Sarah Maxwell melts away feelings of stress with the help of a healing gong bath 

If anyone had told me that I was about to have the most relaxing experience and the BEST sleep I’ve had in my entire life, I would have been sceptical to say the least. 

The ancient art of sound healing has been used by shamans, healers, and yoga practitioners for centuries. The healing works on the principles of energy and vibration and has successfully transferred online as well as in person, to reach many people who would have been unable to experience the positive effects of such an ancient method of healing. 

Sound baths (also known as gong baths) are highly rejuvenating for the body and bring about an overall sense of relaxation which can reduce stress, this is due to the high-frequency of the sounds. A sound ‘bath’ can assist with helping the body to develop a better ability to cope with stress and help move emotional blockages from trauma. It can enable you to regain focus in your life by lowering brain-wave frequency – this has real benefits in the day to day but also with performance (athletic or at work!).

Regular sound bathing is reported to lower blood pressure and improve cognitive skills, it can also promote feelings of calmness and grounding which can greatly enhance sleep quality.

I had been invited to a sound healing/gong bath at my local village hall and was told to bring a comfortable mat to lie on, a blanket and pillow and a bottle of water (making sure you hydrate before and after your session enhances the effect of the sound bath).

On entering the warm, darkened and packed hall – so popular, they had a large waiting list – the sight of an incredible array of Tibetan bowls and gongs at the front of the room was something to behold. Our teacher had a calm and reassuring voice as we settled onto the floor for the next 90 minutes. I lay down listening to the sounds and feeling myself relax: I was floating on a cloud of calm… 90 minutes had gone in a flash! 

What exactly is a sound bath? 

A sound bath is a form of sound healing meditation, it is referred to as a ‘bath’ due to participants being immersed in the vibrations of the instruments during a session. Participants lay down comfortably under a blanket and the gong session is often preceded by breathing exercises or mantra chanting to relax and prepare you for the experience (this depends on how your teacher runs the session).  

The gongs are then gradually introduced, and the vibrations of the gongs are absorbed throughout the entire body. 

In addition to gongs – crystal bowls, chimes, drums and rattles are among many instruments that may also be used to create healing sounds and vibrations. 

How often should you sound bath?

1-2 sessions a month are recommended, however if you’re experiencing exceptional emotional, physical or mental challenges, discussing a plan to fit in with you will reap the most rewards. 

How to maximise your sound bath experience…

Wear loose comfortable clothing and remember to hydrate well before and after your session. You’ll need a padded mat or something similar to lie on, and a blanket and pillow are a great addition to make the experience as relaxing and comfortable as possible.

No knowledge or experience is needed and from start to finish it’s one of the most welcoming and gently holistic therapies I’ve had the pleasure to experience. If you’d like to give it a go there are a variety of online and in-person sessions and practitioners available (see websites below).

Some useful websites:

touchedwithsound.co.uk/monthly-workshops

heronmoon.co.uk/sound-healing

collegeofsoundhealing.co.uk/local_groups.php

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