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Sound and Music

Sound and Music

Everything that moves vibrates, from the smallest molecule to the universe itself. As long as it is vibrating, it is making some kind of sound. We may not perceive the sound, as it may be below or above the threshold of our hearing. The human ear can hear sound vibrations between 20 and 20,000 cycles per second, although we also perceive sound by skin and bone conduction, ingesting and consuming it with the whole body.

Many cultures and religions revere sound so deeply as to believe it called the universe into being. For the Hindus, all was dark and quiet in the universe, until the first movement in the universe created the sound "AUM". It is the mother tone, containing the frequencies of all other sounds.

Scientific studies show that sound can produce changes in the autonomic, immune, endocrine and neuropeptide systems. Every atom, molecule, cell, gland, and organ of the human body absorbs and emits sound. The entire body, as well as our brain waves in a relaxed state, vibrates at a fundamental frequency of about 8 cycles per second, literally entraining and attuning us to the basic electromagnetic field of the earth itself!

The late Dr. Hans Jenny, a Swiss scientist, rendered vibrations into physical forms, using sand, iron filings, and other materials, creating a multitude of kaleidoscopic images. This study of patterns and shapes is called cymatics.

Many modern scientists and doctors are translating this work into medical practice. Mitchell Gaynor, M.D., director of Medical Oncology and Integrative Medicine at the Strang-Cornell Cancer Prevention Center, and author of the new book, Sounds of Healing, uses crystal bowls and Tibetan bowls in his practice with cancer patients. He chronicles a thorough study of sound healing and a holistic approach to mind-body healing.

Dr. Gaynor refers to others who are using sound to complement their medical practice. Among them are Sir Peter Guy Manners, M.D., an English osteopath, who uses cymatic therapy to achieve a near-ideal metabolic state in a cell or organ and Jeffrey Thompson, D.C., who practices a technique called "Sonic Induction Therapy", using primordial sounds and sounds of nature to promote healing at the cellular level.

Music is organized sound. Virtually all cultures have used the powers of music therapeutically. For several hundred years, the role of music became one of entertainment. Only recently has the use of sound and music reappeared as a valuable healing mode in our western culture. Some of the most powerful music does not have a particularly pleasing melody. The goal of music therapy is to reduce stress and pain, promote deep relaxation, develop self-awareness and creativity, improve learning, and clarify personal values.

Prepared by Sarah Rose, c1999 Golden Octave