Therapeutic applications of music
Music and sound has been used to bring about positive change in people suffering both physical and emotional difficulties for millenia. I have pursued training in both music- and body-related therapies toward helping people to feel better. I am certified as a holistic massage and Thai massage practitioner, yoga teacher and soundwork practitioner. For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated and positively charged by my endeavours to channel healing energy through my hands to help relieve pain or stress in others and myself. It’s been an empowering meditation and a rewarding act of love. I feel a curious and wonderful parallel between this and my lifetime of experience creating music with my hands to heal, to inspire, to calm, to unify.
• MASSAGE •
For those who are keen to try something different, I augment the physical experience of massage with short periods of soundwork. I studied the use of sound and music in healing and soul shifting in my holistic massage course at The Art of Conscous Touch in British Columbia and with Sound Practitioner and musical collaborator Gary Diggins. I completed Levels 1 and 2 of Gary’s Soundwork program in Toronto in 2008 and 2009.
The latest scientific research on sound indicates that this vibrational art helps to synchronize the hemispheres of the brain, induce relaxing brainwave states, and produce the relaxation response: lower heart rate, blood pressure and deeper breathing. Besides promoting wellness, the experience of sound can be magical, mystical and creative connecting us deeply to our soul and spirit.
I use the deep resonance and soft beat of a large frame drum over a client’s body to help them sink into a relaxed, meditative state. These vibrations have also been shown to break up stagnation in the body, clear energetic blockages and even reduce scar tissue.
Clients may enjoy wrapping up a session with the pure, cleansing vibration of a singing bowl being moved over their body. Absorbing the rich vibrations of a didgeridoo can be a profound experience that moves energy in an intense and enjoyable way. Theses are shamanic techniques that have been utilized by various cultures throughout history.
• YOGA •
As a yoga teacher (certified by YogaSpace in Toronto, 2011), I have enjoyed opportunities to accompany yoga classes. I have accompanied Bibi Rahim-Hahn‘s popular Flow class at YogaSpace and for Suz‘s Yoga Drum class and Yin-Yang class at Fireflow Yoga Studio, both in Toronto. I accompany the regular charity yoga event Buddha On Fire, which supports a school in a Nairobi slum. The newest opportunity to bring my musical support to yoga is with Susan Anthony‘s Subconscious Streams, restorative yoga and soundscapes.
I welcome invitations from yoga teachers wishing to offer the deepening of practice that live music can offer their students.
• MUSIC FOR RESIDENTS OF LONGTERM CARE •
In 2019 I completed the first level of training given by a music therapy organization called Room 217. We learned about an innovative approach to health and well-being called music care which greatly enhances the quality of life for residents. Since then (until lockdown) I have been volunteering bi-weekly at Lakeside Long-term Care, a nursing home in my neighbourhood, to play flute as a lunchtime wandering minstrel. It’s a wonderful feeling seeing eyes light up in the otherwise dull vibe of the institutional cafeteria.
• MUSIC FOR THE DYING •
I had one of the most profound experiences of my life in July 2019 acting as death doula for a friend who chose Medical Assistance In Dying (M.A.I.D.). Settling her family into the environment by playing my kamel n’goni (African harp) was probably the most meaningful musical opportunity I have ever had. I feel a calling to help others to have as conscious, meaningful end of life experience as possible and to hold space for their loved ones. I am signed up for a Death Doula course through Douglas College starting November 2020.
• REIKI •
When Dany Lyne attuned her Reiki students in 2013, I had was invited to deepened the experience with ceremonial sounding. I used a buffalo drum, didgeridoo and crystal singing bowl to open the students more deeply to receiving their attunement.