy. Being bathed in sound that intentionally puts our minds and bodies into a meditative and healing state is a fantastic way to bring wellness back into our lives.
With gong sound meditation, we have an easily accessible healing process that creates a profound experience for anyone who tries it.