I have always been sound sensitive. I grew up with English parents whose voices were melodic and gentle. While I failed to appreciate the classical music that wafted down the corridor in my teenage years, I now appreciate the absence of commercial radio. I often use a buffer of music across the battlements of the neighbour’s fences. It appears that this old rocker’s playlist is diverse enough to shut off 96FM and JJJ.
Music is my first love. I do not need to be convinced that it heals. There are practitioners like Tami Briggs, who is a therapeutic harpist and the founder of Musical Reflections, a company whose mission is to provide products and services to enhance and support the healing journey. Tami has played the harp at the bedside of hundreds of hospital and hospice patients.
I recently experience two separate sound therapies. The first at Mount Romance, at The Sandalwood Factory, just outside Albany, West Australia, where we undertook ‘ The Cone, The Gong and The Bowl’ therapy.
My brave man and I lay on cushioned mats on the floor, breathing in the oil of sandalwood from a scarf over our noses and mouths and sunk into a guided meditation. The practitioner alerted us to the possibility of pain rising to the surface during the ‘gonging’. It was a deeply relaxing experience. I was expecting twinges of an old back injury site but instead felt an intense pain in my right hand. This was the site of several painful needle insertions during chemotherapy. I breathed through the pain and it resolved. It is believed that the body holds all memories of our living experience.
I loved this therapy, the mix of smell and sound. There was only the three of us under the ‘cone’ of artifical starlight. The other woman exited to see the disbelieving face of her partner. Perhaps the replacement of a ‘b’ for ‘g’, would have made all the difference to him.
The second therapy was at at Solariscare South West, Bunbury, West Australia, where I undertook ‘harp therapy’. It was a similar experience, guided mediation then relaxation via the strings of the harp. Harp therapy has been identified as a healing instrument by many cultures for millennia.
Documented outcomes have been increased relaxation, improvement in sleep, decreased pain and emotional anxiety, stabilisation of vital signs and improvement in mood. A July 30, 2013 published study by Carol McLaughin of the University of Arizona Medical Centre attests to the positive effects of the sounds of the harp upon healing. Now if I could only encourage Helen Punch (harpist) to sit beside my bed and play while I gently fall asleep each night. I know that three is traditionally a crowd, but for her I’d be tempted to make an exception.