What is a gong bath meditation?
Over the past few years, gong bath meditation has grown to be one of my favourite things. They are my go-to restorative practice in times of stress or dis-ease, yet they are so much more than just about relaxing.
A lot of people have asked me, what is a gong bath? So here, I hope to give a clear overview of sound baths – as there is more than just gongs. As well as dispel some myths, talk about some of my own experiences in sound healings and outline the benefits.
Time for your bath.
The first thing to clear up is it’s not literally a bath. No water is involved. No tub. But instead refers to the fact you are bathed in sound – the vibrations wash over you. Furthermore, because you don’t have to ‘do’ anything it’s somewhat of a misnomer to call a gong bath ‘meditation’. There is no need to actively cultivate mindfulness as the sound waves do the ‘work’ for you.
Here’s the science:
Sound healing is nothing new; it can be traced back to many ancient civilizations as much as 3,500 years ago, with each culture having its own variation and instruments. But modern-day science is catching up with the concept that sound can be a healing practice.
Before the nuclear age, the common perception was that everything was made up of matter. Then, scientists split the atom and discovered that this isn’t the case; everything in the Universe is made up of energy, vibrating at different frequencies. Similarly, even things that appear ‘solid’ are oscillating at the molecular level. This includes you.
Now, think of your biological frequency like a radio station: when it’s at its optimal vibration, the signal is clear. When it oscillates at an abnormal rate – be it irregular, too fast or too slow – it disrupts the transmission, and there is white noise. In human terms, this white noise can be emotional, physical or mental imbalances.
Still with me? Good ☺
How do you fix a frequency that is out of alignment?
Well, when there is the introduction of parallel frequency that carries the same optimal vibration, it corrects the other vibration.
For example, if something has an optimal frequency of 7.8hertz (Hz), but for whatever is transmitting at 152 Hz. Exposing the thing to a transmitter with a rate of 7.8 Hz will realign it back to its ideal vibration, until both are oscillating at 7.8Hz.
It is the same in a sound bath: the instruments transmit the full spectrum of frequencies. One of the rates will match your own biological vibration and help to correct any fluctuations.
Sound healing also activates the parasympathetic nervous system. This is because the vibrations of sound activate our brainwaves (the communication between neurons within our brains) to move from beta into an alpha state. In layman’s terms, we go from a flight-or-fight mode, as is the case for most of our normal waking state, into a deep sense of relaxation and calm.
Types of sound baths:
Crystal bowls are 99.992% pure crushed quartz each tuned to specific vibrational frequencies (notes) found within the human body. If you would like to hear an example of crystal bowls (played by one of my favourite artists) click here.
The quality of sound from crystal bowls is very harmonious, soft and profoundly angelic.
Alchemic crystal bowls
Crystal Tones Alchemy Singing Bowls are similar to their quartz crystal counterparts but blended with other materials. Such as healing gemstones, sacred earths and precious metals. They offer a sound bath like no other!
Gong Bath Meditation
Gongs are mainly bronze and brass, but other alloys. They vary in diameter from 7 to 80 inches. G, that gongs are birthed rather than made, and considered living beings. Their sound tends to carry a deeper and dramatic resonance that is more enveloping than the bowls.
Working with Intention
Any gong or bowl master worth their salt will have you set an intention before embarking on any sound bath unless perhaps it is your first time. And this intention can be as straightforward as finding some time to relax. Moreover, having something specific to work towards means you are more likely to get the most out of your experience; it brings the ‘healing’ aspect into ‘sound healing’.
For instance, before one of my sound journeys, I worked to discover where my fractured energy lay. Where I had been giving too much of myself, or what areas in my life, I’m giving up my power. It was in this particular gong bath I met my Power Animal – nothing better for reclaiming your lost power than a Power Animal!
Indeed, you can work with any aim. For example, to work through a complicated relationship in your life, to call in a Spirit Guide, and one I love to work with – to celebrate!
Also, a gong master told me that between every one to ten sound baths, you ‘go up’ a spiritual level. For instance, the removal of energetic blockages, a message received or perhaps something more subtle. After which you receive another shift after the next one to ten baths. As a result, I implore you to try and try again with a sounds bath, because you might not feel any difference on your first or second try, you’ll grow to love them and get more out of them.
A couple of other great things to do with sound baths:
Take along your crystals! Just like your biological frequencies, the stones too have their own vibration that a sound bath can realign.
Be sure to take along a notebook and pen – so often I thought I’d remember what I experienced or learned, but much like any meditative and deeply relaxed states, I’d forget the moment I stepped out into the busy world!
Don’t drink any alcohol preferably twenty-four hours before or after the sound bath and drink lots and lots of water afterwards; you get very dehydrated from a sound bath as your body tries to purge toxins and defilements from your system.
Leave in the comments below your best sound bath experiences.
My name is Fiongal Greenlaw. I am the founder of The Wellness Foundry, London.
Several years ago, my health hit crisis point because of the constant pressure I was putting on myself. So I began a journey to find a solution to my condition:
I discovered many incredible practices, and my relief was so great, that I was driven to share these treatments with others. Since then I feel as though I have aligned with my life’s purpose: to help others on their journey.