Ever heard of Gong masters and all-night gong baths? The former are as terrestrial as all of us while the latter, ethereal as they may sound, are very effective, healing sounds that can help you cleanse and rejuvenate. Taking us through what could well be the new in-thing in wellness, sound therapist Sunithi Ramesh shares with Canta Dadlaney the magical effects of sound therapy and how it provides physical and mental succor.
A chance introduction to sound therapy introduced Sunithi Ramesh to the world of therapeutic sounds, still alien to many. In a chat with Hashtag Magazine, she shares the intricacies of this form of healing, which is gaining good ground in India.
What is sound therapy and how did you get introduced to it?
Sound Therapy is an ancient science and art used as a complementary therapy for physical, mental and emotional disorders. Almost five years ago (2015), a friend introduced me to sound therapy at a workshop in Chennai. The session by Master Satya Brat, founder of Academy of Sound Healing left a mark on me, and I started exploring it on my own.
What about sound therapy fascinated you the most?
I was a pure techie until 2015. Some of our verticals in IT are very sensitive businesses and I had accumulated a lot of stress during this period. That stress resulted in the development of a couple of tumors which had to be excised but they recurred. I was exploring energy healing modalities and got drawn into sound therapy. When my health started taking an upturn, I knew I was on the right track.
What impact does sound therapy have?
Stress causes the organs to slip out of their natural frequencies. The energy generated during a sound therapy session can help them come to their original frequencies due to the principle of resonance. The bowls are handmade with a specific range of frequencies and they bring harmony in the body. We become mindful because of the sounds. And the mind gets decluttered. I integrate the use of crystals and aromas in my sessions.
What happens during a sound bath?
During a therapy or a sound bath immersion, the person goes into a deep trance-like state called the Theta state with brainwaves getting entrained. In this state, the body’s inner healing mechanism also gets triggered, and a healing happens at the root level. A sound bath immersion is a guided visualization journey, a mental travel to different places, to the accompaniment of the bowls and gongs. While the vibrations heal, the journey to places like beaches, mountains, and serene landscapes are equally relaxing. Participants are able to transport themselves mentally with the voice guiding them on the journey and experience it virtually. One of my signature sessions is ‘Kailash Parikrama’ – a virtual journey around Mount Kailash, which comes alive with the sounds created by the bowls and the gongs.
How are gongs used in sound therapy?
A gong is a deeply resonant instrument and helps get into a relaxed state. The powerful vibrations during a gong bath can help in emotional cleansing. There are planetary gongs with their respective frequencies. There also are sound creation gongs, symphonic gong and others which have a wide range of frequencies and create wonderful overtones. Gongs are used more for group healing and gong concerts are very enjoyable.
How is the quality of instruments verified and ensured?
Sound therapy uses bowls of specific musical notes, and not ornamental bowls which are used for space healing. Most of my bowls are from Academy of Sound Healing. The gongs are from Paiste, a German company which specialises in making gongs.
As a complementary therapy, how are the success rates measured?
Therapy sessions depend on the person’s ailment and receptivity and vary from 30 to 90 minutes and may last for a few sessions depending upon the intensity of the problem. There have been cases where even the best medical treatment didn’t lead to improvement in a patient’s conditions, because their mental makeup was stressed out and disintegrated. There was a corporate leader diagnosed with cancer, who also had speech issues, skin rashes, joint pains and the inability to walk. We worked with him for six months, and gradually, his mental and emotional well-being has healed. His will to live and live healthy has been restored. Sound therapy helped him manage the side-effects of chemotherapy. I am keen on collecting moreclinical evidence from clients to make this therapy a recognised modality by governments.
- All-night Gong baths: An all-night gong bath involves setting up eight gongs in a “rotunda” or a cage. The Gong Master stands inside this cage and plays the gongs. The gongs are played for 8 hours continuously, with the players taking turns. The ambience is set with the right temperature, aroma, crystals. The lights are dimmed and the participants are eased into a comfortable sleep after an invocation and a setting of intentions. The participants wake up rejuvenated after this session and drop a lot of pain and emotional baggage.
- A facilitator for Gong concerts conducted across the key cities of India between 2018 and 2020, Sunithi has been using sound therapy as complementary healing for chronic ailments. A 2018 concert in Chennai saw an attendance of 1000 people.