good vi­bra­tions

Ex­plor­ing sound heal­ing

Santa Fe New Mexican - Healthy Living - - NEWS - By Staci Go­lar

Sound can star­tle us awake, en­er­gize us and even woo us back to sleep. It’s a con­stant sen­sory ex­pe­ri­ence for most peo­ple and one that helps us nav­i­gate the world.

Sound also con­tains mys­ti­cal con­nec­tions to the hu­man ex­pe­ri­ence. Hin­duism says that the whole world is con­tained in the sound Om (or Aum) and that Om was the source of cre­ation it­self. Cer­tain Ti­betan Bud­dhists use har­monic throat singing to ex­press heal­ing mantras. Sa­cred Gre­go­rian chant­ing, with its par­tic­u­lar melodic fea­tures, has been used in the Catholic Church for cen­turies. Shamans from many tra­di­tions are keep­ers of sa­cred songs, in­vok­ing them for par­tic­u­lar cer­e­monies or heal­ing.

In­ven­tor Nikola Tesla con­nected this an­cient wis­dom to sci­ence when he said, “If you want to find the se­crets of the uni­verse, think in terms of en­ergy, fre­quency and vi­bra­tion.” Sound heal­ing prac­ti­tion­ers in Santa Fe agree. But, why?

Jonathan Gold­man, a Colorado-based rock and roll mu­si­cian turned sound ther­apy guru, be­lieves there are a few prin­ci­ples in how sound works to bring bal­ance. In his 1992 book, Heal­ing

Sounds: The Power of Har­mon­ics, he writes that res­o­nance, en­train­ment and cor­re­spon­dence are key to ex­plain­ing sound as a tool for trans­for­ma­tion.

Res­o­nance is the fre­quency at which some­thing vi­brates, and Gold­man ex­plains that, “… ev­ery bone, or­gan and tis­sue in the body has a sep­a­rate res­o­nant fre­quency.” Through res­o­nance, it’s pos­si­ble for one vi­brat­ing body to set an­other in mo­tion (think of a high-pitched note break­ing a glass). With en­train­ment, the rhyth­mic vi­bra­tion of one ob­ject can cause a less pow­er­ful one to synch up (place clocks with pen­du­lums in the same room and soon all of the pen­du­lums will swing in the same di­rec­tion at the same time). With cor­re­spon­dence, Gold­man says, sounds can po­ten­tially

re­late to any vi­brat­ing ob­ject. “The same prin­ci­ple ap­plies to the fre­quen­cies of the hu­man body which may be far re­moved from those sounds which we can hear but which can be af­fected by au­di­ble vi­bra­tions.”

Con­suelo Luz, a lo­cal singer/song­writer fa­mous in­ter­na­tion­ally for her Sephardic (Judeo-Span­ish) mu­sic, stud­ied with Gold­man in the 1990s. It wasn’t un­til she later worked with Vickie Dodd in the Pa­cific Northwest, how­ever, that she added “vo­cal al­chemist” to her list of tal­ents. “I use my voice to cre­ate trans­for­ma­tion and change,” she notes, care­ful not to call her­self a healer.

When Luz works on a client, she sings in­tu­itively, some­times adding in­stru­ments (such as Ti­betan singing bowls) while the per­son is ly­ing down, us­ing chakras, which are be­lieved to be cen­ters of spir­i­tual power in the hu­man body, as a kind of map to guide the ses­sion’s pro­gres­sion. “I’m tun­ing in to what is go­ing on in their body and spirit,” she says. “I make sounds that need to be ex­pressed so that they can heal, move or ac­ti­vate the en­ergy flow in places that have been blocked. I iden­tify spe­cific ar­eas that are in need of at­ten­tion and ex­pres­sion.”

In a more tac­tile ap­proach, Santa Fe-based Lau­rie McDon­ald uses tun­ing forks on par­tic­u­lar points on the body to move Qi (en­ergy) in a style sim­i­lar to acupunc­ture, but with­out nee­dles. In sim­ple terms, the tun­ing fork tines are struck to form a par­tic­u­lar sound wave, and the hu­man body be­comes a liv­ing res­onator when th­ese are ap­plied, mak­ing where they are ap­plied key to trans­form­ing one’s en­ergy.

Trained as an acu­ton­ics sound ther­apy prac­ti­tioner by the Acu­ton­ics In­sti­tute of In­te­gra­tive Medicine near Santa Fe, McDon­ald was ex­tremely skep­ti­cal of this modal­ity at first, tak­ing sev­eral classes be­fore she be­lieved it was a pow­er­ful heal­ing tool. Years later, she con­tin­ues to see note­wor­thy re­sults.

“I have a friend who had a frozen shoul­der and had tried ev­ery­thing for two years — phys­i­cal ther­apy, swim­ming pool ther­apy, acupunc­ture — and noth­ing worked for him,” she notes. “Af­ter I gave him one treat­ment, he could lift his arm.”

McDon­ald be­lieves that “Vi­bra­tional sound heal­ing has the po­ten­tial to re­align the body’s en­ergy at the source; res­onat­ing and re­in­forc­ing, re­leas­ing block­ages and nur­tur­ing; restor­ing the body to har­mo­nious func­tion­ing one cell at a time.”

Elle MacLaren, an­other acu­ton­ics ther­a­pist in Santa Fe, also has wit­nessed what she be­lieves are re­mark­able heal­ing ex­pe­ri­ences with sound. “The most pro­found would in­volve my work with can­cer pa­tients,” she said. As a per­son who has had can­cer her­self, she has ex­pe­ri­enced first hand how th­ese ses­sions sup­port one’s whole be­ing, com­ple­ment­ing other can­cer treat­ments.

While skep­tics about sound heal­ing abound, ther­a­pists agree the best way to de­cide whether it’s for you is to try it. As Luz said, “Say­ing you’re skep­ti­cal of sound be­ing able to heal and trans­form is like say­ing you’re skep­ti­cal of mu­sic. It’s the fab­ric of the uni­verse. Sound is the ul­ti­mate heal­ing tool.”

PHO­TOS COUR­TESY LAU­RIE MCDON­ALD

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