Sound Therapy

Posted to Subscribers on 1 February 2014


Dear Subscribers,

This post may or may not be a quick follow up on the singing bowls. Well, it will be about music, but "quick" is another matter because I have to indulge in some vast — but hopefully interesting — digressions.

Since it always helps to have a context for where I am coming from, let me just mention two personal stories. First of all, my mother had been a concert pianist (before I was born); but she played me to sleep every night, and I used to call out from my room to "keep playing because I am not asleep yet." She was a gifted pianist but had ruptured her eardrum years earlier when trying to rescue someone who was drowning. It was a constant source of emotional and physical pain for her, but I was her faithful audience of one for countless years. I doubt I could have survived my childhood were it not for music, but sometimes I wondered if the stork dropped me off at the wrong house because I don't know where my music gene is.

Then, leap forward. When I moved to Santa Fe in late 1979, I maet some people who were involved in a method of recall using a form of massage to classical music. It was fascinating but very labor intensive and challenging work. I wrote a book about this, sent it 20-30 publishers but it is still unpublished except for a few copies I printed for friends and students. It's called "Shadows on the Soul" (working title) and there is a web site of that name. The technique that inspired the book was founded by a very interesting woman named Kay Ortmans.

Enter Gail Barber. One eclipse cycle ago, Gail came into my life and resolved to turn my dark night of the soul into something creative and significant. We did a tremendous amount of work together and shared all of our professional understanding of the metaphysics of sound and music. I think it's important to separate sound therapy from music therapy because sound therapy is generally based on highly scientific concepts, some of which seem simplistic to me. Someone can use a single pitch or tone or note or whatever to "heal" or "treat" but the underlying concepts do not always make my bells ring. I am not discounting the power of sound, rather suggesting that frequencies and their harmonics are important but somewhat lacking in the nuances that occur with music. First of all, great music is inspired. Obviously, not all music is great, but to the extent that music is inspired, it has a power that cannot be expressed by mechanically produced tones. I'm not going to make a fuss here, but that is the gist of my argument and we can leave it at that unless and until someone can refute this.

Anyway, in the course of this enormous sharing and cross-fertilization of interests, Gail told me something but forbid me to talk about it. Well, I told two people, both Aquarians, so the cat is pretty much out of the bag now. In the meantime, almost 19 years has passed and I have heard this theory from others so I asked Gail how she felt about sharing it at this time. Unfortunately, we kept the secret so well that we forgot who first came up with the idea. She says it was someone very clairvoyant. Our apologies to the lady for not giving credit where credit is due.

If you can accept that music is a kind of architecture and that we are manifested inside a matrix that is highly sensitive to sound, you might also accept that we need all notes to be complete. There is no note that is not necessary for some function. The reason for mentioning this is that my tuner arrived today and I have gone through about half of the singing bowls to establish their fundamental pitch. I did this by striking the edge of the bowl and watching the meter and then circling the bowl with the mallet to see if anything changed. Within a short time, most bowls gave a second reading and then a third. Not all did this, but given enough time, they might. Keep in mind, none of these bowls are antiques and I am probably the first one who paid any attention to them since they were crafted.

My idea was two-fold. I wanted to see if eventually all the notes would be aroused and if this could possibly contribute towards an understanding of sound therapy. I also wanted to see if sets could be created that were harmonically aligned in a way that would further their action. Meanwhile, here is the story.

This not forgotten but nameless person told a story about a baby with an undiagnosed medical problem. They used an electronic device to measure the pitch of the baby's crying and determined that one note was missing. When they played that note for the baby, the medical condition resolved. Gail and I did some music therapy for clients in which we worked more intuitively on bridging these gaps, but the need for completeness does appear to be important.

So, today while I was testing each bowl, well half of them so far, I wanted to see how many notes appeared on the tuner and whether one bowl could trigger a sympathetic reaction in another bowl. Then, I called Gail and put the meter by the microphone (I use a high end speaker phone because my ears are so sensitive that I can't stand telephones). She had been out and about and I asked her for a quick course in harmonics and noticed, among other things, that every time she mentioned a note by name, she actually said it in the correct pitch. That must be the gene she managed to preserve throughout many lifetimes. I need to have a word with my parents about what happened with my genes.

Even more interestingly, she was running kind of low on one note so after a few minutes, I mentioned it and she started talking about it and the stress subsided in her voice, totally fascinating. However, as a professional musician and professor, she must have these notes really well organized in her innermost being. I have to think about my being, but it is clear already that I love the sound of some of the bowls and am neutral to resistant to others. This, of course, is also worth noting, sorry for the pun, because we have natural affinities with which we can easily align and discordant interactions that are anywhere from annoying to debilitating. When we really hate a sound, it is either very unpleasant to our vibrations or a sign that we are blocking and need to go through the resistance to find out what we fear.

It might be a big weekend, must be because of all the nachos and beer in the aisle of the supermarket yesterday, so I will keep this short. I just want to empower people but also to underscore the need for discernment. If sound is strong enough to heal, it is also strong enough to do harm. So while wanting to explain some of the nuances of sound healing, I would also caution against the one size fits all syndrome as well as the problems associated with overconfidence. Most disciplines require a lot of training and skill. Even the bowls are not always easy to play much less to use therapeutically. However, if one does use them, one can keep the treatments short and simple and allow for the possibility that treatments do not always give lasting results. The reason is that our emotional and spiritual habits tend to be quite firm so we re-establish patterns, even the dysfunctional ones. However, if you are willing to experiment cautiously, you may in fact find that something as simple as a bowl that supplies a weak or missing pitch may make a huge difference in how you feel.

Only 6-7 bowls have sold so far and each one took a little extra effort, not as simple as tossing something into a box, but I enjoy helping people to find what they want so, for the moment, I am enjoying the emails . . . and therefore added a couple more points to consider. Enjoy the game if you are watching it this weekend!

Many blessings,



Copyright by Ingrid Naiman 2014


The Astrology of Healing





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Copyright by Ingrid Naiman 2014

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