What do I have in common with Benjamin Franklin? I never would’ve guessed this one… He was also a proponent of sound therapy!

Benjamin Franklin, recognized and respected for many prominent activities and inventions, is lesser known as the inventor of the glass 'armonica.’ Not to be confused with the harmonica, Franklin’s armonica is now more commonly known as the bowl organ and is related to ‘singing bowls’ used by sound therapists.

Today’s sound therapists also work with drums, tuning forks and a variety of other instruments as well as vocal tones.

While many of us feel distracted (and stressed) by the cacophony of noises that surround us every day – from crying babies to blaring horns – music and sound have long been recognized as ways to enhance learning as well as peace-of-mind. Of course, it depends on what types of sounds you’re listening to!

Just as music “soothes the savage beast,” we’re aware that music is piped into retail stores and bars to encourage certain behavior (spending and drinking, respectively).

Another respected inventor, Dr. Nikola Tesla, in 1942, said “If you want to find the secrets of the Universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.” Is it such a stretch to appreciate sound vibrations as a healing therapy?

Modern-day natural healer and Holistic Chamber of Commerce (HCC) member Dr. Gabriele Wolf (www.natural-healer.net) reminds us that this makes more sense when we consider that the human body consists of over 70% water. Just as a pebble dropped into a pond will cause concentric waves to spread and set every molecule of water into motion. With Tibetan Singing Bowl Sound Therapy, harmonized vibrations are traveling into the body and spread out in concentric waves, giving a pleasant cell massage to the more than 100 trillion cells in the body.

Sound affects us more than we realize. Consider the following:

In stressful situations, most of us prefer to listen to classical or meditative music in order to relax. Aggressive music can generate an aggressive mood. Music in films effectively and quickly sets the mood - happy, sad or fearful.

Did you know that the ear of an embryo is completely formed within 4 1/2 months and is tuned to the mother’s heart and sound?

Even more interesting is the fact that if a group of people have to stay in the same room for a couple of days, their heart rhythms will start to be tuned into one synchronized beat.

Another Holistic Chamber of Commerce member, Chris Rials-Seitz, of Axis Evolving (www.biotyping.com) in Culver City, prefers crystal bowls in her use of sound therapy. “One of themany reasons why these tones resonate with our body is that there is a natural affinity to quartz because our bodies are composed of many crystalline substances—the bones, blood and DNA are crystalline in structure as well as the liquid crystal-colloidal structure of the brain. The initial effect of playing crystal bowls is to relax the body and mind. Once calmness is restored, the sound frequencies balance stimulate the brain, endocrine glands and nervous system.”

Research has shown that students had higher reading and mathematics scores in comparison to children without musical experiences. Brain studies indicate that exposure to music alters and increases brain function for creating the necessary connections for higher order thinking. Additional data has shown an increase in students' memory recall and emotional involvement, and indicated that students learned well enough that they were able to transfer skills into other subject areas, and into their personal lives.

By using all of your senses – smell, sight, sound, taste and touch – and opening up to unique experiences, you too can improve your life and the lives of those around you!

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Camille Leon represents holistic and eco-friendly professionals and practitioners through The Holistic Chamber of Commerce, an emerging national organization. For more info, visit http://TheHolisticChamberOfCommerce.com or call 310-490-6862.