Gongs and singing bowls have long been an integral part of many spiritual and meditative practices. Today, the sound instruments are used mainly to help people and also animals to more relaxation and tranquility. The effect that sounds can have on the body and mind are always very complex. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at how the vibrations of a gong affect your body and why everyone perceives them differently.
Ways sound waves affect your body and mind
Fundamentally, the vibrations that occur when a gong is struck are based on the physics of sound waves. Imagine throwing a stone into the water and watching the ripples emanating from it expand and expand. This image helps you visualize how sound waves travel through the human body.
When a gong is struck, gentle sound waves are created that spread concentrically through the air, striking and flowing through the body. Essentially, two different stimuli can be set by the vibrations of a gong: an audible stimulus and a tactile stimulus. The gentle vibrations flow through various tissues and organs, which can lead to very different effects: Muscles find more relaxation, body fluids can flow better and cavities find more wideness again.
Sound waves set air molecules in motion
When you strike a gong, the air molecules in the environment are set into vibration. The wave of vibrations generated in this process can be transmitted to the skin and penetrate various tissue layers. In this way, the entire body can be set in vibration.
Vibrations reach the brain via the ear
The sound waves are also picked up by our ears, enter the ear canal and cause the eardrum and the three ossicles in the middle ear to vibrate. Then they meet the cochlea. The receptors located here pick up the wave movements and translate them into electrical impulses. These then race into the brain via the auditory nerve. Depending on the environment and your previous experiences, you perceive the recorded sound and its volume, pitch, timbre and rhythm quite differently. Accordingly, each person also associates very different feelings with a sound. In the optimal case, we find the vibrations of a gong soothing and relaxing.
Vibrations are transmitted to bones
Another way the vibrations of a gong can affect your body even more intensely is through your bones. Bones are a good conductor of vibrations and can absorb the vibrations of a sound instrument and transmit them throughout the body. This can help the vibrations be perceived much deeper in the body and felt long after a sound bath.
Sound waves stimulate the nervous system
Sound waves are transmitted through the ear to the nervous system in a complex process. So the ear – and especially what it picks up from the environment – is not only vital for hearing and balance, but also hugely important for the health of the nervous system. Sound waves can stimulate the autonomic nervous system and thus have very different effects on your body. Especially the hormonal system is directly influenced. Different processes in the body thus lead to relaxation of muscles, lower blood pressure and reduction of stress.
The different effect of sound
So the effect of the sound waves of a gong can be very different – it ranges from relaxation and inner peace to increased alertness and clarity of mind. Now and then it also happens that the sounds are perceived as threatening or even dangerous. On the one hand, this may be related to the playing technique, on the other hand, some people are basically very sensitive to loud noises and high frequencies. Also, people who are pregnant or suffer from certain health problems should seek advice from the expert before using gongs. As a gong player, you therefore bear a great responsibility and should use the instrument mindfully and respectfully at all times.
In summary, gongs can be a valuable addition to spiritual and meditative practices and are also used in sound therapy to bring body and mind into harmony.
The vibrations of the gong are transmitted to the body in many ways. How a person perceives them depends not only on the type of gong, the gong sticks used and the playing technique, but also the individual sensitivity to the vibrations plays a major role here. In any case, the gong is a very powerful instrument and the mighty sonority demands great respect.