Sound Frequencies for Health

Sound Frequencies for Health

by Steve Rees, Ret. RN, Harpist

This article continues to explore the subject of Serenity and some of the scientific reasons for surrounding ourselves with the wonders of the natural world.

John Stuart Reid from the Shift Network provided a class on the subject of Sound Therapy. As this subject was close to my area of interest, I decided to pay for the course and learn from John’s knowledge. I’m glad I did because he is providing information that confirms what I have understood for some time now. Also, he presents it in a very scientific way.

One of the recommendations that I presented in my last article was to take the time and enrich your senses to the wonders of the natural world. These are the places and times when you will find rejuvenating energy for your body, mind, and soul.

As I listened to one of John’s modules, he explained that when we sit and listen to a waterfall, creek, or river, we expose ourselves to ultrasound frequencies that are not audible but are present as documented by instrumentation. A walk by the ocean will produce the same effect. He had a meter that recorded the presence of ultrasound frequencies and played a recording of a waterfall, and it lit up. Amazing! At the same time, it did not light up when a voice spoke into it.

John also observed that there are many sources of these ultrasounds in the natural world instead of the artificial environment that most people live within. The sounds of the wind in the trees, the birds chirping, and many other sounds one encounters on a walk in the woods produce these frequencies that are so beneficial.

What is even more amazing about this phenomenon is the biological function that occurs within our nasal passage.  When exposed to these ultrasound frequencies, special cells stimulate the production of nitric oxide which is responsible for reducing our blood pressure and slowing our heart rate. Other producers of these ultrasounds are full sound spectrum musical instruments such as the harp! This explains why so many people are positively affected by the music I present on CDs, on YouTube, and at live concerts.

A look at the properties of nitric oxide reveals that the endothelium (inner lining) of blood vessels uses nitric oxide to signal the surrounding smooth muscle to relax, resulting in vasodilation and increasing blood flow. It also results in reducing blood pressure. Interestingly, breathing through the nose produces nitric oxide, but breathing through the mouth does not have the same effect.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitric_oxide

I recommend John’s work to you if you were interested in sound therapy. His website is:

https://soundmadevisible.com/                                                       https://theshiftnetwork.com/       

He has also developed a Cyma Scope that can display beautiful geometric patterns of different sounds that are sampled or spoken into a microphone.

One of the pieces of information that started me on my whole journey with understanding the healing qualities of the harp and its music was when a friend shared the concept of cymatics. He had shown me an article on geometric designs produced on a metal plate sprinkled with sand that had sound conducted to the plate. Different sounds result in different patterns. As I considered this, it suggested there were material properties to sound.

This inspired me to investigate if the physical letters of the Psalms of David might have clues to connections with musical notes or sound frequencies. I wondered if I could decipher those notes into musical compositions. This understanding has led me to produce the Calming Harp music that I present today at:  

www.calmingharp.com                                                                            www.youtube.com/peregrinnatti

John’s research takes this concept well beyond my original understanding. Through the images produced by the Cyma Scope, he demonstrates how structured sound is, and how beautiful it is to be able to “see” sound. For example, he experimented with a dolphin research group in Florida, which demonstrated that the sonar signals a dolphin sends out can be used by the dolphin to produce an image of what the sonar signals are bouncing off. This ability enables it to “see” with sound, even in murky water.

Experiments are underway to find out if the sound from a heart beating could be used to help diagnose any pathologies that might exist. Another area of possibility is the ability to hear cells and determine if they are cancerous or healthy. John even showed a Cyma Gram of a healthy body cell compared to a cancerous cell. This ability leads to the possibility of a surgeon being able to use the Cyma Scope to be able to tell if they were able to excise all of a tumor during an operation.

The medical world is embracing music and sound therapy more and more as studies reveal the abilities of sound and music to address disease. As we come to understand more about the properties of sound that can be applied, additional applications will be developed.

My hat’s off to John and the work that he has been doing over the past few decades. Fascinating discoveries have been made about the benefits of sound frequencies for health, and no doubt there are more to come.

Music of Psalms with New Book Collaboration

I would like to announce the collaboration of The Music of the Psalms with a beautiful book written by Suzy Mulligan titled Dear Children, Love God.  This is a special, 8×8 inch hardcover book, with a loving message for each one of us. It is a gentle reminder that above all else we are children of God, whose love for us is unconditional, healing, and timeless.

To compliment the experience of reading through the book, I have provided the harp music of Psalm 51, Psalm 91, and Psalm 103 to be played in the background. These three Psalms offer about 30 minutes of beautiful restful inspiring music to help set the atmosphere for reading these words of encouragement.

Suzy is offering a CD with these three Psalms on it that you can order along with her book on the website: www.dearchildrenlovegod.com

You can watch a video sampling the book and music by clicking on the video below:

I am also offering mp3 downloads of these Psalms on the Marketplace here on this website. Each song is a long play — about 10 minutes.

  • Psalm 51
  • Psalm 91
  • Psalm 103

I am very pleased to be joining Suzy in this project and it is my hope and prayer that many will be blessed through it. The thoughts and Scriptures that Suzy has included in this book are timeless word treasures that will encourage and lift people onto a higher plane of vision to understand how intricately our Heavenly Father is involved in our lives and gather strength to walk through the experiences of their lives.

I want to thank Suzy for bringing me in on this project and I want to encourage you all to go to her website at www.dearchildrenlovegod.com and order this timeless treasure.

Blessings

Steve

Buying a Harp

Harp Comparisons and Recommendations

Frequently I am asked, “What is a good harp for beginners?” And, “What harp am I playing,” because they like its sound on my CD’s. In response to these questions I want to give you some guidelines and things to look for and take into consideration when buying your own harp.

I do have some favorites that I will tell you about, and also why I like them; and at the same time, I want to give you enough knowledge to choose a harp that will be a good choice even if it is not one of my favorites.

To start with, I currently have two harps. The larger of the two harps is the one I use for recording CDs and for traveling wherever I can drive by car or RV. It has 33 strings and full sharping levers which makes it very versatile and capable of playing with a broad range of other instruments in a wide range of major and minor keys. Since it is larger, and has a large sound box, it is capable of projecting a full resonant sound that carries very well. It is also lightweight, weighing 22 pounds making it easy to transport. It is a kit that comes from Music Makers out of Stillwater, Minnesota. Their website is:

www.harpkit.com

It is my opinion that this is the best harp value for your money. It is a great combination of great sound, reasonable cost, and ease of transport.

The cost of this harp, without levers, is $2700 plus shipping, if I make it for you. I usually recommend not putting levers on at first so the beginning harpist can spend more time learning fingering and gaining confidence before adding the dimension of levers which allows the harpist to play in different keys. The levers can be added on later at a cost of approximately $500.

The other harp I have is a Harpsicle from Rees Harps in Rising Sun, Indiana. Their website is:

http://harpsicle-harps.com

The model I have is called the Fullsicle which has a full set of sharping levers; one for each string. Without sharping levers it costs about $400, but with sharping levers, the price goes up to $850 and there is extra cost for shipping.

This is the harp I take with me on international trips. It can be carried on board aircraft and stored in the overhead bin of the airplane so you don’t have to risk checking it with the baggage handlers who will surely find a way to break something. This harp has a very good sound. Listen to its quality here:

I recommend this harp for someone getting started since it has good sound and its construction design is very strong yet it is lightweight and easy to transport. The cost is reasonable and once you have learned on it and graduate to a larger harp, you still have a travel harp. I have visited the Rees manufacturing facility several times and am quite impressed with their design, assembly and philosophy. (Even though we have the same last name we are not related… maybe distant cousins 🙂

There are many harp manufacturers available today. I would stay with those made in the USA or Europe. There are some coming out of Pakistan, China and elsewhere that I have seen that are inferior in construction and don’t have good string tension or sound. If you are looking at a harp with levers, make sure they are smooth in operation and the sound of the string stays consistent when the lever is engaged. Also make sure there is no warping, cracking or separation of the wood and glue joints.

If you want any guidance on a particular harp you are welcome to contact me using the form on the Contact page.

I really want to see more harps and harpists joining the ranks of playing calming harp music for their personal enjoyment and the enrichment of those who hear them. Let’s grow a “Calming Revolution”!

It’s Mozart for Lower Blood Pressure!

It’s Mozart for Lower Blood Pressure!

I keep talking about the positive effects of music on the physiology of our bodies – now some more scientific proof! Mamma Mia! Listening to Mozart lowers blood pressure…but ABBA has no impact!

Mozart’s Symphony No 40 in G Minor Lowered Blood Pressure

Relaxing to a soothing Mozart symphony can lower the blood pressure as much as cutting salt from the diet or exercising, a new study has shown. But for people concerned about their heart, it might be wise to stay clear of ABBA, which has no impact at all. Scientists in Germany played Mozart’s Symphony No 40 in g minor, dances by Johann Strauss, and songs by ABBA to 60 volunteers, monitoring their blood pressure before and after the experiment.

“The music of ABBA did not show any or only very small effects on blood pressure and heart rate.”~ Hans-Joachim Trappe

They found that Mozart lowered systolic blood pressure (the pressure in blood vessels when the heart beats) by 4.7 mm Hg, Strauss 3.7  mm Hg, but the Swedish pop group made no significant difference. Diastolic blood pressure (when the heart rests between beats) also fell by 2.1 mm Hg for Mozart and 2.9 mm Hg for Strauss. Previous studies have found that aerobic exercise such as cycling, running or brisk walking had a similar impact on lowering blood pressure. Reducing salt by 6 grams per day brings systolic blood pressure down by between 7 and 4 mm Hg.

ABBA Live At Wembley Arena Press Image

ABBA Live At Wembley Arena Press Image

The lyrics in ABBA songs may have prevented the calming effect of music, say researchers. “It has been known for centuries that music has an effect on human beings. In antiquity, music was used to improve performance in athletes during the Olympic Games,” said lead author Hans-Joachim Trappe, of Ruhr University, Germany. “In our study, listening to classical music resulted in lowered blood pressure and heart rate. These drops in blood pressure were clearly expressed for the music of Mozart and Strauss. “The music of ABBA did not show any or only very small effects on blood pressure and heart rate. This may be due to emotional factors, but on the other hand, the use of spoken words may have a negative role.” The researchers concluded that to be of benefit, music must be: in a pleasant key, of skillful composition, have a consistent volume and rhythm, devoid of rousing sequences, have no lyrics, and have achieved a certain degree of fame and popularity.

Source: The research was published in the journal Deutsches Arzteblatt International.

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Brain Damaged Violinist Makes Music for First Time in 27 Years with Mind-Reading Technology

Brain Damaged Violinist Makes Music for First Time in 27 Years with Mind-Reading Technology

I came across this story that I wanted to share with my readers about the power of music. I was very touched by this woman’s ability to finally be able to express herself with music after so many years of being trapped inside her mind and body from such a devastating brain injury. I hope you are blessed by this story and gain a new appreciation of how much we need the expression of music in our lives.

Rosemary Johnson had made music for the first time since suffering a devastating car crash in her 20s.

By Sarah Knapton, Science Editor – The Telegraph

Violinist Rosemary Johnson at approximately aged 17
Violinist Rosemary Johnson at approximately aged 17; Photo: Paul Grover/The Telegraph

Violinist Rosemary Johnson has spent the last 27 years coming to terms with the reality she would never make music again, following a devastating car crash. A member of the Welsh National Opera Orchestra she was destined to become a world class musician before the road accident in 1988, which left her in a coma for seven months.

Violinist Rosemary Johnson at approximately aged 19
Violinist Rosemary Johnson at approximately aged 19; Photo: Paul Grover/The Telegraph

Miss Johnson suffered a devastating head injury, robbing her of speech and movement and meaning she could only pick out a few chords on the piano with the help of her mother Mary.

“The first time we tried with Rosemary we were in tears. We could feel the joy coming from her at being able to make music” Professor Eduardo Miranda, Plymouth University

But now, thanks to cutting edge technology, she is creating music again, using just the power of her mind.

In an extraordinary 10-year project led by the Plymouth University and the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability in London, her brain has been wired up to a computer using Brain Computer Music Interfacing software.

Ground-breaking musical performance by severely motor-impaired people to be premiered at Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival.
Photo: Plymouth University

By focusing on different colored lights on a computer screen she can select notes and phrases to be played and alter a composition as it is performed by live musicians. The intensity of her mental focus can even change the volume and speed of the piece.

It is the first time Miss Johnson, 50, has been able to create music in decades and has been an emotional experience for the her, and the scientists involved in the program.

Ground-breaking musical performance by severely motor-impaired people to be premiered at Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival.
Photo: Plymouth University

“It was really very moving,” said Professor Eduardo Miranda, Composer and Director of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research at Plymouth University.

“The first time we tried with Rosemary we were in tears. We could feel the joy coming from her at being able to make music. It was perfect because she can read music very well and make a very informed choice.

Violinist Rosemary Johnson at approx aged 25 after the accident
Violinist Rosemary Johnson at approximately aged 25 after the accident; Photo: Paul Grover/The Telegraph

“The great achievement of this project is that it is possible to perform music without being able to actually move. She is essentially controlling another musician to play it for her.

“It’s not yet possible to read thoughts but we can train people to use brain signals to control things.”

Ground-breaking musical performance by severely motor-impaired people to be premiered at Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival.
Photo: Plymouth University

Three other disabled patients who live at the hospital have also been trained to use the technology, and have been working alongside four able-bodied musicians from the Bergersen String quartet who play the music in real time as it is selected.

They are called The Paramusical Ensemble, and they have already recorded a piece of music entitled Activating Memory which will be heard for the first time at the Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival in Plymouth later this month.

Miss Johnson’s mother Mary, 80, of Hounslow, West London said the project had given her daughter new hope.

Violinist Rosemary Johnson at approximately aged 17
Violinist Rosemary Johnson at approximately aged 17; Photo: Paul Grover/The Telegraph

“Music is really her only motivation,” she said. “I take her to the grand piano in the hospital and she can only really play a few chords, but that was the only time she shows any interest. She doesn’t really enjoy anything else.

“But this has been so good for her. I can tell she has really enjoyed it. When she performed I went to the hospital and that is the first time I have heard her make music, other than the piano chords for a long, long time.”

The technology works like a ‘musical game’ where the players select pieces of melody at certain times of the performance to augment the overall work, which was composed by Prof Miranda.

Each patient wears an EEG cap furnished with electrodes which can read electrical information from their brain. They are paired with a member of the string quartet who views the musical phrases on a screen as they are selected in real-time.

Ground-breaking musical performance by severely motor-impaired people to be premiered at Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival.
Photo: Plymouth University

Julian O’Kelly, Research Fellow at the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability added: “This is a great means of transcending disability to offer individuals a unique experience of creating music with each other, and interacting with skilled musicians to create original compositions.

“In the case of Rosemary, the project illustrated the great potential this innovation could have for participants who may have once been gifted musicians, but now lack the physical abilities to engage in music making.

“You could clearly see in her broad smile during the performance how much she enjoyed the experience.”

The patient quartet are made of Miss Johnson, Clive Wells, Richard Bennett and Steve Thomas.

Ground-breaking musical performance by severely motor-impaired people to be premiered at Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival.
Photo: Plymouth University

Speaking through an automated voice machine, Mr Thomas said: “I like music and I am very interested in the Brain Computer Music Interface. It’s more interactive with people actually getting my instructions.

“It was great to hear the musician play the phrase I selected. I tried to select music that was harmonious with the others. It’s very cool.”

The team are hoping that the technology could be used one day to improve mood and help them to express their feelings.

“If our patients were able to compose music to reflect their state of mind, that would be an amazing way for them to be able to express themselves and music therapists could then use that to work with the patients,” added Dr Sophie Duport, of Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability

Ground-breaking musical performance by severely motor-impaired people to be premiered at Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival.
Photo: Plymouth University

Joel Eaton, PhD Research Student at Plymouth University’s said: “One of the key things about this system is that not only does it give a user the interaction and control of an instrument, it allows them to interact with each other.

“If this idea was developed it could have ramifications in all areas of someone’s life. Potentially I can see the ability for someone to express musically how they are feeling again without their ability to move their fingers, to communicate with words.

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