Book Review: Gong Therapy by Mehtab Benton

Gong Therapy by Mehtab Benton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is highly recommended if you are interested in playing the gong as a healing instrument for others. There is a lot of valuable information packed away in this little nugget. I would also highly recommend the book for anyone who takes a holistic healing approach, including therapists, counselors, educators and anyone remotely interested in sonic healing of any kind.

The book is designed to help the reader create a “personalized wellness journey that goes beyond the usual experience most people have with the gong in yoga class” but it is so much more than that, it is essentially a handbook for starting your own gong therapy practice.

The author warns however, in fact on numerous occasions that the power of the gong requires the motivation of the gong player to be pure

“The gong itself is a healing instrument, yet it is your pure intention and alignment with your divine will that directs its healing”

The book begins on the premise that healing can be defined as the natural balance and flow of energy on all levels of existence, mental, physical, emotional and spiritual. This asserts that health is our natural state. This is a very holistic approach and actually not new, but rooted in many ancient healing traditions, Ayurvedic medicine, and Kundalini Yoga among them. If you are unfamiliar with the more Eastern oriented energy practices, the book does an excellent job of keeping the reader informed on the topics as they related to the gong and sound healing. It describes the concept of Prana and asserts that all healing is predicated on availability and movement of this life force energy.

The author does state that Yoga and the gong, while each a holistic practice of their own, become supercharged healing modalities when practices together.

“Gong Therapy combines the sound of the Gong with the methodologies of Yoga to energize and facilitate the movement of energy (Prana) to heal the body, clear the mind and elevate the consciousness.

New to me in this book, the concept of dermatomes, surfaces ares of the skin that actually communicate with the organs of the body, through the spinal column.

“The gong is especially effective in stimulating the dermatomes when played in reasonable proximity to the listener, a low frequency sound wave is created that can encase the body in a sonic envelope akin to a continuous massage”

Certainly, if you have ever stood next to a 32″ gong being struck, you know this is a visceral experience. Imagine, that your skin cells are sending healing vibrations through out your body… amazing!

The book does a good job of explaining how the gong impacts us on each level; physical, emotional, physiological and even spiritually.

The book lays out an entire sample gong therapy session including everything from client education and intake evaluation and assessment to closure of the session and following, including everything in between, such as set-up, prepping the environment. There is a very detailed explanation on how to set up the room, how to position the gong(s) and client for optimal sonic benefit.

Their are various methods to use in gong therapy and the book takes the time to address each one with just enough information as to not overwhelm the western reader, but to give you enough information to grasp the concepts of asana, mudras, Pranayama, Drishtis or affirmations, mantras and yoga Nidra. The section on Mudra Is substantial a sort of boot camp for the new reader, as is the section on mantras.

Besides all of this information, there is are several entire guided yoga Nidra scripts for your use in Gong Therapy, for me this is a valuable nugget that I have copied and adapted for my own use.

Once again, the author stresses the importance of the gong players intention.

“It is through the gong that the therapists’s innate healing abilities and Prana are transferred and over time the boundaries between the gong and gong player merge into a healing entity that is beyond flesh and metal… A gong that is used for therapy is more than a musical instrument; it is a sacred medicine and agent of the divine.”

The author goes over the various types of gongs both Eastern and Western, Tuned vs non-tuned, symphonic and planetary and equipment needed for a gong therapy session.

The author contends that in order to provide an intuitive individualized gong healing experience for your client, it is impossible to plan how you are going to play for them but provides some excellent gong playing guidelines to help you get started.

I believe anyone interested in playing the gong outside of a one-on-one therapeutic relationship, such as gong bath, sound journey or even for personal transformative work, can find some thing valuable in the pages of this book.

Benton address the gong from several perspectives that must be considered when playing and each must vary through the experience to create texture and interest as you play. The three components are playing area (where the gong is struck) Rhythm (How fast or slow it is struck) and Volume (How hard or softly it is struck)

Each is covered thoroughly in the book including information on how to balance, consolidate and disperse energy in the room based on how and where you strike the gong.

For example, when striking the gong in the center, you are collecting and building energy, while the mid area of the gong balances the energy and distributes it throughout and the rim of the gong releases and dispense energy.

Benton also describes using the gong as a microcosm of the human body and aligning the gong chakras with the chakras of the client to create a healing space.

There is a tiny section at the end of the book that teaches some basic therapeutic patterns. While the section on patterns is tiny, it is invaluable.

Lastly, the book touches on uses the gong for larger groups, this section is also very small as the intent of the book is the one-on-one therapeutic environment. Gong Yoga, the authors other book, does a much better job of addressing these group situations.

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