Why the gong?

Using the gong for therapy is not new, it has been around for about 5000 years – since the bronze age. It was used for communication, healing, and ceremonies. Nowadays, sound is also commonly used in health through ultrasound and infrasound, and is the subject of much research in health.

We are now using sound waves to break up calcium in blocked arteries (research in the Journal of American College of Cardiology) and to encourage bone growth for broken bones and in osteoporosis (The Telegraph).  Clumps of harmful proteins that interfere with brain functions have been partially cleared in mice using nothing but light and sound. Research led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has found strobe lights and a low pitched buzz can be used to recreate brain waves lost in disease, which in turn remove plaque and improve cognitive function in mice engineered to display Alzheimer’s like behaviour. (Science Alert).

A new ultrasound technique is being developed that may allow cancerous tumors to be liquefied without the use of chemotherapy or electromagnetic radiation. This technique, known as histotripsy, uses ultrasound to mechanically destroy cancerous or other targeted tissues. This is a departure from traditional ultrasound therapy, which destroys tissues using heat (Natural News).

Sound is energy that we can hear. Sound is vibration and sound travels through gas, liquids and solids at different speed, moving faster when there is a greater density of molecules. Sound travels 5 times faster through water than air, so the vibrations can be deeply felt in the body which is comprised predominantly of fluid.

  • Sound travels even faster through metal due to its high density explaining how the gong is such a resounding orchestra of tones, given the types of metals used and its unique design.
  • The gong sound waves literally enter into every cell of the body and re-arrange molecules. It works to release blockages at all levels, emotional, psychological, physical and spiritual.
  • Everything is in a constant state of vibration or resonance including every part and system within the human body, organs, glands, tissues, bones, nervous system. If the vibrations become discordant or lose their rhythm it can lead to dis–ease (disease). When in this state the body has different resonant frequencies of patterns. Sound therapy is the conscious therapeutic application of sound frequencies for the purpose of healing – making whole again, with the intention of bringing people back into the state of harmony of the mind body and spirit.

The gong sound waves directly enter the body and affect change at the cellular level, re-arranging the molecules and forming new energy pathways. The sound waves can break apart energy blockages, the physical sound waves simply move the energy around the body wherever it is blocked and engage the body’s naturally healing capacity.

Inflammation in the body can be a result of physical pain or injury. The swelling causes the pain as there is a restriction of blood flow resulting in an energy blockage.

Because the gong sound waves are physical they enter into the body at the cellular level and effect deep change. The sound waves force the energy to start moving again to aid in the repair process.

It can feel intense as the gong waves blast through infected areas that are congested. Relief can be felt as circulation improves because the sound waves are physically entering into the cells so when things are tight and rigid this loosening process may be uncomfortable initially. The sound waves get the energy and circulation moving again.

  • The gong is used to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression, and physical pain as it can reduce inflammation and speed up recovery time.

The main benefit from sound baths is relaxation, lots of people find stress-related conditions ease – from headaches to digestive problems – and they sleep much better.  Of course, stress can influence your whole body, so reducing it can ease many conditions.

  • It induces a meditative state, slowing down brain wave frequencies so there is less mental activity, and opens the body into an accelerated state of healing.

Sound can help trigger shifts in your brainwave state through a process known as ‘entrainment’, where steady frequency and rhythm synchronise brainwaves. In a sound therapy session, your usual beta brainwave state, keeping you in conscious high alert, relaxes into alpha – a relaxed state of consciousness – or even theta, the meditative state, or delta, which is sleep.

Meditation also creates this relaxed brainwave state. Many people, however, find it hard to meditate. With sound you don’t need skills or experience or have to make so much effort – just listen! – you can lie back and let the sound do the work for you.

  • It can heighten spiritual awareness, as imagery, insights and visions may arise while you listen to the sounds.

Most frequently, individuals’ experiences are related to seeing different colours, visions, slight pains, that can be sensed in the body parts where fractures or surgeries had occurred, numbness or pins and needles in some body parts, and a sense of heavy legs and arms. Generally, the users of sound baths feel relaxed and recovered afterwards.

Since body cells exposed to sound vibrate strongly and remove toxins it is necessary to drink large quantities of water so that the body can cleanse, and flush the toxins through.

  • Reduce monkey mind or negative self talk

Research in neuroscience shows that neural development occurs when we are deeply engaged in an activity that takes all of our attention; more and faster connections are made (cell, dendrites and axons); and richer blood supply. When we are not engaged the Default Mode Network (DMN) becomes active – negative self talk or the monkey mind. These self generating thoughts can be useful, but also has a social-threat response side to it. When we are thinking about our own lives and problems etc it can be rather threatening (“will they like me?” “can I do a good job on this?”,”did I say the right thing to Mary?”) and so the stress-response is easily activated when thinking about ourselves. So, we can long for a short period of respite from our extreme self-awareness – a time when we can ‘forget ourselves’.

We can all relate to just dwelling on our symptoms when there is nothing else to do, and fretting. Our DMN can naturally become very active in these life-threatening or worrying situations. Studies have now revealed that depression is linked to overactivity in the DMN. So forgetting ourselves using sound may be a good way to reduce stress.

References

Goldsby et al (2017) Effects of Singing Bowl Sound Meditation on Mood,Tension, and Well-being: An Observational Study Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine 2017, Vol. 22(3) 401-406

Pesek A, Bratina T (2016) Gong and Its Therapeutic Meaning. Muzikoloski Zbornik Musicological AnnualLII/2.

Wells J (2018) Gong Consciousness.  Choiceless Awareness Communications Ltd. USA.