The Gong Bath

I was excited about this specific part of my Hong Kong itinerary. The Red Doors Studio is becoming more and more popular with the expat and local yuppies in the city. It was why I quickly found it online while searching for meditation spaces in Hong Kong.

The studio is in Wong Chuk Hang, which is a bit far from the hustle and bustle of downtown Hong Kong. It is the station next to the famous Ocean Park. It is actually refreshing for me to see this laid-back side of Hong Kong. I was surprised that most of the establishments are already closed. I went to this coffee shop at around 6pm. I ordered a latte, and they closed the shop after. I was forced to stay in the street. I am glad the weather was nice, and my phone could detect a wifi connection.

After drinking my latte, I went to the Red Doors Studio, where I will spend my last night in Hong Kong. Outside the door was a shelf for the shoes. I removed it and went straight inside. I checked my name on the list, and the guy who was in charge of the registration gave me a small piece of paper. He said that I could write one thing I was grateful for today.

Next to the counter was a pile of mantras, a bowl filled with tantric necklaces, and a couple of lavender oil rolls. They instructed us to get a mantra sheet, to wear a tantric necklace and to rub essential oils on our wrists and neck. It was quite overwhelming. After the pre-bath rituals, I entered the room and sat on a mat not too close and not too far from the front. There were around 20 mats. Each mat contained a comfortable linen, an eye cover and a couple of pillows and cushions.

A bunch of gongs were on the right side of the room. This is a Gong Bath session, one of the popular offerings of Red Doors Studio. It is a form of sound healing used by our ancestors centuries ago, during the Bronze age.

After a couple of minutes, a woman in white entered the room. “Oooh! She was the founder of the studio, the one interviewed on Youtube!”, I said to myself. I did my research before coming here. She was overwhelmed that plenty of people came in tonight. It was a full house.

“Today is actually Thanksgiving Day in the US. This day teaches us about gratitude. When you entered the room, I asked you to write something that you are grateful for. I want you to share it with the person next to you.” , she instructed us. I turned to the woman next to me. She was in her mid-40s. She told me that she’s thankful for her family and the chance to live with them on a foreign land. She works in Hong Kong as an expat. I shared my note. I told her that what I wrote was something I was grateful for and at the same time a prayer and an intention. It was my mom’s healing. I told her my story. She smiled, but I felt her genuine concern.

After sharing our stories of gratitude, she asked us to settle down and do a special mantra called “Har Har Har Gobinde”, an adoration prayer.  

After the mantra meditation, she explained to us the process of Gong Bath. She said that this is the largest personal gong collection in Asia. Martha, the founder and owner of the Red Doors, started her Gong Journey 7 years ago. Her first Gong Bath session healed her ailments. “I need one of these”, she said. So she bought one. Then one purchase led to another.

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According to her, the sound of the frequency of the Gongs could stimulate the body. It could lead the listener to a REM sleep state. It means that you are neither asleep or awake, the state where the body heals itself. In Martha’s own words, “the cells will vibrate, and you will be like a Jell-O. That’s when you heal yourself!” I understood this because we studied this in high school. One of her friends suggested tuning the gongs to the sound frequency of the planets. Pretty cool right? The gongs have these planet symbols printed on them.

After the explanation, she finally asked us to lie down, to wear the eye cover and use the linens to cover our bodies. She asked us to close our eyes and experience the gong bath. This is it!

The first minute, I could already hear some snores. These people must be exhausted. After a while, I found my legs and arms twitching. They moved involuntarily in circular motions, like my Inner Dance experience years ago (which I will soon write here). It’s been a while since my body felt the flow of this energy, the chi.

After the 45 minutes of pure bliss (which felt like 10 minutes), Martha woke us up. I was not sure if fell asleep or if I was half asleep or if I was awake the whole time. But it felt like I slept for 8 hours. It was like I had enough sleep for a day, even after walking non-stop around Hong Kong for more than 12 hours. I smiled at the girl next to me, who looked like she had a 2-hour massage.

After the whole process, Martha instructed us to go outside the room and enjoy the snacks and yogi tea. It was time to socialise. I talked to the woman sitting next to me, and she told me that she will do it again. I said that she’s lucky she works in Hong Kong.

Before I left the place, I went back inside to talk to Martha. She said that there’s a Gong Bath in Manila because she recently did a session a couple of weeks ago. I need to research where that place is.

Getting here: 
By MTR exit Wong Chuk Hang station off the South Island Line, take exit B. Walk to the far end of the pedestrian overpass, down the steps and turn left onto Yip Kan Rd. We are the third car park opening on left, if you see a fire hydrant, you are there. Enter through the back of building after 1800 not the entrance on Wong Chuk Hang Rd. Parking available on the street at night.

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