In this guide we will look at the best gongs for sound healing and meditation, and the quite fascinating ways in which they work.
Sound healing gongs are beautiful percussion instruments that look great in your home and help to heal your body and mind. We use them for gong bath meditations, a therapeutic sound healing method that uses a combination of specific sound frequencies and vibrations to heal the mind and body.
Gong healer Don Conreaux describes it this way: “The gong… is a tool by which we are engulfed in total sound and brought back to optimum health and balance.”
Dr Michelle Hebert, a professional gong healer, describes the effects of gong healing meditation as “a cleansing process for the subconscious mind.”
I personally consider them to be one of the most important meditation tools.
But a caveat: You actually do need to have one of the best gongs for sound healing.
Just like when you’re buying Tibetan Singing Bowls, you need to get a good meditation gong.
But which are the best? Let’s take a look. And then I will share with you some amazing scientific research on the benefits of meditation gongs.
Best Gongs for Sound Healing Meditation
There are various things to know before buying a gong. Not least is the fact that these are just one of many sound healing instruments.
Gongs are percussion instruments usually made of metal and either hanging or resting (they lie vertically or horizontally). They can be flat (for clear sound), convex with a supple wall, or convex with a knob. They also go by the names plate, rin, and tam-tam.
The alloy formula for a gong is B-20 (80% copper and 20% tin) although this does vary a little depending on the one you buy. Different manufacturers use different formulas. For instance, the Zildjian Company of Turkey uses a Bronze Age Formula, which was brought to Istanbul in 1623 by the alchemist Avedis. Paiste, a Swiss cymbal manufacturer, uses the same formula. German company Meinl uses a unique proprietary formula. However, you can rely on all the above manufacturers for high quality products.
Here are some of the best.
Chao Gong ($$$)
The Chao Gong is, in my opinion, the best sound healing gong to buy online. It is available in all different sizes ranging from a tiny 8 inches to a far more impressive 30 inches. If you are looking for truly the best, go for the large one.
This is a traditional gong style that dates back to the Han Dynasty in 200 BC. At that time, this beautiful instrument was used for spiritual drumming and for holding formal meetings and announcing important people. So, you might like to bang it when you get an important visitor at your door. Just kidding.
If you have a traditional meditation studio/room, this meditation gong will look perfect in it. The sound is fantastic too. It’s a full and resonant sound that produces a good audio response whether you play it loud or quiet. The price is quite high, but worth it.
Zildjian 12″ ($$)
Zildjian (The Avedis Zildjian Company) are manufacturers of some of the best meditation gongs in America. They’ve got a proud history dating right back to four hundred years ago. As well as cymbals and gongs they also make drum sticks and nice big cymbal carriers.
The twelve-inch table-top Zildjian gong pictured above is a reasonable size and produces a beautiful sound. I like its stylish aesthetic, especially with the famous Zildjian logo.
If you’re looking to do house-blessings or want to begin meditation with a beautiful, soothing auditory marker (something that is done in traditional Buddhist meditation practices), this is a great choice.
The Zildjian gong comes with a table-top stand and mallet so you’re good to go.
Woodstock Desk Gong — Best Cheap Gong To Buy ($)
This hand-hammered desk gong is made with top-quality material and produces a rich and authentic sound. It’s 12 inches high by 10 inches wide. So, it is roughly the same size as the Zildjian gong listed above.
I really like the aesthetics of this one too. It is ideal for decorations, even if you’re not interested in actually using it when you’re meditating. It produces a high-quality, deep, resonant sound. And it isn’t tinny, like some lower-quality gongs that I’ve tried.
Woodstock Healing Gong- Eastern Energies Collection — Best Hanging Gong To Buy ($$)
In my opinion, this is the best hanging gong and another piece from the Woodstock company, which has been in business since 1979.
This hand-hammered Healing Gong is 30 inches long from the hanger to the bottom. It has a black and cherry finish and is made of ash wood. The actual instrument itself is made from brass and is 10 inches wide.
If you want to buy a traditional gong, this is a solid choice. It is hand-made in the traditional style of the Far East and is perfect for meditation sessions. The chime is rich and relatively low, fantastic to use as an auditory marker for a sitting session. If you want to buy a hanging gong, this is probably the best gong you will find.
How To Do Gong Sound Healing Meditation At Home
Once you’ve bought a gong, you might like to experience a gong sound healing bath at home. Although this will not deliver as deep an experience as going to an actual therapist, it is nevertheless a very enjoyable experience that is good for mind-body healing.
- Firstly, you will want to either buy a meditation gong and ask your friend to play it, or play a recording.
- Lie down in Shavasana. To do this, lie on the ground facing upwards. Place your feet shoulder width apart. Gently rotate your heels out so your feet are pointing slightly outwards. Place your hands by your side, palms up. Now relax your entire body, including your eyes, jaw, and mouth.
- Close your eyes and relax. Breathe in deeply through your nose and watch the movement of your breath through your nostrils, through your mouth, down your throat, into your diaphragm. Meditate on the breath for three to five minutes to relax.
- The gong should start quietly and gradually become louder. Focus your mind on the sound of the gong, just like you would focus on your breath in Anapanasati (mindful breathing). Let thoughts come and go as they will.
- The gong sound should change occasionally so that the rhythm doesn’t become too monotonous. As you listen you will go through the process of entrainment, which is a form of beneficially modified brainwave frequencies. The brain waves usually begin in Alpha (8 to 12 Hz), which will help you to experience the state of flow and relaxation. It will then move into theta brainwaves (4 to 7 Hz), which induce a deep state of meditation, hypnosis and sleep.
- Continue for thirty minutes to one hour.
Whenever I am helping my online meditation students to create a meditation space at home, I always recommend they buy a gong for meditation. But why? With so many meditation products on the market, you might wonder why you need one of these. What does it add to your practice?
There’s something sacred about the sound you produce when you strike the mallet into the cymbal. You’re running around like a mad-person at home, thinking about work, thinking about everything you have to do. Then—
That sound—that deep, resonant bass note—immediately grounds you. When you hear that sound, you feel grounded, you reconnect with the divine, and you immediately move into your Zen Zone.
It also works as a conscious reminder. Because you’re using it as an auditory marker for your meditation sessions, you start to associate the sound with the way you feel when you meditate. Then, the next time you hear that same sound you automatically recall how relaxed you felt the last time you meditated.
Science shows that we can truly be healed by gong baths.
All matter is made of energy. The entire universe is one big wave of energy. Nothing is truly solid. We are just energy vibrating at different frequencies. That’s why absolutely everything in the universe produces some sort of sound. We humans, of course, only hear the sounds that occur within the frequency range of human hearing. But everything in the universe produces sound. So is it any surprise that instruments that create certain frequencies can help to heal the body and mind?
The sound-healing gong, however, is a little special.
Not only are gongs a circle (which in sacred geometry is the beginning-less, endless form that is the symbol for heaven), but it also has a profound effect on our electromagnetic activity.
According to physicist David Bohm, when metal is “excited”, electrons become highly charged and the electromagnetic activity creates a field of Plasmon, which is a quantum of plasma oscillations consisting of photons. This field dies down when the gong stops reverberating. The person meditating on the gong becomes part of this field, so they are electromagnetically charged in a way that is healing. This creates a state of inner harmony that is like a psycho-acoustic gateway to a heightened state of consciousness. Meanwhile, the sound-healing gong also stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system to produce feelings of relaxation and to help release emotional blockages.
By listening to certain sounds, we influence our own inner frequency. This can affect us in many ways. It can affect our mood, our skin, our organs… everything!
When we listen to different sounds they affect our inner frequency, and scientific research suggests that certain sounds could help damaged DNA strands to heal themselves.
When we are operating at the optimum vibrational frequency, we are healthy and happy.
Especially powerful is the tam-tam gong, which heals by producing specific frequencies and tones that affect the mind and body in positive ways.
In the 1980s, German musician Johannes Heimrath became fascinated by sound-healing gongs. He ran workshops and helped many people to cure health problems using them. Heimrath discovered that these ancient instruments are remarkably good at curing headaches and relieving neck pain and various cramps.
When we listen to a gong, we stimulate the nerve endings. This can have a big effect on health problems like tension headaches and various forms of injuries. The best meditation gongs are similar.
Here are even more benefits of gong healing:
- Meditation gongs create a powerful sound wave. It’s so powerful it can actually be felt physically. This stimulates the body and enlivens the skin.
- The energy of a gong can help release tension. In Kundalini yoga, gongs are used to stimulate the glandular and nervous system and to increase prana, the life force energy.
- Listening to gongs improves the glandular system and especially the pituitary gland (which is responsible for producing hormones).
- They quieten the mind, which helps to stop anxiety, stress, and other psychological problems.
- They heighten relaxation, which in turn helps us to think more clearly and to be better at, well, basically everything.
But to get those benefits you really do need one of the best meditation gongs. Cheap ones won’t do.
There’s a fascinating history to meditation gongs and healing. For millennia, we humans have used these instruments and others as one of the main forms of spiritual healing. Many cultures have used gongs, including Romans, Persians, Egyptians, Greeks, Mongols, and Uighurs. Indeed, evidence suggests that gongs have existed since 4000 BC and originally came from His Yu in the Jang Kingdom between Tibet and Burma.
Of course, they aren’t the only instrument used for sound healing. Tuning forks, Buddhist bowls, mantras, chimes… these are all excellent instruments for sound-healing. Music therapy is also similar and involves healing ourselves by listening to music.
The oldest healing instrument, of course, is the human voice. That’s why we sing hymns and chant mantras.
It took a long time for gong healing meditation to become popular in the West. Go back to 1968–the time of Vietnam and 2001 A Space Odyssey—and you might see a certain spiritual teacher called Yogi Bhajan touring America. Yogi Bhajan brought yogic sound healing to the West. This was when we Westerners became interested in using meditation gongs for healing. And before long everyone was buying gongs. This led to much research and literature, such as Johannes Heimrath’s The Healing Power Of The Gong.
Today, many yogis enjoy getting high on sound-baths, and meditators listen to various sounds and music to get into their Zen state of mind. Even when we’re not meditating, when we are just listening to some beautiful meditation music, we often hear gongs, and they relax us. There’s just something about that deep and resonant sound that immediately starts to heal the mind.
So, for the many benefits of gong healing, for a deeper experience, and to heal your mind and body, I do highly recommend buying a gong.
Paul Harrison is a passionate meditation teacher who believes in genuine, authentic meditation. He has more than 15 years experience in meditation and mindfulness. He studied meditation in beautiful Oxford, UK, and Hamilton Ontario Canada, and earned his degree at Staffordshire University.
“My goal is to provide the most authentic meditation sessions so you can harness the power of your own mind for personal transformation” – Paul Harrison