BB asks: “What is a gong bath? Is this something Catholics can participate in?”
A gong bath is a kind of sound therapy where a gong is played in a therapeutic way to supposedly bring about healing. The “bath” part of it isn’t about water, it’s about letting oneself be bathed in sound waves. A person simply lays down in a comfortable position while a gong is played for a period of about 60 minutes.
One of the originators of this technique is a man named Richard Rudis, a former Catholic who is now a practitioner of Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism. He discovered this type of sound therapy during his own spiritual quest and life-long study of Buddhism, and found himself drawn to what he describes as “the ancient sound devices that are deeply embedded in Eastern medicine and ceremony.” This prompted him to become a researcher of vibrational healing techniques, which he refers to as Eastern vibrational medicine.
Rudis now travels through the United States presenting “a sacred sound concert” under the trademarked name of “Gong Bath”. Each of his concerts is unique, “rooted in Dharmic teachings” and has produced “profound self-awakening and life altering experiences” in attendees, he claims.
Of course, the New Age loves gong baths and has invented all sorts of variations such as the Earth Gong Bath which claims to be able to induce out-of-body experiences and past life impressions.
The practitioner at My Organic Life claims her gong baths will induce altered states of consciousness, affect you on a cellular level and even cause your body to release toxins.
A “gong master” named Don Conreaux claims the gong sound “vibrates the energy meridians in the body and brings them into balance” (sounds good except that this energy doesn’t exist). “Kundalini energy, which begins at the base of the spine, is released, traveling upwards along the spine through the body.”
He claims the sound of the gong “draws the anger and negativity out of a person like a vacuum.”
To date, there is no scientific evidence that sound vibrations can heal anything. At best, they can inspire a state of peace as we often experience while listening to good music. The only people who claim otherwise are associated with the New Age or are in the business of peddling some kind of sound therapy.
While it’s perfectly alright to listen to gong music, Catholics should avoid any type of “bathing experience” that introduces them to Eastern beliefs that are incompatible with Christianity.