Connecting to nature during your relaxing Gong Bath
Thunder Drum, Rain Stick, Koshi Chimes and Shakers
During a Gong Bath, participants are immersed in gong sounds that are metallic, spacious, sonorous, and other-worldly for most of the session. But, as the Gong Bath comes to an end and the gong sounds fade, participants are gently eased into a soundscape suggesting a distant thunderstorm. Therapeutic Percussion: Thunder Drum, Rain Stick, Koshi Chimes, and shakers create this allusion to nature to mark the beginning of a return to a more conscious state.
The Thunder Drum links the final gong sounds to the therapeutic percussion section of the Gong Bath. The intention at this point is to gently ease everyone back into a more wakeful state. The thunder-like sounds blend so well with the gongs clients hardly notice the Thunder Drum initially and as the gong sounds disappear the Thunder Drum takes over.
The Thunder Drum is designed to imitate the sound of thunder and it is very effective. It looks like a strange small toy drum with its colourful patterning and a long metal coiled spring attached to the drum membrane. When the drum is turned upside down, membrane down, the thin metal coil dangles below the drum. When the drum is gently tilted back and forth, the spring vibrates on the surface membrane, and the resulting thunder-like sound is amplified by the drum casing.
It makes a very good imitation of thunder once you get the hang of it but if the spring catches on the side of the casing, or touches another surface (a gong stand, the floor, a table, your body), you get an unpleasant metallic zing. As with every instrument you need to take time to get to know how to handle it to get the sound quality you need. This includes practising how to hold the drum, pick it up, and replace it on the table (or floor) without creating unwanted grating or clanging sounds. You will need to have a soft surface such as a towel to place it on once you have finished playing it.
Great care needs to be taken to avoid intrusive loud zings or twanging sounds. Unexpected loud strange sounds could stimulate a ‘fight or flight’ response in clients, particularly those who have a history of anxiety. When the gongs are allowed to finally fade, the thunder-like rumbles link smoothly into the final percussion section of the Gong Bath.
Rain Stick and Koshi Chimes
The Rain Stick is the next instrument to interact with the Thunder Drum. Gentle trickling rain-like sounds are created as the Rain Stick is tilted back and forth. Koshi Chimes (very delicate authentic wind chimes made in the Pyrenean mountains) add to this allusion to nature as the ‘thunder’ stops. Koshi Chimes are held by a hanging cord to suspend the instrument. As it is moved from side to side the small circular striker hanging inside the bamboo tube begins to strike eight metal rods (different sizes to create different pitches). This section of the Gong Bath is beautiful, delicate, gentle, and soothing, and participants often remain deeply relaxed.
When the chimes of the Koshi stop, simple primitive sounds of the shakers are introduced, and this begins to encourage a different physical response from participants. At this point in the Gong Bath clients need to be gently eased out of their meditative state and back into physical reality. The Gong Bath experience takes participants to the edge of sleep, some will have fallen asleep, others will drift in and out of the dream world of the unconscious. It would not do to suddenly jolt participants into wakefulness and create a stress response.
Shakers were amongst the very first ancient instruments, gourds filled with grains, bones, pebbles, or shells. Our modern equivalents are excellent for grounding after a Gong Bath, initiating a primitive response to sounds from nature. The system is gently stimulated at first as the delicate rattlesnake-like sound of the smallest egg shaker is heard alongside the rain stick. Larger shakers are introduced in stages with patterns become more vigorous and stimulating. Shakers and rain stick bring the Gong Bath to a close with rapid energised percussive rhythmic patterns.
Silence at the end of a Gong Bath
A short period of silence follows, and this gives the body time to integrate the experience. Participants become more aware of themselves and their surroundings, come back into their normal environment. After a few minutes everyone is asked to sit up, but they will often still look quite spaced-out. They will need to drink some water and take time to make sure they are fully connected with physical reality (grounded) before leaving the venue.
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Please contact Sue to find out more or book an event or session.
You too could benefit from the kind of experiences described above.