Sound therapy has long been used to manage a variety of health conditions. This practice stems from the understanding that all matter vibrates at different frequencies, including our very own cells. Factors such as stress, depression and disease cause our bodies to vibrate at ultra-low frequencies.
Gong meditation is a unique type of sound meditation that involves playing a gong with an aim to bring about therapeutic healing. This practice is also referred to as a gong bath, mainly because an individual is usually bathed in the meditation gong sound waves. While this practice is referred to as meditation, strictly speaking it is really a separate activity that can be practiced but is not a substitute for genuine mindfulness meditation practice.
How is gong meditation practiced?
Individuals who perform gong baths usually do it while lying down on their backs. To make yourself comfortable, carry a meditation mat, a pillow and a blanket when attending a gong meditation class. All that’s required is for you to lie down in a comfortable position, relax and close your eyes gently. Next, consider the present moment mindfully and listen to your instructor as he guides you through the session. The gong is initially played very softly. As the meditation session progresses, the volume is increased gradually. And since the purpose of the meditation gong sound is purely therapeutic, the volume is never amped to unbearable levels.
The gong playing technique is changed frequently to avoid sustaining a fixed, monotonous rhythm. This results to entrainment, a process in which brainwave frequencies change. Your brain first achieves the Alpha brainwave state that exists in frequencies lying between 8 and 12 Hertz. Alpha brain waves are associated with feelings of relaxation. In this state, individuals experience daydreams, associative thinking and elevated imagination. This is quickly followed by an influx of Theta brainwaves. Theta waves fall within the frequencies lying between 4 – 7 Hz. Activities related to theta brainwave state occur either when you’re deep in meditation or during REM sleep.
Gong meditation benefits
Meditation gong sound therapy has been practiced for thousands of years. It is believed that gong baths help to reduce stress as well as opening up your emotional blockages. Scientific evidence suggests that sound therapy causes human DNA strands to auto-repair when they get damaged. Not only does playing certain tones promote vitality and healing, it may also enhance your happiness. A large number of alternative healthcare clinics utilize different sound techniques in the management of certain ailments. This attests to the incredible gong meditation benefits that patients can accrue once they try sound therapy.
Apart from gong meditation, there’s a variety of alternative techniques used during sound therapy. They include tuning forks, Tibetan singing bowls, chanting and drumming therapy. Participants often get strong emotional experiences during their therapy sessions. Sometimes, people are encouraged to let out all their negative emotions through screaming, moaning and similar expressions.
Research-based perks of meditation gong sound therapy
A research that was spearheaded by one Dr. Hashim Ahmed in the United Kingdom reported that 90% of male prostate cancer patients were successfully cured using sound wave therapy. Furthermore, no harmful side effects were exhibited. A similar study was conducted by the German Klaus Tschira Foundation to study the effects of sound therapy on tinnitus. The results were eye-opening: a variety of sound therapy techniques were found to reduce symptoms of chronic tinnitus significantly. Patients reported a dramatic reduction in the symptoms they previously exhibited. Doctors further took MRI images of the patients’ brains to ascertain whether the therapy truly worked. Some brain areas believed to trigger the undesirable symptoms of tinnitus were activated. While there is a lot of criticism raised by certain individuals concerning the healing power of gong meditation there is also a lot of evidence that it can be beneficial.
Clearly, sounds and words are more than tools of communication – they are powerful forces that have a direct impact on our health and general wellness that are scientifically based. But an even more beneficial tool is actually performing mindfulness meditation practice. Thinking of trying out mindfulness meditation yourself? Try looking around for meditation classes or download the Mindworks: Guided Meditation App. It contains a valuable assortment of daily meditations, Mind Talks and similar resources that will enrich your meditation practice.