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John Stuart Reid
Category: Cymatics

Rediscovering the Art and Science of Sound Therapy

“Sound will be the medicine  of the future”. Edgar Cayce

Several ancient cultures used the seemingly magical power of sound to heal, but sound therapy had almost disappeared in the West until 1927 when Professor R. Wood and his assistant, Loomis, discovered ultra- sound—high frequency sound—and its medical properties.1 With this discovery, research burgeoned and it is now established fact that ultra- sound has powerful medical proper- ties including its use in breaking up kidney stones and even shrinking tumours. 2,3,4,5 In hospitals and sports injury clinics, in all parts of the world, therapeutic ultrasound is used to support or accelerate the healing of soft tissues and broken bones. In the 1980s, infrasound— very low frequency sound—and audible sound were also discovered to have healing properties and in recent years several commercial organizations have developed audible sound devices to support a wide range of physical ailments.6, 7, 8 The companies have documented many cases in which their sonic therapies benefited individuals. Audible sound is intrinsically safe and cannot be “overdosed,” while ultrasound, if not properly applied, can cause severe internal burning.

undefinedThe Aboriginal people of Australia are reported to have used their “yidaki” (modern name, didgeridoo) as a healing tool for thousands of years and one tradition holds that its primordial sound created the world and every- thing in it. Stories passed down through many generations of their culture tell of healing broken bones, muscle tears and many kinds of illnesses using their enigmatic mu- sical instrument. To our knowledge no medical studies have been con- ducted in which the yidaki’s healing power has been tested, although its acoustic output is in alignment with some modern audible sound therapy devices so it is not surpris- ing that it has healing properties. Studies of the benefits of playing the yidaki instrument have been con- ducted and a paper in the Journal of Rural Health concluded that yidaki playing alleviated the symptomsof asthma in school children.9 Another study, reported in the British Medi- cal Journal, concluded that it helped sleep apnea.10

The ancient Greek philosopher and mathematician, Pythagoras of Samos, was reported to have used therapeutic sound by using music to treat physi- cal as well as emotional maladies. One of his biographers, Iamblichus, writes, “Pythagoras was of the opin- ion that music contributed greatly to health, if used in an appro- priate manner …[by using] music in the place of medicine” 11. Today, music therapy is an established clinical discipline widely used to assist people to overcome physical, emo- tional, mental, social and spiritual challenges.12 There is some evidence that the ancient Egyp- tians used on 

as medicine and a tradition exists in which Pythagoras is thought to have travelled in Egypt, suggesting that he may have gained his knowledge of this subject from their priests.13


Before discussing the mechanisms that underpin sound therapies let us take a brief look at the organizing power of sound.


Sound: primordial organizer of the universe


Many spiritual traditions speak of sound as the forma- tive force of creation. The prophetic opening words of St. Johns Gospel are a good example:

In the beginning was the Word, [sound] and the word was with God, and the Word was God.

Another example is that of the Vedic Brahmanism tradi- tion of northern India (circa 1500 BCE) in which the

The prophetic nature of such spiritual traditions has come to light due to recent studies pointing to sound (rather than gravity) as the prime organizing force of all matter

in the early Universe. Sound cannot travel in the vacuum of space but sound can travel wherever matter is dense enough to allow atomic particles to collide; scientific theory suggests that the early Universe was filled with high density particles during the first 380,000 years of creation.14 It is this process of collisions between atomic particles that provides a clear definition of sound:

Sound is the transfer of vibrational information at the moment of collision between any two atoms or molecules.

Sound may also have been a prime mover in the creation of life. It is generally held that life began in the vicinity of hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor, places where (even today) hot, mineral-rich gases bubble up from earths core into the seawater, making contact with molten lava. Yet, the structuring and organizing force that triggered life has

of Limits, illustrates this point with great flair. He analyzes sea creatures, shells, butterflies, flowers and many other life forms to validate the phi ratio as one of the defining character- istics of life.


Geometric sonic structures, typically containing the phi ratio, are com- monly observed with the CymaScope instrument and provide us with a hypothetical model for the way in which the earliest life forms may have been shaped in the ancient seas. The surfaces of microscopic bubbles, cre- ated near hydrothermal vents, could have been host to geometric patterns of sonic vibration, providing nodal points in which the building blocks of




















A Transmission Electron Micrograph of “Sulfolobus Icosahedral Turreted Virus” found  in a ther-

mal pool of Yellowstone National Park. On the  right, the  unique  lattice of this  icosahedral virus


is shown superimposed upon a cryo reconstruction.

Courtesy Dr George Rice, Mantana State University

theme is strikingly similar to St. Johns Gospel,


In the beginning was Brahman, with whom was Vak [the word] and the word is Brahman…by that word…he cre- ated all things whatsoever.

A final example, of many, is that of the inscription on

the Shabako stone in the British Museum, considered by Egyptologists to be one the most important hieroglyphic texts and second only to the Rosetta Stone. The Shabako Stone text tells of the god Ptah, the cosmic architect who created the entire Cosmos simply by uttering words. Predating the Old and New Testament by hundreds (and possibly thousands) of years, lines 56-57 of the ancient Shabako Stone text state:

Lo, every word of god came into being through the thoughts of the mind and the command by the tongue.





























Shakabo Stone  (British Musuem)

always eluded theorists. Could it be that sound, one of

the most potent organizing forces in the Universe, was in- volved? Although invisible, sound has holographic prop- erties and has the power to structure matter at the atomic scale. In water sound acts to form sonic scaffolding that causes molecules to coalesce in an orderly manner. This dynamic, sonic mechanism may have sparked life.















Artist’s impression of sonic scaffolding appearing on the  surface of a microscopic bubble--image courtesy of Dustin  Schmieding





The shape of sound and life


The CymaScope is the worlds first scientific instru- ment that allows us to study the visual geometry created when sound encounters a membrane or fluid medium. (Cyma derives from the Greek, kyma,meaning wave). The device creates sound images called CymaGlyphs that are the imprint of sound on the surface and sub surface of pure water. Pure

sinusoidal sounds contain many mathematical ratios, perhaps the most important of which is phi that is often referred to as the Golden Mean and is the ratio of 1 to approximately 1.618. Phi is prevalent in

all living things, suggesting a link between sound and

life found safe haven. Simple crea- tures that exhibit clearly defined ge- ometry, such as diatoms and starfish, offer support that sound may have been involved in the triggering and/ or structuring of life.



















A Starfish from the  Ordovician era, 450 million  years  ago,  with  geometry overlay, illustrating the  golden  mean  ratio


A virus with a geometric morphology and a lineage stretching back 3.5 bil- lion years also provides some support for this hypothesis and was discov- ered in the hot springs of Yellowstone National Park, leading to the intrigu- ing proposal that the earliest life

forms may have been viruses 15.


One of the greatest mysteries in un- derstanding how life came into being concerns the helical nature of RNA and DNA. One possibility stems from CymaScope research in which vor- tices can be created in water by pure

a form of scaffolding to which the

molecules of life could have adhered. The dynamics necessary to create mi- cro vortices in the ancient seas may have derived from the low frequency sounds generated by hydrothermal vents. The pure form of sound needed to power this mechanism may have derived from a certain class of hy- drothermal vent bubbles. Pure tones have been detected emitting from hydrothermal vents and the largest vent bubbles are thought to act like Helmholtz Resonators, effectively tuning out all frequencies except

those that resonate with the gas cavity formed by the bubble16. It is intrigu- ing to think that naturally occurring micro spiral vortices in water, created by pure sounds, may be part of the mechanism contributing to the origin of life. Although further research is needed to clarify this hypothesis it is clear that sound and life are inextri-

cably linked. For an expanded treatise

on sound as a life-creating force, see

Sound, the Trigger for Life at: search/biology.html




Therapeutic sound principles


If sound was the trigger for life it should not be surprising that sound has the ability to support and heal life. Put simply, sound has the almost magical power to restore order to

and heal life. Put simply, sound has the almost magical power to restore order to organisms that are malfunc- tioning–magical in the sense that we dont yet fully understand the mecha- nisms at work. For example, studies have shown that audible sound in the form of music has significant heal-

ing properties in both humans and

life, and Gyorgy Doczis wonderful book, The Power

low frequency sounds in both the

macro and micro realms, providing

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