Many of you may have seen a video going around called “Cymatics: Science v. Music” featuring the song Solar Echoes by Nigel Stanford. . .if you haven’t, do check it out! It is a fun watch and an energizing piece of music.
I have always been interested in what we call today ‘alternative healing methods’ and I am a massage therapist by trade so it’s especially intriguing for me to consider the ways in which sound and music can affect our well being. Years ago I was digging in my garden planting bulbs next to my apartment in San Diego when I hit metal. . .digging a little deeper I discovered that I had come across a genuine brass Tibetan singing bowl. I still have it, and the fact that it found me (thanks to some careless or whimsical person who had lived there before me) makes it all the more special. I often give it a gong or a swirl before I meditate or if I feel that there is some negative energy in my household. Some might dismiss this as superstition or quackery; Not so fast!
It is well known in scientific circles that ancient cultures in Egypt, Greece, and even the Aborigines (case in point: the didgeridoo) used sound vibrations regularly in spiritual and healing practices. Read about it if you like on a page I found called Cymascope. Here authors John Stuart Reid and Annaliese Kohinoor have produced a fascinating paper on the history and study of Cymatics worldwide. They make an interesting point that even today, sound is used in western medical practices routinely for practices such as kidney stone removal and sonograms for expectant parents to check on their pregnancies in-utero. To get a sense of how Cymatics works I highly recommend perusing the web and watching Cymatics music videos. One beautiful one I found is called “The Rosslyn Motet.” Based on the study of cymatics, and using clues from stone sculptures of waveforms in an ancient cathedral, Composer T.J. Mitchell has created a unique piece of music performed by The Tallis Chamber Choir. It is very moving and beautiful.
Quite simply, sound has the power to affect the way we feel. I may not tune in regularly to the YouTube channels which play nine straight hours of singing bowls and crystal harmonics, but during an intense study session sometimes I may listen for a bit in order to decompress. However, on a Saturday afternoon you are more likely to find me blasting Michael Franti and Spearhead or John Spencer’s Blues Explosion or some such crazy beats while I run through my chores. Trust me, the house needs a weekly. . .we have two dogs who shed a lot, and as a matter of fact they like fun music too!
What intrigues me most about Cymatics, however, is the possibilities it could have for healing. Last year I took a math class and the professor taught us about sound frequencies and how the music of today has literally taken a turn toward the down-tempo since the 1970s. Are we getting sadder? Is our health suffering as a result? I agree that it can be healing to listen to sad songs and really connect with them when we are feeling sad, but I have always thought that you’ve got to listen to the songs that lift you up and make you dance too. It’s so wonderful to be able to connect with each other through music, harmonics, and beats, and so much fun to share all of the great new music we get here at the station.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Cymatic Harmonics could be beneficial in health practices of the future? I’m excited to be taking an online lecture course starting January 24th called “How Sound Heals: An Introduction to Sound Therapy” that will consist of seminars by leading scientists and researchers in the field. Hey. . .it never hurts to learn something new. In the meantime I’ll be listening to music that makes me feel good everyday. Join me each Wednesday this semester for my show, The Healthy Hornet, and I’ll play some for you! I tend to like synthy upbeat music, lots of pretty vocalists, a little punk rock, and fun songs from the 80s and 90s. I’ll also be sharing tips and factoids on the show about holistic health every Wednesday at 10AM, all semester long, so tune in!