A gong is a percussive instrument that produces a wide range of harmonics that vary greatly according to the type of gong used and the playing technique. Gongs started to be created around 5000 years ago in China and Southeast Asia and then arrived to the West around 2000 years ago, mainly as part of theatrical plays and orchestras. Their usage in US and Europe as instruments for sound therapy is fairly recent, being introduced as healing tools during 1960s and 1970s, in parallel with the spread of Kundalini yoga.
There are many types of gongs and they can be divided in three big groups: the European, the Chinese and the South-East Asian. The European and Chinese are hanging gongs and somewhat similar in terms of shape and sounds produced, while the South-East Asian (in the picture) are completely different both in shape and sound signature, and used mainly as part of a gamelan, an ensemble of percussive instruments).
Gong therapy is a very deep treatment and brings the client to an altered state of consciousness (ASC) within a few minutes. Spending time in ASC has been proven beneficial especially for mental health issues.I use mainly Chinese gongs, given their ability to produce a spectrum of harmonics that induces and maintains a deeper ASC compared to other types gongs. I use only off-body techniques while the client simply lies down on a couch.
I would recommend it to anyone who battles with depression, serious anxiety and other forms of neurosis. It is an intense treatment to face long-term issues, especially if you struggle to identify a cause.
It is very effective for inducing a very deep sense of relaxation and encourage inner inquiring as well as for physical conditions such as chronic pain and inflammation.
In addition to this, the session can become strongly therapeutic by adding some exercises of self-reflection both before and after the sound session (following the BAST method). This means that your treatment can be a tool to resolve issues that are traditionally dealt with through psychotherapy and other forms of talking therapy.
It can work extremely well if you struggle to contact your inner self as a result of excessive thinking. It is also an excellent alternative to conventional massage therapies if it makes you uncomfortable to be touched and/or undressing.
In fact, in this type of treatment the therapist holds a safe space for the client without interacting too much with her and leaving the sound do its work, wherever it’s needed.