Have you ever wondered what ancient healing methods entails? We sit down with Martha Collard, founder of Red Doors Studios to learn more about sound healing, meditation and other natural remedies.
How exactly are these ancient healing methods adopted for modern times?
Red Doors aims to bring these tried and proven techniques into the mainstream through education and experience. Every ancient culture practiced some form of sound healing. I have experienced first-hand the benefits of chanting out loud as well as playing the gongs. For a number of people this may be too much to ask. My goal is to make these techniques relevant, and easily accessible through experiential gong concerts and workshops. It is well known that high levels of staff dis-engagement and stress have serious consequences for employers. They seek quick fixes. Gongs, labyrinths and kundalini yoga are all ancient practices that offer fast results, perfect for modern man.
Sound healing sounds interesting. How does it work?
Nature is not random. Nature prefers order. Every molecule of our bodies vibrates. As a result when every molecule and cell vibrates together; we generate energy that surrounds us like a cocoon. This is called our aura. If there is an energy blockage or disease then it can be seen in our aura. Sound healing encompasses making noise such as chanting, toning and playing instruments as well as listening to noise or music for a therapeutic effect.
What’s the difference between singing bowls and tuning forks?
Traditional signing bowls are made of an alloy containing 7 metals. Tuning forks tend to be one and are tuned to one frequency. Every tissue and bone in your body has a unique frequency that has been identified. Heathy cells one frequency, cancer cells another, awake versus sleeping states etc. Therefore if you know one organ or vertebrae in your back has a problem, then you use the tuning fork with a corresponding frequency. When the tuning fork is placed on the body near the energetic blockage then the tissue will converge to the correct frequency.
Imagine a room full of people who start to clap at the end of a performance. If they clap long enough, they will naturally start to clap together. The same is true with tissues. Bowls, especially the old ones are not so accurate in their frequencies and tend to be used for the 7 chakras which are energy centres in the body. The new crystal bowls are tuned to particular frequencies and are used the same way as the metal bowls.
What is a gong bath and what can one expect from a session?
The sound of a master quality gong induces a state of spontaneous meditation and relaxation that facilitates the movement of chi or prana (positive life force) throughout the body. The movement of which on a physical level, eliminates tension, stimulates the circulation and glandular systems, and regenerates the parasympathetic nervous system. Not only do you hear the Gong sound but you also feel its vibrations on and inside your body. Listeners experience a sense of connectedness and peace. They are lulled into a Theta or REM sleep state where one is neither asleep nor awake. This is the state of dreams and at which time our bodies begin to heal and rejuvenate.
Can you share your first experience with us?
I have been practicing yoga since 1989, and one of the best parts is the sivasana or deep relaxation at the end of the class. When I did my kundalini yoga teacher training a few years ago in New Mexico the entire class experienced a gong bath. It was then I just knew I had to have a gong. It was a magical experience where I was floating in a sea of sound and had truly lost touch with my physical self.
During the gong bath I dreamt I could see my DNA floating about and then coming together like zippers and thought to myself, “they are right!”. I then felt an icy cold liquid on my side and thought “that isn’t very sporting, why are they doing that?”. When I woke up I realised that it was all in my head and that my kidney stone had dissolved in one session. Right then and there I decided to buy 4 more gongs. My collection now stands at 14.
What an incredible story! Have many others also experienced these healing powers?
Thank you. Yes many, but not so many in Asia. I am the only person who does what I do as far as I know in this part of the world and I certainly have the biggest collection aside from the distributor for gongs. I see my personal mission to share the gongs with as many people as possible.
Are there any known adverse side effects?
None that I know of. When I play I never get ill! I have helped many people with medical issues ranging from slipped disks to concussions, from frozen shoulders to arthritis, from stiff muscles to jet lag. In addition gongs are extremely useful for removing negative energy blockages anywhere in the body.
Where did you learn to play the gongs?
Anyone can learn to play a gong. To play well requires an ability to trust your intuition, to remain focused, to listen and maintain your intention. This is what takes time to learn. I play intuitively, have taken workshops in China offered by instructors from the US as well as the world’s #1, Don Conreaux (81 years of age) who has been playing since 1969 and who invented the term ‘gong master’. Most recently I assisted him with a workshop in Croatia. Next year I will travel with him to Taiwan, China and Australia.
And how do you manage to play them all at once?
I just do.
Does each gong have a meaning?
Yes based on the planets and their frequencies. Symphonic gongs are flat gongs with harmonic and universal sound structure. The sound character of these gongs can be influenced and varied through the nature of the stroke, as well as size, weight, and composition of the mallets. The other gongs are planetary, similar to symphonic gongs except they are tuned to a specific pitch. These gongs are based on the frequency of the Sun, Moon, Earth and other major & minor planets which are based on the calculations of a Swiss mathematician!
How about in meditation, what is a labyrinth and what are the benefits of walking one?
A labyrinth is an age old path of relaxation, inspiration and wisdom. It is typically a single circuitous path that winds its way into the center and out again. A labyrinth is not a maze. It has no dead ends. Mazes are complex and require left-brain thinking and logic. Mazes challenge, whilst labyrinths invite. The single path ensures you cannot get lost. Their numerous 180° turns shift your awareness from right-brain to left-brain. These shifts balance the two hemispheres of the brain resulting in a meditative state linked to physical and emotional healing.
There are many reasons to choose to walk a labyrinth – to celebrate, to grieve, to slow down, to seek insights and inspiration, to find stillness and compassion or sheer curiosity.
Lastly, do you have any words of advice to our community on how to live a healthy lifestyle?
Refer to the ancients, ‘know thyself’. Be true to your values, experience life, express gratitude daily and have no regrets.
Thank you Martha for a truly enlightening conversation. We can’t wait to come back for our next gong bath! (Martha also serves the most delicious brownies, spiced tea and other delectable treats after each session). Hope to see our Guavas at Red Doors Studio!