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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Tuning forks — small, steel instruments that make a pure tonal sound when struck — are often used to transfer resonance
While studies about the benefits of vibrational and sound healing are ongoing, some of the most surprising work has been performed by Japanese alternative medicine specialist Dr. Masaru Emoto, who researched cymatics (the study of wave phenomena) in frozen water crystals using sound and intention. Because about three-quarters of the human body is water, his theories show how sound can possibly affect the body: “Dr. Emoto’s first book was on sound — when he chanted or spoke nicely at the crystals, they would open up. If he aggressively said ‘I hate you,’ they would collapse,” explains Lindner. “His second book was on intention — he just thought the phrases and the crystals did the same thing.” Although there are many people who criticize his experiments, referring to them as biased or too open to human error, his findings have been a major boon to spreading the word about sound healing.
Either way, I was ready to ease my water crystals. My main goal for my session was relaxation. At the time, I had just moved to a new upstate town, and between trying to organize the new place (“Where’d I put that box with that thing in it?”), configuring my morning routine with the new extended commute to work (hello there, a.m. Thruway traffic), and other tedious things, I felt I could use a little help with finding balance and harmony.
During my session I laid down (fully clothed, without shoes) and a soft pillow covered my eyes. Lindner and Guest measured my vibratory status, which included checking acupressure points and consulting the Chinese Five Element theory, which interprets the relationship between the human body and the natural environment.
Guest later told me that research has shown it takes the body 24 minutes to reach full relaxation mode, but I was already feeling peaceful within a few minutes. Soon the sounds started — the ting of tuning forks, the sharp ring of singing bowls, the beaded sounds of a rain stick passing from side to side. I became completely relaxed until the end of the session when Guest’s soft voice told me to begin moving my hands and feet to slowly come out of the meditation. I was actually in such a relaxed state that I couldn’t move my feet at first, but as I slowly came back down to Earth, my body began waking up. While my neck pain didn’t magically disappear (perhaps a few more sessions would help), I felt completely energized and recharged. Most importantly, my mind was clear — not running through the ever-expanding to-do list.
This is why Lindner and Guest prefer not to refer to themselves as healers. As Lindner says, “It’s you who does the healing, we just create the environment for your body to do its work. A large percentage of healing is relaxation, maybe another small percent is from the person who creates the environment, and the rest of it is all between you and God or whatever you call the force that brings you back into harmony. Referring to Dr. Emoto: If we’re 80 percent water, and water’s cellular structure changes when it’s harmonized through sound, then we’re really harmonizing the body.”
“And everything’s connected,” Guest chimes in. “Even if it’s hearing a sound or a song you like, you feel uplifted. That has an effect on your serotonin level and shifts your whole biochemistry.”
Even if that sound is just a simple song made by a loved one.