What on earth is a gong bath?
Despite the name, there’s no water involved and thankfully everyone remains fully clothed. A gong bath is a form of meditative sound therapy, which uses the vibrations of gongs to heal the body. The ‘bath’ part of the name comes from the fact that you are ‘bathing’ in the gong’s sound vibrations.
How does it work?
Basically, all of the cells in our bodies vibrate. The frequency of this vibration changes depending on whether we’re awake or asleep, how well we are, and the levels of stress we are experiencing. If we feel ill, anxious or depressed, our bodies might vibrate at the wrong frequency. If you think of your body like a piano, things like stress and illness can lead to us feeling ‘out of tune’ – a gong bath will help to retune you to the right pitch.
The vibrations of the gongs help to slow down our brain waves to the alpha and theta brain wave states, lower frequencies, which in turn lead to relaxation and deep meditation.
What should I expect?
Before it begins you’ll need to lie down, get comfy, and close your eyes. Most places will have blankets, cushions and eye masks to help you do this (but it’s worth checking before in case you need to bring your own). Then a series of gongs will be sounded around you in different volumes, pitches and rhythms. Sometimes the gong bath instructor might talk to the class at the beginning to help you relax, and don’t be alarmed if they do some singing at some point as well.
You really don’t need to ‘do’ anything, so try not to think too much. The whole point of the gong bath is to let go of any negative feelings you’re holding onto, breathe and relax. And then just enjoy the sound of the gongs and the sensation of the sound vibrations. It’s easier for some than for others – so don’t be surprised if you hear some people snoring in your class!
What are the benefits?
Gong baths have been used to heal the body for thousands of years. They are believed to realign and rebalance the body and mind, and leave you feeling more relaxed, calm and content. It’s also said to improve sleep quality and energy levels.
And even if you’re still sceptical about the power of sound healing and vibrational frequencies, it’s just nice to have a lie down in a darkened room and let some relaxing sounds wash over you for. After all, how often do we get to switch off for a whole hour without having to think or do anything?
Have you done it?
Yes, and would highly recommend! I went into my first gong bath experience after a stressful week with no idea what to expect. I left feeling completely relaxed and refreshed, and then went home and had a fantastic night’s sleep. Definitely an hour well spent!
Where can I do it?
Gong baths are becoming more and more popular, so you might be surprised to find one near you. Here are a few that we have found or tried:
Earth Tones in Arnold, Nottingham offers lots of different sound therapy sessions, including Energetic Gong Bath, Relaxing Gong Bath and a Full Moon Gong Meditation with Sacred Cacao (£10-17).
As well as yoga classes, Central Wellness, Lincoln do a number of workshops, including occasional gong baths, so keep an eye out on their website (around £15).
Re: Mind Studio in London offer gong baths and crystal bowls sound healing in a relaxing space. Enjoy a cup of their delicious tea when you arrive and have a browse their little shop (£22).