GONG BATH™ – What’s all the Noise About?!
(written by Ann Martin, Sound Energy Practitioner, Centennial, CO)
The “gong bath™” has become a popular wellness practice. People come to shed their stress (not their clothes!) and take a psycho-acoustic getaway to heightened states of consciousness.
What is a Gong Bath™?
A gong bath™ can look like a big slumber party; everyone lays down on thick pads around the gong and is “bathed” in waves of resonance from these ancient instruments for an hour or two. Using a variety of mallets, the gong-master can create complex combinations of tones and sounds that often mimick singing dolphins, spaceships, freight trains, blowing wind, and thundering waterfalls, to name a few. In most gong concerts, there is a long, loud crescendo toward the end which helps the nervous system liberate fears or emotional obstacles and allow pure presence to emerge. A blanket of silence ends the session and then participants are verbally guided back to the present moment.
How a Gong Can Improve Wellness
Gong meditation is an ancient form of sound therapy to bring about release, healing, deep relaxation, and transformation. The gong induces a holistic resonance in the body and a spontaneous meditative state in the mind, resulting in a sense of expanded awareness and wholeness. The "sonic massage" of a gong bath™ uses strong vibrations to relax muscles, awaken the organs, penetrate the bones and potentially ease pain. Scientific studies prove that sound therapy from gongs can detoxify the blood and activate the parasympathetic nervous system so the body’s self-healing abilities can be deployed. As incessant mind-chatter ceases, the subconscious mind finds a deep peaceful place where connection with True Self is possible.
Energetically, gong work is the "fast-track" to clearing, unblocking and aligning the meridians and chakras. Most people leave a gong immersion feeling refreshed and renewed because of the gong’s ability to raise an individuals’ vibratory frequency and restore their intrinsic state of balance.
How to Receive Gong Work
To get the most out of a gong sound bath, try being an active listener, using the sound and vibration to remain present in the experience. Encourage the mind to be creative and apply colors or textures to the soundscape. Experiment with breathing in the sound or following the vibration as it resonates in the body. Most importantly, receive the performance with the whole self (not just the ears) as a listening presence; allowing all the sound and vibration to wash over you, without resistance. Once finished, drink plenty of water since gong work is a detoxifying event. Pay attention to dreams, or new thoughts that emerge post gong bath as these could be clear communications from a higher source.
Where to Find a Gong Bath™
You can find a variety of gong healing events at local yoga studios, churches, event halls, and wellness venues. Search online for any of the “gong” terms used in this publication (gong bath™, gong healing, gong work, etc.) Don’t forget to bring a thick pad and pillows for comfort, some water, and an open mind to receive all the transformational benefits of a gong bath™!
Ann Martin takes a modern approach to gong work based on her background as a musician and sound energy practitioner. She owns three lively gongs and a multitude of singing bowls used in meditative concerts, private sound sessions, special events and retreats.
(NOTE: The term “gong bath” has been trade marked by Richard Rudis of Encinitas, CA. He gave special permission for me to use it in this article in a general sense. It cannot be used to describe an event in a marketing sense that does not follow the craft and tradition that composes the sound healing technique that he has developed.)
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