Gong Bath

Summary: Gong baths are a new trend of relaxation and detoxification as well, as an ancient healing therapy. I write about this interesting topic and explain what happens during a session of sound therapy and how it it can improve your life.

Healing by sound? Does that actually work?

Sure it does, but please do not imagine that you can just pop in for a quick session  of Gong Bath in your lunch break, where listen to a master creating some enchanted sound, and all your problems get sorted. It doesn’t work that way. What is Gong Bath anyway? In short, it is an ancient, healing sound therapy. Gongs are amazing vibrational tools to help you to relax in a deeply meditative state; it is a practice for the body and for the mind. Participating in the therapy is just as important, as preparing to join one.

Gong Bath can be done as a one-to-one, or as a group session.The gongs offer extremely soothing, detoxifying, and rejuvenating relaxation. The intensive meditation often leads to a state of deep sleep, that aids sleeping disorders, and certain memory loss as well. Gong baths help us to reach back and connect with nature, instead of searching relaxation and peace with medications, electronics and other unnatural sources.

The healing properties of Sound

Objects around us vibrate at various frequencies creating different sounds. Sometimes we hear these sounds, and often not at all. These vibrational sounds can make us bothered and unsettled, as well as to provide us with the feeling of the exact opposite. Gong Bath uses healing frequencies, and positive vibrational sound to help us to reduce stress levels, and create a deep sense of conscious well-being.


What exactly happens during a Gong Bath session?

We got this far and I haven’t explained it yet. The term Gong Bath means that you are bathed in sound waves. No water, no swimming pool, and not even a bathing suit involved in sound therapy.

These sessions normally are arranged in a quiet room (often belonging to a spa, community center or fitness venues). You are expected to arrive on time, with your mobile and other electronic devices switched off. The room prepared for the bath is soothing, furnished with comfortable mats, pillows and soft blankets.

It is quite important that you feel physically comfortable so that you can really engage with the practice instead of wiggling around trying to find a snug spot on the floor. Once the session starts, you close your eyes, relax your body, and listen to the sound. Just let the sound of the gongs wash over you, and it is also fine if you fall asleep.

At the beginning the gongs sound soft, and as the session progresses, it increases (never too loud or disturbing thou). Towards the end of the session, the sound quiets down again until no gongs are heard anymore. The end of the bath is signaled with various little bells to help the participants to gain full consciousness,  and wake from their meditaive state or sleep.

The experience

The feedback on the experience varies. Some people say they feel like they slept straight for 10 hours. Others experience that the 45 minutes to an hour session finished in what felt like 5 minutes. However, the consensus after a session of Gong Bath is a feeling of relaxed, energized, and upbeat sensation. The Gongs help you to clarify your thoughts, find direction in your life and visualize your purpose. Physical pain often feels reduced after a session too.

The detoxifying effects lingers in your body for about 3 days, accompanied with a feeling of lightness and happiness. It is recommended to drink lots of water afterwards to help flush out the toxins from your body (just as you would do during a food related detox program).

A session with intention

If you’ve never done a sound bath before, I suggest that you go with the flow, and experience a session with an open mind and a relaxed attitude. For people with some experience in these sessions I recommend to put a bit of extra effort in, and go in to the session with intention. What do I mean by this? By adding intention to your Gong Bath session will help to intensify its effectiveness and accentuate the healing properties. It is OK if you are not convinced about this, after all the worst can happen that nothing happens, but you might be positively surprised after all. Intention comes with energy and this energy intensifies the outcome.

Alpha & Theta brainwaves

When we start a relaxation practice, we first experience Alpha brainwaves with frequencies between 8 and 12 Hz. Alpha brainwave activities are imagination and daydreaming. Theta waves are brainwaves with frequencies between 4 and 7 Hz. These waves occur during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, or during the state of deep meditation such as during Gong Baths.

Common sense

  • If you’ve never done gong bath before ensure you choose a quiet place with high ceilings and plenty of room, instead of a crammed, noisy venue.
  • Before, during, and after your session I encourage you to avoid your electronic devices (you will live don’t worry…).
  • Don’t try to jam a relaxing session of gong therapy between two of your meetings or before a cocktail night with your friends.
  • Before your first session inquiry if the place supply pillows, blankets and mats, or they need you to bring your own.  In either case ensure that you haver enough warm layers. During the sessions participants often experience a cold, chilled feeling, especially on the feet.
  • You don’t need to discuss your experience with anyone at the class. You are not required to share your experience afterwards either. I would especially feel awkward if after an hour or relaxing gong bath I would be questioned about my findings…
  • Stay through the class! Some people itch to get away just 5 minutes earlier than the end of the bath. By doing this they disturb the flow of the session, make noise, interrupt others and their own healing. If you can’t stay all the way, just choose another day when you can.
  • Don’t ask the others what you are expected to feel during the bath. Experience it for yourself! All you have to do is lay down, get comfortable and relax. The sound will do the rest!

Embrace the experience

Whenever you decide to try Sound Therapy, I recommend you to make time to embrace the experience. Gong bath only works if you are mindfully present then and there in the moment. Don’t try to compare your experience to the man on the mat next to your’s. Although you most likely will participate in a group session, your experience will be yours only. Everybody arrives with different feelings, physical health, habits, and overall wellness. For this reason all of us get different experiences out of a sound therapy session, but it will al worth it!

If you want to read more about topics related to stress management, I recommend a very interesting artily written by Evelyn: Stress – are we still cavemen, more or less?