Thailand

Why You Should Try a Gong Bath in Thailand

A GUIDE TO GONG BATHS IN THAILAND

Never been to or heard of a gong bath?

The first thing you should know is it’s not an actual bath, there’s no water.

Gong baths (and sound bathing in general) use the resonance and meditative effect of gongs to help you unwind and relax.

Think: running your finger along the rim of a glass, but on a larger scale.

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I first become interested in sound healing for anxiety after discussing it with my therapist while I lived in London.

While living there, I went to weekly crystal and gong baths. I was skeptical at first, but found both types relaxing beyond words- it was far easier for me to slip into a meditative state with gongs or crystals vibrating around me, than it was for me to simply sit and meditate.

Not to say the latter isn’t important- but my weekly sound bath was a nice, healing treat I looked forward to.

If you’re visiting London and interested in attending one, Re:Mind (my former studio) hosts several gong and crystal baths weekly.

Stealing an explanation from Steve at Fierce Grace (a yoga studio I used to visit in London):

“The sound and vibrational energy of gongs is an ancient and powerful tool used to help still the mind and allow the body to deeply relax. In this state, we can begin to process and release blocks, and come to deep physical relaxation.”

There’s a lot of literature emerging about the benefits of a sound bath, but they’re plentiful and include- stress reduction, help managing anxiety and depression, improving sleep and digestration and serving as an aid to overall well-being.

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When I decided to take a few months off work to teach English in SE Asia, I knew my weekly sound baths would be one of the things I missed most about the Western world.

Googling sound baths in my first few destinations, I came up with a few results but many of them (in Bangkok, for example) were private baths and thus, out of my budget.

It wasn’t until Chiang Mai that I found a yoga studio with gong baths in Thailand.

Scanning their positive reviews, I felt excited. I looked forward to bringing this positive, relaxing element back to my life and was interested in seeing how the experience in Thailand stacked up to London.

The latter remark above is a reflection of my awareness many of the ancient practices in yoga and meditation are commercialised in the Western world.

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I visited The Yoga Tree twice during my week in Chiang Mai, once for mindful yoga (hatha flow) and another time for the gong bath.

After only being there twice, I can’t recommend the studio enough.

The instructors are lovely, and prices reasonable.

As a bonus, both classes I went to were pretty small as well (less than 6-8 people), so it was easy to ask the instructors questions or for help.

Based on their current schedule, gong baths are held three times a week so hopefully you’ll be able to attend one if you’re interested.

What happens during a gong bath?

In London, my studio was upmarket and provided a large cushion, pillow, blankets and eye mask. It was ultimate relaxation.

The Yoga Tree was a bit more minimal, but still had mats, blankets and cushions of varying sizes.

My instructor at The Yoga Tree also encouraged us to get close to the gong and helped us try a few strokes so we could see what it was like.

Before starting, my instructor at Yoga Tree encouraged us to stand, sit and lie down to feel how the gong vibrations impacted us differently based on posture and positioning.

Once lying down, you close your eyes and just listen for 45-60 minutes (depending on class duration). If you think that sounds like a long time, trust me- it flies by.

I’ve heard about some sound baths that ask you to take different restorative yoga poses- and I don’t think I’d like that. I really enjoy just lying down and sinking into the experience without thinking about what’s next or trying to settling into a pose.

At the end of the bath, you’re encouraged to take your time getting up and getting back into the outside world. Some studios even offer tea or warm water to drink after as a way of helping you further relax and continue the detox.

If this sounds interesting, hopefully you’ll consider trying one either in your home town or when you visit Chiang Mai.

I’ve really enjoyed every yoga class and meditation I’ve been to in SE Asia- there’s something ultra special about taking part in these ancient practices while I’m in places where they came to be.

Have you ever tried a sound bath? Would you try gong baths in Thailand? 

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