Gong baths

The sooth­ing sounds of gongs, crys­tal bowls and tun­ing fork scan help your mind and body. Sarah Gane dives in.

Project Calm - - Contents -

Sound has tremen­dous sig­nif­i­cance and po­ten­tial in our lives: we first ex­pe­ri­ence it is as a baby in the womb, lis­ten­ing to the com­fort­ing rhythm of our mother’s heart­beat and the gen­eral hub­bub of the out­side world. This con­nec­tion is con­tin­ued through­out our lives, with our as­so­ci­a­tion with cer­tain voices, noises and mu­sic trig­ger­ing pow­er­ful emo­tional re­sponses.

“Sound [can] lift our moods, ex­cite, stim­u­late or an­noy… it af­fects an emo­tional re­sponse in our body,” con­firms Toni Dicks, well­ness ex­pert and co-founder of Sound Se­bastien (sound­se­bastien.com). “The goal of sound ther­apy is to re­duce stress and pain, pro­mote re­lax­ation, de­velop self­aware­ness and cre­ativ­ity and im­prove learn­ing,” she adds.

What was once maybe con­sid­ered a bit of a new-age ac­tiv­ity, has now be­come main­stream with more ses­sions on of­fer than ever be­fore. Sound baths have re­ally in­creased in pop­u­lar­ity re­cently and it’s easy to see why: they are an ac­ces­si­ble, med­i­ta­tive and fully im­mer­sive ex­pe­ri­ence that leaves you feel­ing re­laxed and re­stored. “Peo­ple are more aware of the im­por­tance to switch off once in a while – and sound heal­ing is one of those great meth­ods for that. We all suf­fer from the stresses of liv­ing in big, busy cities and lead­ing busy lives,” ex­plains Yu­lia Ko­val­eva, co-founder of drop-in med­i­ta­tion stu­dio, Re:mind (re­mind­stu­dio.com).

She con­tin­ues: “Sound heal­ing med­i­ta­tions are ideal for some­one who is feel­ing very stressed and tired… It’s a very ef­fort­less way to meditate, for some­one who has strug­gled with seated quiet med­i­ta­tion, as thoughts tend to f low eas­ier dur­ing sound med­i­ta­tions.”

If you’ve never ex­pe­ri­enced any­thing like a sound bath be­fore, it’s es­sen­tially a re­ally re­lax­ing ex­pe­ri­ence that re­quires very lit­tle from you. Whether you opt to lis­ten to gongs, crys­tal singing bowls, tun­ing forks, drums – each of­fer their own sounds and ben­e­fits. Sim­ply lie down on a yoga mat, get re­ally comfy with cush­ions and blan­kets, then just let the sounds wash over you. “Sound baths re­quire al­most no par­tic­i­pa­tion by the guest ex­cept that of com­pletely sur­ren­der­ing and en­joy­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence,” says Sound Se­bastien’s Toni.

While the most com­mon feel­ings in a sound bath in­clude that of re­lax­ation, you may also be lucky enough to ex­pe­ri­ence other health ben­e­fits. Sca­nia Price is a Gong Sound Ther­a­pist and Psy­chother­a­peu­tic Coun­sel­lor (iamsca­nia.com): “Gong ther­apy is a nat­u­ral, non-in­va­sive drug-free ther­apy that omits ex­tremely low fre­quency ( ELF) acous­ti­cally, which per­me­ates the body and has been re­ported to create a nat­u­ral painre­lief process.”

She con­tin­ues: “Clients do not have to do any­thing, just lay down or sit and ab­sorb the sooth­ing ELF acous­tic waves… when the gongs play to­gether they en­train, cre­at­ing a third sound – our brains are aware of this third sound even if we can­not hear it. Our body cells take this in and

it can be felt as vi­bra­tion: pulsed rhythm. [ Re­search by] Sharry Ed­wards, un­der lab­o­ra­tory con­di­tions [showed] that an ELF of 10Hz has the ef­fect of low­er­ing blood pres­sure… we can spec­u­late with [feed­back] com­ing from gong clients that other ELFS no doubt have sim­i­lar phys­i­cal re­sults for pain re­lief and af­fect on body and brain.”

Tun­ing forks are also said to of­fer health ben­e­fits, as Teri Bebb, Global Spa Sup­port at Lush (uk.lush.com/spa) ex­plains: “We use three dif­fer­ent types of tun­ing forks around the body… C and G tun­ing forks are known as the body tuners. When the C and the G are struck at the same they create a third note. We be­lieve this res­onates within the body… help­ing bal­ance the ner­vous sys­tem and boost our im­mune sys­tem.”

The Sound Se­bastien team, mean­while, work with a se­lec­tion of beau­ti­ful crys­tal quartz singing bowls. “Each one is unique and made up of a blend of crushed quartz and rare gem­stones, pre­cious met­als and min­er­als,” ex­plains co-founder and well­ness ex­pert Jas­mine Hem­s­ley. “Th­ese alchemy gem­stone bowls rep­re­sent for us a very grounded, yin en­ergy – the fem­i­nine en­ergy – a won­der­ful bal­ance to the very much yang en­ergy of our day-to­day lives,” she tells us. “The sounds from the bowls are so pure, and since each bowl is unique, so too are the sounds – with dif­fer­ent notes ben­e­fit­ting dif­fer­ent chakras and dif­fer­ent com­bi­na­tions hav­ing vary­ing af­fects on the vi­tal­ity of our sys­tems, or­gans and en­ergy.”

Over 80 dif­fer­ent blends of crys­tal singing bowls ex­ist, con­tain­ing ev­ery­thing from rose quartz, shun­gite, tiger’s eye through to ruby and plat­inum. Each fea­tures its own unique blend of notes and ben­e­fits. “Not only do they of­fer the prop­er­ties of each crys­tal, gem­stone or min­eral,” adds Genevra Jolie, UK Crys­tal Tones spe­cial­ist (crys­tal- singing-bowls.co.uk), “the heal­ing is am­pli­fied by the quartz and the sound vi­bra­tion it­self. This en­ergy moves through­out the en­tire body, aura and into the space at an ac­cel­er­ated speed. The sound of the crys­tal trav­els through water so fast [that] it is the most pow­er­ful way for the body, mind and spirit to re­ceive the ben­e­fits of the crys­tal.”

The power and po­ten­tial of the crys­tal singing bowls is also demon­strated in the ses­sions. “Toni’s back­ground is very much based around un­der­stand­ing how home­osta­sis ( bal­ance) can be achieved in the body via the plat­form of the blood,” ex­plains Jas­mine. “The in­tro­duc­tion to the ses­sion starts with a guided med­i­ta­tion not only to re­lax and set­tle the guest but also to help de­scribe what is hap­pen­ing to the water in the body as the bowls are played.”

“The plasma in the blood is made up of 90% water and the to­tal body around 75% water,” ex­plains Toni. “So when the bowls are played it cre­ates a move­ment in the water as the cells start to vi­brate. This can be shown by plac­ing water in­side a singing bowl and play­ing it. The water be­gins to vi­brate and con­se­quently bub­ble as the vi­bra­tions in­ten­sify. This al­lows peo­ple to see what is hap­pen­ing in­ter­nally in the body.”

What’s great about sound baths is that what­ever medium you choose, you’re guar­an­teed to have an ex­pe­ri­ence that is unique to you. “We’re all dif­fer­ent,” con­firms Toni. “So each ex­pe­ri­ence with sound heal­ing will dif­fer de­pend­ing on the per­son’s feel­ings and the sur­round­ings, and each new ses­sion will bring a new ex­pe­ri­ence. How­ever, the most com­mon re­ports fol­low­ing a sound bath are: deep re­lax­ation, no aware­ness of time and space, peace of mind, im­prove­ment of phys­i­cal in­juries, re­lease of old trau­mas, rejuvenation and joy.”

So whether you choose to at­tend a ses­sion near you or create your own ex­pe­ri­ence at home, sound ther­apy of­fers an op­por­tu­nity to push the ‘pause’ but­ton and take a bit of time out for your­self. “It’s not just im­por­tant – it is nec­es­sary, Re:mind’s co-founder Carla Von An­halt tells us, “Ev­ery­one needs time to recharge…”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.