Gongs and Percussion Inspire Deep Relaxation
Ancient healing modalities continue to emerge in the Western world in myriad forms. Whether through bodywork, yoga postures or aromatherapy, individuals are often met with a renewed sense of awareness and relaxation. Sound therapy, though around for thousands of years, may be unheard of to many, but its benefits can extend to everyone from avid meditation practitioners to lawyers and cancer patients.
Group and individual sound therapy sessions are non-denominational, meaning participants need not follow a particular set of beliefs to participate. As with meditation, the experience is best for anyone that wishes to relieve stress or deepen their connection with spirit in whatever way feels natural. For some, however, meditation can be daunting, especially in silence. With the help and guidance of instruments, many participants fi nd they are better able to enter a space of serenity.
Kenny Kolter, a musician and certified reiki healer known for his transformative and nourishing gong meditations, has been playing percussion instruments since the age of 9 and practicing meditation since age 12. His sessions incorporate gongs, drums, rattles, chimes and Tibetan singing bowls to blend a range of soothing vibrations with rhythmic undertones that invite attendees to go into a shamanic, or trance-like, state. “Many describe the experience as a sonic massage,” says Kolter.
“Sound helps people relax in a way that their bodies can let go, be open and reach a level of homeostasis,” he shares, recalling the studies of oncologist and author of The Healing Power of Sound, Mitchell Gaynor, M.D. “That’s when our body’s own innate abilities to heal surface, and the nervous system can recharge.” Kolter states that this is the real benefit from doing work with sound. “We live in a society that glorifies keeping busy, and we don’t take enough time to catch our breath,” he says. “Going to a group session is a way for people to have the opportunity to take time for themselves, recharge, let go, be comfortable and chill out.”
Kolter has led more than 1,300 group sessions and facilitated hundreds of private sessions and drum circles. He has played at The Elgin Mental Health Center for two years, Cancer Treatments of America for six years, Methodist Hospital Systems for two years, The Dallas Yoga Center for four years and many other locations throughout the DFW area. Kenny even led a meditation at The Fort Worth Federal Correctional Institution for a group of 50 inmates. He has also led retreats in Costa Rica and Peru and has released five gong meditation CDs.
Kate Eberhardt shares, “As an attorney, I have a high-stress life, and it is often very hard for me to turn off the noise in my head. With Kenny‘s sound healing techniques, I can go from being mentally overwhelmed to a calm and peaceful state in a very short amount of time.”
Cynthia Ingram, of Cancer Treatment Centers of America, says, “The fi rst time I was exposed to gong meditation was a life-changing event for me. I had no idea what a profound opportunity this would be. As a board certified holistic nurse, I have been exposed to and have used a variety of therapeutic treatments in my practice, but the healing ceremony itself was beyond anything I could have anticipated. There is such a sense of peace that fills your soul.”