Dr. Khalsa presents the design for his  Sound Healing Research at the American Transpersonal Conference in 2019.
Dr. Karambir Khalsa presenting his dissertation proposal at the International Transpersonal Conference (April 2019, Pacific Grove, California)

Gong Meditation as an Intervention for Individuals With Anxiety

Dr. Khalsa’s goal in obtaining a doctorate in clinical psychology was to conduct sound healing research for his doctoral dissertation. His research explored the impact of gong meditation on markers associated with trait anxiety through self report measure and biological data.

The findings showed that listening to a recorded gong meditation daily for two weeks correlated with reductions in trait anxiety when compared to controls. Anxiety was measured using the State Trait Inventory for Cognitive and Somatic Anxiety (STICSA). Findings also showed that listening to a recorded gong meditation daily for two weeks resulted in statistically higher levels of hypnotic trance (which is commonly considered an altered state of consciousness) when compared to controls. The Phenomenology of Consciousness Inventory (PCI) was used to measure hypnotic trance. Dr. Khalsa also measured biological markers (EEG, HRV) to determine any correlation between self-report data from the STICSA and PCI. Unfortunately, data were inconclusive and largely invalid due to the challenges of measuring data remotely due to COVID.

Future Sound Healing Research

The focus going forward is to develop competency in gathering and analyzing EEG and HRV to study the physiological impact of daily gong meditation. Dr. Khalsa’s dissertation study resulted in a moderate-to-large effect size when measuring trait anxiety using the STICSA (n=26). The results of Dr. Khalsa’s dissertation research were at best preliminary but show promise. The data were used to determine an appropriate sample size for future research. A future study will eliminate unintended variables and improve internal validity.

Gong Tones is still in the startup phase and our immediate goal is to ensure sufficient funding to cover monthly expenses.  Our longer term goal is to secure funding through grants or donations to conduct the followup study discussed above. This would likely require upwards of $150,000. At present, the best we can do is to conduct research and development of the data collection and processing tools and processes so that when funding is available we are ready to move forward with confidence that our research will provide valid data for analysis.

To date, Gong Tones has successfully completed the following sound healing research studies:

  • Experimental Sound Study for neten, inc. of Japan
  • Dissertation research entitled Gong Meditation as an Intervention for Individuals With Anxiety

Both studies were halted and redesigned due to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to minimize risk to participants. The redesigned studies made use of recordings which could be accessed via internet. The dissertation study employed Bluetooth-enabled hardware which was sent to the participants.