health care practitioners, Hospital, Music, Reiki, Teaching
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Sounding Off

Music is the movement of sound to reach the soul for the education of its virtue. (Plato)

The weather has cooled enough that I can write this to you dear reader from my cozy back porch.  (Not that it’s exactly arctic: I’ve got my feet soaking in a tub of cold water and am drinking ice tea.  But I loathe to turn on the a/c if it’s not absolutely necessary.  Plus, inside I don’t get to spy curiosities like the garbage truck in my alley backing up into a space it shouldn’t rightly fit into while the driver blasts my favorite AC/DC song from 8th grade.)

This week at the hospital was a good one; am feeling more comfortable being there and enjoying the Reiki sessions I do on patients. (I know I haven’t told you much about these; this is because of confidentiality rules that means I can’t tell you the diagnosis or anything about the person.  I can’t figure out how to tell a story without these things, so it’s easier not to. Suggestions welcome.)

I also got to help my teacher present a lunchtime overview on Reiki with the physical therapists, whose questions and responses seemed to show that they see the need for emotional healing to happen in order for work they do at the physical level to be effective.

I didn’t say much. (I know, a huge surprise to those of you that know me or have been reading this and see how easily I can ramble on.)  Instead, I got to demonstrate a biofeedback device that continually assesses brain-heart coherence. It’s pretty cool. You clip it onto your ear lobe.  When you’re off in negative thought-land, or breathing from a shallow place, the light on the device will shine red.  If you can be present and breathe smoothly and continuously, the light turns blue or — happiness! — green.  There are different breathing techniques they suggest with names like “heart breathing” “neutral breath” and “attitude breathing” — but these would be familiar to anyone with a regular meditation or yoga or tai chi or qi gong practice, just using a slightly different linguistic framework.

This has been one of the things that I have most struck by: how doctors and health care practitioners seem pretty open and accepting of complementary and alternative practices as helpful, if nothing else, in dealing with the psychological aspects of healing.

On Wednesday, I went to a wonderful lecture that Dr. M. Kogan gave to the third-year medical students on integrative medicine, which he says will eventually be known simply as good medicine.  (Irony of irony is that I might have to let my health insurance go, since my personal economy started slagging along with the national one about a year and a half ago.  Hardly an issue:  I’ve never been healthier and stronger in my life.  Still, it would be nice to have that just-in-case option that say, Canadians, enjoy.  Sigh. TBD.)

Maybe that’s because they’re trained in science.  Science has shown, more and more, that everything is composed of vibration.  (OK, and particles.)  These waves and particles interact with experimenters in such a way that it’s impossible to study them without knowing how they would be moving about their daily lives without you there (aka Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle).

This kind of interactive play may also illustrate that vibration is conscious, since it chooses to interact.

At least this is how Darrell Brann, a classically trained musician and energy therapist, explained it at a daylong workshop I attended on Saturday.

I was never a particularly good math student, and have never learned to play a musical instrument, so much of the how-it-works went a bit over my head.  (My music teacher at the prestigious public magnet school I attended in NYC was best known for being an easy cut; so easy, in fact, that he inspired me to track how often I cut, since I was pretty sure it was best not to skip and hang in the park more than two days in a row.  He introduced the class by announcing that we were indeed the “cream of the crop,” but could very quickly, and most likely, morph into the “cream of the crap.” Mr. M. didn’t so much teach an appreciation for music as inspire a preference for joint-smoking over boring indoor lecturing.)

The Reader’s Digest version of Darrell’s brilliant talk is that sound is vibration.  And it’s been used for thousands of years, in many different cultures and traditions, as a way of healing, including allopathic medicine’s use of it in ultrasound and to break up nasty little buggers such as kidney stones.

Many religions have used mantras or the recitation of prayers in a specific order and cycle as a form of sound healing.  (Think Tibetan throat singing — or anything from the Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim or Christian liturgy.  Think Gospel!)

Among Darrell’s other projects is the creation of computer-generated music using a special harmonic keyboard based on Pygathoran ratios.   Instruments such as the flute used by many First Nation folks, and even the Stravinsky violin, use harmonics.   But as music was offered less and less frequently as a healing modality, and more as pure entertainment, modern instruments evolved (or shall we say devolved?), into having less rich tones and frequencies.

Darrell has spent thousands of hours creating what can only be described as a veritable bumper crop of CDs which correlate to the frequencies of body parts, organs, meridians, chakras, functional systems (immune, nervous, etc.), even planets (Earth, by the way, vibrates at a low C, according to NASA instrumentation).

The basic idea is that when you listen to these frequencies, they enter your energetic system and clear out blocks — places of condensation or inflammation — much as detoxing your body of Bad For You Food and Drink will.  (They also help you do lots of other cool tricks, but let’s keep it simple and scientific for the moment.)

I already own an excellent overall “tonic” Darrell produced called the five channels (which basically works with the lower five chakras and their pathways throughout the body), as well as one on love.  I just got me “Success and Abundance” since the Solar Eclipse seemed as good a time as any to release anything I’ve been carrying that blocks me from feeling like I’m doing awesome things with my life and focusing on all the many blessings in it.

On that note:  one recent blessing was teaching a lovely yoga and writing workshop on Friday night.  It worked so well that I’m going to try to make a monthly habit of it.  Next one is Friday, August 13th from 8-10 pm at Quiet Mind Yoga.

So this week:  go to a park or just sit by your window and spend 15 minutes with your eyes closed, listening to the symphony of city sounds or birdsong or even your own breath.

Happy as always to hear your thoughts and ideas!

Until next time,

Yael

This entry was posted in: health care practitioners, Hospital, Music, Reiki, Teaching

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I'm a yoga therapist and coach who is fascinated by the ways in which scientific inquiry has converged with wisdom traditions in concluding that our physical, psychological and spiritual well-being are intrinsically connected. I try to use this knowledge to help people feel more resilient, courageous and alive.

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