Using gongs for sound therapy is an ancient, ancient healing modality (I really resonate with anything that is thousands of years old – I believe we were more aware, connected and awake back then and I’m passionate about bringing these healing methods back into the universal consciousness – so far all of them have improved my life and health immensely!).
For a Sound Healing workshop, or Gong Meditation as it might be called, you lie down, (usually on a yoga mat), while the gong or gongs are played.
For my first workshop, I met Gina Harris who had one gong set up in the room.
Once everyone found their place on a mat, Gina introduced herself and explained a little bit about the gong.
Gongs were used by the Ancients over 4,000 (some say as far back as 6,000) years ago. They were used for ceremonies, but also for healing. But here's the coolest part (and why I can't get enough) - the sound of the gong resonates at the same frequency as our DNA, which can bring healing, harmony and balance back to the body and our cells.
I knew I was in the right place.
Gina suggested we grab a blanket (your body temperature can change when laying down), and then she guided us through some deep breathing before she started playing the gong for the next 45 minutes.
Here’s what happened during my first session with the gong:
+ As soon as Gina started playing the gong, the first image that popped up looked like blue splattered paint, but then "the paint" started to slow retreat and come together to form a straight line.
However, I know this wasn’t splattered paint – it was frayed nerves. (Can you picture those images of the blood vessels in the body – one set is red and the other is blue?)
The gong was helping to calm down my over-stressed body (my over-taxed sympathetic nervous system - the one in charge of fight-or-flight that seems to always be "on" nowadays), and activate my parasympathetic nervous system which helps produce a state of equilibrium in the body. Talk about harmony! This was it and it felt soooooo good.
+ I had some pain and stiffness in my shoulders and my hips. Not only could I feel the gong vibrating intensely in those areas in my body, but the next day, the pain was gone!
People always raise their eyes when I tell them about the pain going away and I usually tell them, “You should go to one and tell me how you feel afterwards!”
The gong is great at moving stagnant energy (energy can get stuck in the body and this is where dis-ease, illness and aches & pains can settle in). Acupuncture is another way to get stagnant energy moving by placing the needles on certain meridian or energy points in the body. QiGong is deep breathing that helps get energy flowing by using mental focus and tapping on these meridian points, but the gong does something else.
How so? Well, our bodies are 70% water and water vibrates.
Water is a great conductor for sound so what better way to restore harmony than listening to a gong that vibrates at a frequency already found in nature - a frequency where everything is balanced and harmonious!
Nature is a perfect symphony - it's complete and we are nature - we are not machines (or synthetics, which is why I've turned to herbs and things from the Earth to cleanse my body - not drugs to get rid of headaches, sore muscles, parasites, heavy metals and more).
Here’s the other great thing about healing with a gong – you don’t have to do anything! You don’t have to be a mediator or sit in a certain position. Lots of people will fall asleep because it's so relaxing (Gina says, if you fall asleep you’re doing it correctly!).
I like to do a gong mediation 1-2x a month as maintenance. Each time I go, it’s a slightly different experience (I went to one where the woman had 5 gongs – Mars, Venus, Chiron, Neptune and the Flower of Life, which is Mother Earth – for grounding :).
I still feel an immense sense of calm and relaxation – and vibrating in certain parts of my body (it never hurts, you just feel the vibrations more intensely in areas where energy might be stuck), but each time I get beautiful images and I know I’m doing something wonderful for my body.
What to know:
Gong are great at getting old emotions and energy flowing so be sure to drink a lot of water afterwards. It’s also a great idea to take an Epsom salt bath (even a foot bath is great too), to help flush out toxins.
You might feel a little loopy or extremely relaxed afterwards – that’s normal, but make sure to take a few minutes and ground yourself if you’re driving home (hug a tree, touch the ground). Moving stagnant energy, releasing toxins and old emotions is powerful stuff!
Try not to eat before you go. You want your body to focus on healing and repair, not digestion.
Dress in comfy clothes and don’t be afraid to wear socks, long pants or sweatshirts. Your body temperature changes when laying down so come prepared (At Chill Chicago they do have blankets, head pillows, pillows for your knees and fabulous bean bag mats – no need to bring a yoga mat).