I LOVE Chapel Holistics, that’s no secret, so when Laura invited us to join Chapel for a Martyn Cawthorne Gong Spa evening, we jumped at the chance. And then, intrigued, immediately tried to find out exactly what this meant… Fortunately, Laura and the Chapel team were able to explain in detail. Although to be honest, they had me at ‘bring a blanket’…
First up, we discovered that Martyn is a qualified, experienced and deeply committed gong practitioner/sound healer. He graduated from the College of Sound Healing, and subsequently founded the Northern School of Sound Smiths. Here courses, workshops and retreats for gongs and related instruments are held, where you can learn the tools required for expressing creativity and loving kindness through sound. You can learn to play gongs! Martyn genuinely loves to play for people and to be a channel for healing energy. His work with gongs is widely praised with participants citing relaxation, revitalisation, blockage/toxin release – as well as sheer pleasure.
Looking forward to a blissed-out evening, and hoping to sneak a biddy nap, we arrived at Chapel with mats, snuggly blankets and eye masks. Chapel is always an oasis of calm and serenity, but dimmed lighting and soft, flickering candlelight took that to the next level. Soon, around thirty people were cocooned, comfy and ready to relax…
The session started with a guided meditation led by Chapel’s own therapist, Jeanette. This was gentle – even informative – and helped everyone settle and feel receptive to what they were about to experience. The gong set up itself was surprisingly impressive. Gongs and other instruments of a myriad sizes were suspended on frames across the width of the room, and Martyn himself exuded calm and kindness.
After Martyn’s brief introduction, silence fell, and an air of peace led perfectly into the first soft gong sounds. What followed was both intense and fascinating. The range and diversity of sounds was mind-blowing in depth and tone and reverberated throughout our bodies. It was impossible to resist or ignore the sound, or to clutter our minds with overthinking as the sound was all encompassing, washing over us. This must be why some people refer to this as a Gong Bath.
The sounds produced by the gongs were sometimes soft, even velvety. There were suggestions of whalesong. Occasionally barely a whisper of a breeze through leaves, or the gentle patter of rain, rising to thunderous crescendos. Martyn had explained that everyone would feel something different, and boy, was he right. There were muffled – and several less-than muffled – snores and sleep-talking, as most people were lulled into deep relaxation. Others reported deep meditative states. Always having to be a little off-piste, I, however, felt an almost incandescent rage welling up inside me. Another lady said her head filled with sound. However, without exception, everyone was left feeling calm; even content – almost as though the sound vibrations had washed away negative emotions.
I have a tenuous, often troublesome, relationship with sleep – but not that night. Strangely, certain other issues in life have dissipated since, too. Coincidence? Martyn and other Gong devotees would say not. I’ll leave you to decide… Chapel have several more Gong Spa events with Martyn planned. It’s a fascinating evening at the very least.
Next event 23 June – Book there