Journey Arts in Woodstock, NY, Uses Sound Therapy to Heal, Relax
A form of healing that uses sound vibrations is gaining a following in the Valley
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When I was a child, my mother sang to me every night before I went to sleep. It was often just a simple song she made up, but there was nothing more soothing to me than the gentle tone of her voice. Now, holistic practitioners are realizing the calming and healing effect of soft resonance and positive thought patterns by using sound therapy.
Also known as sound healing, this therapy has been growing in popularity as more people are looking to alternative forms of health care, such as Reiki and other energy healing specialties.
There are several well-regarded sound therapy practitioners in the area and most have a promising page of testimonials on their Web sites, citing everything from asthma relief to decreased hip pain. I myself have dealt with chronic, stress-related neck pain on and off for years, and as a musician (or at least a person who makes a lot of noise on musical instruments), I was naturally curious about sound therapy. So I made an appointment for a healing session with Terri Guest and Marcus Lindner of Journey Arts in Woodstock, who have a sound studio/healing space tucked away in the woods near the renowned Maverick Concert Hall.
Shelves display a variety of percussion and wind instruments used during healing sessions
“Sound healing has seen a gradual rise in popularity, like yoga has. Over the years there’s been a blossoming of awareness,” says Guest, who is also a licensed massage therapist and aesthetician. “It makes sense that sound would be a healing tool; it’s always been one, but we’re just becoming more aware of its capabilities.”
Sound healing works in two ways. First, there is the simple notion that the sound itself — which is often created by percussive instruments, tuning forks, and other objects — can guide the body into a deep meditative state. The second factor deals with the vibrations caused by these sounds; each carefully chosen instrument creates a different vibration that has been shown to have positive effects on the mind and body, including aiding in stress and pain relief. During a sound healing session, emphasis is placed on entrainment — the process of projecting the rhythmic vibrations of one object onto another — and intention.
“It’s aligning and attuning with your own energy field. We are often out of synch with ourselves — for a variety of reasons such as life in the city, or what we eat,” says Lindner. “You know that phrase ‘Change your mind, change your life?’ Well, we usually open our sessions with a conversation and suggest that you may want to have an intention for your session, because energy follows thought. If you put the intention out there, energy will follow it.”
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