Sound, Medicine of the Future. Now.

A little over 20 years ago I had a client with essential tremors, much like the woman in the video in the attached article. The first time he went on the Soundweaver, with the vibroacoustic therapy and some light hands-on energy work, his tremors completely stopped. I would say that first time it took about ten minutes. After the session his tremors started up again like an old engine slowly starting up and within about 30 seconds they were totally back. But he had experienced relief. He told me it was the most relaxed he had been in 8 years since the tremors started up and that during the session he had no tremors at all. He said that at night when he slept he could feel his organs still shaking but during the session everything stopped.

Afterward he wrote a testimonial: “I fell into a state of meditation. I was in a void with beautiful light-blue light. All of my tremors stopped. It was like I was in a void with no end and no beginning. As soon as I felt like there was something beyond that, I reached for that Unknown and I came out of my state of meditation. as if I wasn’t supposed to go any further. It was a wonderful experience.” CST, 7.30.96

For the next year or so he came to me regularly for sessions. After the first session the entrainment set in much more quickly and it would only take about 3 minutes for his tremors to come to a total stop. They would always start right up again shortly after the music stopped, but he would get a reprieve and a period of deep rest that was very rejuvenating for him. The relief from going into such a deep state of relaxation would stay with him for a few days- which was huge. And then the exhaustion of the tremors would begin to set in again.

Close to a year later he shared another experience in a testimonial: “Most of the time I was in a marble chamber and at the entrance was some kind of a huge sculpting of a snake-like creature on the right. Inside it was calm and peaceful, no other people. Then I went into a place where everything became light. Light blue. It was so peaceful and calm that you feel no weight. When you are in there it is an extension of your life and you do not want to come back. I spent the rest of the time in the blue light. I feel like I am floating. I didn’t even feel the weight of my arms when I came out.” CST, 5.26.97

He didn’t come back much after that. It seemed that it became perhaps too painful emotionally for him to come back to his body after being in such a deeply restful and beautiful space. Not long after this he had surgery for his tremors which wasn’t entirely successful as I recall, but that’s another story and not mine to tell. He was elderly when I was treating him and passed away several years later. Working with him was an incredible gift for me and I know there was a period of time where it was extremely helpful for him. It was also tremendously educational as I was still fairly new to the work- had only been practicing a few years- and opened me to tremendous new possibilities with rhythmic entrainment and vibroacoustic therapy (introducing sound directly to the body through the use of a mat or recliner with speakers built into it).

Tonight I ran across this video about brain surgery with sound- in this case for essential tremors- very exciting!!! Click on this link for the full article.

Fathers, Sons and Cat Stevens

Honestly, I am forcing myself to write this tonight. I find myself so quickly exhausted when I get on the computer. I feel strong physiological effects from it and almost feel as though I am becoming allergic to it. It's too bad... Or not. It just is, I guess.

It is dusk. Father's Day. My father is far away now. He has been gone for 33 years. I was 28 when he died. He was 61, the same age I am now. I thought he was old. Now I think, "My god- he was so young!"

This evening I celebrated Father's Day with my youngest son, Nic and his 14 year old son, Jonah. Nic's dad died when Nic was 21- his dad, my ex, was 53 when he died. Nic's birthday is February 5, the same as my father's. They celebrated Nic's first birthday and his grandad's 60th birthday together. Patterns that run through families... births, deaths, histories that repeat themselves... so interesting. Emotional wave patterns that we become entrained to? Familiarity is attractive and compelling and often sneaks up on us while we are paying attention to other things. Some of that is good and some is problematic at best and very difficult to disentangle ourselves from. It sometimes seems to be deeply ingrained in our DNA and can take a tremendous amount of courage, hard work and intention to heal.

Oh, and I just remembered that I got married on this day in 1975. For whatever that's worth.

And tomorrow is the solstice and a full moon- the first time they have coincided in 70 years.

And I just spent a weekend with a beautiful Ecuadorian shaman, Don Alberto Taxo- but that is a story for another time.

Silencing the Inner Critic With Sound

Things have suddenly been kicked up a few notches. The article in the Providence Journal did not hurt. Since then I have been asked to lead a stress reduction seminar at an event for Women & Infants corporate donors and possibly to become a part of the programming at The Cedars in Cranston, which from what I understand is a nursing home and rehabilitative care facility.

Meanwhile, I have been dealing with a respiratory infection while I am in the process of getting ready to go to Florida on a three-week road trip to teach some workshops, perform healing sound journeys and do private sessions! I have also been experimenting with some of my own music and exploring the effects.

Up until recently I rarely played back my own sound journeys. Last summer I performed a sound journey at Yoga4All in Seminole, FL. It was the day after the terrorist attacks on Paris when I was in a very open and vulnerable space. I make it a practice never to compare sound journeys but I when it was over I felt that it was quite possibly the most powerful sound journey I had ever done and I became curious about it. I listened to it when I got home a few weeks later and was genuinely surprised by both the quality and the effect of the sound and frequencies- I was as taken with it as I had been the night that I did it and felt that it could be very powerful as a healing tool.  I began using it regularly for healing sessions with some of my cancer patients.
About to begin "Après Paris" Sound Journey at Yoga4All, Seminole, FL 8.7.15
I have been recording all of my sound journeys for the past 2-3 years on my iPhone but not actually listening to them. Since the surprise of the recent recording I decided I needed to go through some of my others sound journeys and start listening to them and seeing if any were worth transferring to CD. Naturally they are nothing like the quality of a CD recorded in a studio but what I have been discovering is that the effects are profound, even with the recordings in their rawest form!

A few days ago when I was sick in bed, I decided to listen to a short sound journey that I had done at my friend Lynn Carol Henderson's house. Usually the sound journeys are a piece unto themselves and between 50-60 minutes long, but this was just over 20 minutes as it was part of a house concert I had done at her house. When I lay down to listen my mind was very active. Quickly my thoughts subsided and my witness consciousness observed my body and mind becoming very still- this is for someone listening with a critical ear. I was listening to myself playing music waiting for the flaws, the imperfections, the voice of my own inner critic. But what I experienced was a silencing of that entire part of my mind. It was extraordinary. I had no idea how powerful these sounds could be. I understood from the perspective of a totally objective listener who was there for a particular experience but I did not at all expect to have that same experience- the experience that people share with me over and over in their own unique ways after every sound journey.
Getting ready for Sound Journey at the Henderson home, St. Pete, FL- August 2015
So this gives me a lot of new information about the real power of these sounds. I have been performing Healing Sound Journeys for years simply because I love these sounds and I love the experience of creating and exploring vibratory frequencies and the nuances and subtleties of pure tones and overtones. I know and trust that they are powerful, that they will have an effect, that they will activate different areas of the brain, create new neural pathways, entrain the brainwaves to alpha and deep theta states- that they are restorative and healing on deep levels, some of which the listener may be aware of either during the journey or later, and some which they may never be conscious of. They may simply know that something has changed on a deep level.

Last night I was unable to get to sleep as I had taken Alka Seltzer PM cold medicine for 3 nights in a row because my head had been so stuffed up. I was desperate for something to clear my head out and it worked and I slept soundly each night. It's amazing how quickly the body becomes entrained to the frequency of medication! Last night my head was clear enough that I didn't need the medicine. I was quite tired and lay down to sleep about 12:30 after reading until I was nodding off. As soon as I turned the light off however, I could feel energy buzzing through my body and I couldn't sleep. I lay there, very still and quiet for 3 hours- awake! Finally at 3:30 I sat up and looked around for my tuning forks with the delta frequency- but they weren't in my room. I lay down again and then thought, Hmm- what about a sound journey? I put the sound journey on that I had recorded at Lynn Carol's.

I felt the stillness settle into my body and twenty minutes later I was asleep.

Exhilarating Banjo!

Tonight I went to see Bela Fleck and his wife, Abigail Washburn in concert at the beautiful Zeiterion Theater in New Bedford. It was a last minute little piece of synchronicity- I didn't even know about it til last night. It was an absolutely wonderful concert.

One of the things that fascinated me was when Bela Fleck played solo, which he did a couple of times, I went into trance. It was surprising to me because the banjo is such energetic music, so I became somewhat analytical after it happened two separate times. Both times he played very long improvisational solo pieces. I wasn't tired and I did not fall asleep. I just "went away" for a while. Two things I believe came into play. One was that my left brain totally shut down and two, there is a powerful entraining rhythm with the banjo, and I think the combination just put me out.

Abigail Washburn was amazing! Her voice is haunting in contrast to her very down to earth presence. They both have different styles of banjo playing which complement each other beautifully. She does more of the "clawhammer" style while he does more of the finger picking. Her playing was phenomenal but the real mind blower was when she sang a song in Chinese. (Apparently at one time she was in China studying Szechuan.) I think the video below is fairly old but if you don't feel like watching the whole thing just fast forward up to 12:22 and she sings the song she sang tonight  Her voice is so powerful in this piece. The whole thing just knocked me out.

They were great, funny and fun. They had a wonderful rapport, bantering back and forth in a very humorous gentle way but the music was phenomenal. Totally exhilarating.

Healing Sound Journeys- How They Came To Be

Sound Journey in an old church in Cape Cod, MA

This Friday (day after tomorrow) I am doing a Healing Sound Journey at a martial arts studio in Woonsocket. (For more information click here.)  I have connected with a woman who teaches yoga there- Lisa Votta- and shares all kinds of holistic, inspiring and educational things that I am interested in on her Twitter page! AND she found ME via Google, which makes me happy, and there is a group of yoga students there who are excited about my coming up there to teach a sound journey. I am definitely looking forward to this event!

As I am thinking about the sound journey, I thought it might be fun to share a little bit about the Healing Sound Journeys and post some pictures from sound journeys past. 

Genie's Hookah Lounge, Newport, RI

In 1995 I began teaching sound healing workshops and found it to be most helpful for people to experience the effect of various instruments first, before discussing their effect. One could talk forever about how Himalayan singing bowls balance the right and left hemispheres of the brain and entrain the brain waves to a theta range, inducing a natural and effortless state of meditation (sahaj dhyan) but that will never give you the experience. I began opening my workshops with a short meditation on the various instruments that I had begun collecting- flutes, a small gong, a Tibetan bowl, a drum, rainstick, didgeridoo, an instrumental tamboura, a shaker- a very humble collection of instruments! I also used my voice, doing toning, overtone chanting and mantras.

High Rise, Rochester, VT

The meditation usually lasted about 15 minutes. The responses from participants were typically that they lost all sense of time and place, and that it was too short- an interesting dichotomy! As time went on, I began collecting more instruments and also realized that the effects of this short meditation were often profound so I began to extend the time. I offered a 6-week meditation called Sound Journeys, realizing that the participants were literally traveling on the sound frequencies and that each instrument had its own powerful effect and that they were all dramatically different.  So one week I would use a singing bowl, another week the didgeridoo, another week my voice, and so on. This was an amazing period of exploration and learning for me as well as those who attended.

Private home, Ridgefield, CT

As time went by the sound journeys began to develop a life of their own. People were having spontaneous healings- they took people much deeper than a meditation, with no effort at all on their part. All they had to do was lie down and the sound did the rest! Participants would come back with all kinds of stories of places they had been, colors they saw, loved ones who visited with them, physical healing, and sometimes an ability afterward to meditate on their own when before they'd had great difficulty.They spontaneously began to integrate the background sounds in their environment as a tool for meditation- in other words, the sound journey actually transformed the way they listened, heard and related to sound.

The sound journeys became Healing Sound Journeys. When I met my partner of 14 years, Henry Steffes, a musician who immediately saw the benefits of sound as a healing tool, we began doing Healing Sound Journeys together. We traveled around the United States and Canada, performing them in yoga studios, meditation centers and private homes. In 2005 I opened a sound healing center in St. Petersburg, FL and for the next 7 years I did a sound journey there every Monday night as well as in many other studios in the area and in other parts of the country as well.

(Tibetan bowl healing demo) Los Gatos, CA

In 2012, I moved back up to Rhode Island and have been offering Healing Sound Journeys in yoga studios and private homes up here as well as in Europe, with the occasional trip to Florida and California thrown in there as well.

For the past 3 years I have been recording all my sound journeys but unfortunately do not yet know how to upload them onto my blog- so sorry! I know that a picture is worth a thousand words. In this case a sound byte would be worth a thousand pictures but we'll have to wait on that and go with the pictures for now. Or you can come to one of my Healing Sound Journeys!

Saltana Salt Cave, Ridgefield, CT

Zettmar Studio, Newport, RI

Zettmar Studio, Newport, RI

Sound Journey Concert w/ Laraaji Naradananda, Temple of the Living God, St. Pete, FL

Sound Body Wholistic Health Center, St. Petersburg, FL

Women's Well, Portsmouth, RI

Sound Journey with orbs! Villari's Martial Arts Studio, Middletown, RI

Yoga Center of Newburyport, MA

Yoga Center of Newburyport, MA

Private home, Ridgefield, CT

First Unity Church With Alex Grey, St. Petersburg, FL

First Unity Church, St. Petersburg, FL

The Longhouse, Gulfport, FL- w/ Henry Steffes, Jr

Private home, Clearwater, FL

Recording Studio, St. Pete, FL w/ Henry Steffes, Jr

Healing Touch Wellness Center, Land O' Lakes, FL

Yoga Center of Newburyport, MA

Bright light after a Healing Sound Journey in Ridgefield, CT!

Music for Massage- Escape Artist

The first time I ever saw this video of Zoe Keating playing "Escape Artist" I was hooked!

Somehow when I transferred all my data to my new phone a couple of weeks ago not all the music I had on the old one was transferred. So today, when I was going to give a massage, the music that I had hoped to play was not on there. The only thing that I thought might really work was Zoe Keating. I had never used it before and I wasn't sure but I thought I'd give it a try.

It was so good! Rhythmic, entraining... I felt my client's breathing become steadier and deeper, and my own movements became entrained to the music so that it felt like I was doing a rhythmic dance on the body- sometimes working broad flowing strokes in time to the music, sometimes focusing in on a very small area, an indentation at the base of the neck or kneading a small knot on the bottom of the foot. Next client- same music, same steady rhythmic flow. She went into a dreamlike state during the massage. They were both super-happy, much more relaxed, way less pain and I had a great experience as well. Thanks Zoe!