Psycho-acoustics is the use of rhythmic sound to effect psychological, emotional and physical change. For thousands of years, shamanic and religious traditions have used drums, musical instruments and the sound of the human voice to achieve altered states of consciousness. We have all probably had an experience of OM chanting, or listening to Gregorian chants or African drumming and experiencing altered states.
Over the last 25 years, researchers, using modern scientific technologies, have been exploring the impact of sound on the human organism. These researchers have recorded and analysed sounds. They have played sounds to human beings, and then watched what happens to EEG readouts, perspiration levels, eye flicker and so on. This work has yielded a lot of interesting information.
One of the leaders in psycho-acoustic research was a man named John David. John David studied with many world experts in the use of sound for healing and growth. Out of this research he developed a range of psycho acoustic material to work on healing psychological scars, on developing the immune system and to improve and expand the brain/mind. He stated that his work is of the future, from the 21st century. John David's tapes use high frequency and low frequency sounds as well as subliminals and natural and synthesized sounds. The sounds we hear on his tapes are multi layered. Music is often used as a background. On some tapes there is a hearable voice which guides the listener into various altered states. Generally, there are three tracks which contain audible sounds woven over and through each other. There are also four subliminal tracks. Three of them have sounds and one has voice The sounds have been tested on a wide range of people of different backgrounds and skills. They reported back on the effects of the sounds on their nervous system.
John David's work also uses carrier sounds which take information into the brain/mind system, or the body/mind system. Specific sounds were designed to shift information from the left to the right brain hemisphere. This involves the development of the Corpus colossum. The left and right hemishperes may be well developed, but without the flow of information between them. Other sounds stimulate long and short term memory. Still others stimulate the chakras, the meridians and the limbic system. Some of the elements used by John David are more fully described in the following notes.
A major element developed in Psycho-acoustics is the use of subliminal messages. Subliminals make it possible to talk directly to the unconscious, which means talking directly to the body mind in a way that it understands - bypassing the conscious, rational mind which often would argue the point. To understand the use of subliminals, we need to consider the imprints which a person receives at all the fundamental stages of early life. These include the impact of past lives, conception, intra-uterine life, birth and post birth. The imprints we receive at these times help to form the foundations of a person's self worth. These primary imprints mainly impact on the first four chakras, giving us our beliefs about sexuality, power, self esteem, money and relationships. We are often unaware of the imprints and how they relate to our major issues around these four chakras.
With subliminals, we can do primary reorganising and repatterning work, particularly on these primary imprints around the first four chakras. We can move towards clarity and a base of compassion and self love.
Low frequency sounds
Low frequency, or infrasonic sounds, occur below 20 Hz. Qi Gong healers emit infrasonic sound in their healing work. This sound is capable of travelling long distance and of deeply penetrating human tissue, spreading rapidly and producing a profound whole body effect. Subsequent research has shown that infrasonic sound is effective in relaxing muscles, relieving pain and enhancing nerual and cellular function.
High frequency sounds
A French ear, nose and throat specialist named Alfred Tomatis was the first person to systematically explore high frequency sounds. He found evidence to suggest that brain development is powerfully influenced by the sounds we hear in the womb. He found that from inside the womb, sounds were mainly high pitched squeals, hisses, swishes and whistles, frequently in the range above 8000 Hz. Tomatis played these high frequency sounds to children with learning disabilities and noticed immediate and dramatic improvements in learning behaviour. He theorized that hearing the sounds awakens our most ancient and primordial memories - the bliss of the womb, whole body experiences of oneness and wholeness. Tomatis was led to the conclusion that the ear is a primary organ of consciousness. Beyond the hearing function, the ear effects every cell in the body.
Sounds provide nourishment for the brain and the entire body and seem to charge up the brain in the same way batteries are re-charged.Since sound nourishes the body, Tomatis postulated further that sound deprivation, particularly in the high frequency range, like nutrient deprivation, could lead to sickness. High frequencies - i.e. 8000 Hz and over, accelerate the recharging process. Pollution and stress reduces a person's ability to hear HF sounds. Our range is normally between 16 and 20,000 cycles per second.
One of these researchers, Robert Munroe, moved into psycho acoustics because he was having experiences of astral travelling and he wanted to find ways of reproducing his experience for other people. Munroe found that when sounds of different frequencies were played through the left and right ears, the brain created the 'binaural beat' at a frequency which is the difference between the two frequencies If a frequency of 200Hz is played in the left ear and 204Hz in the right ear, the binaural beat operates at a frequency of 4 Hz. This beat isn't an actual sound, but an electrical signal that can only be created by both hemispheres of the brain working simultaneously.
Binaural beats provide a more organized or coherent brain state and specific expanded states of consciousness. Binaural beats can be superimposed, layer upon layer, for powerful effects. For example, certain frequencies can be combined to produce powerful alpha activity, or other combinations to bypass alpha and increase synchronous theta and delta.
When a brain is entrained to the binaural beat, it sends out signals which produce altered brain wave activity. There is a large body of research which proves the effectiveness of Binaural Beats in accelerated learning, pain reduction and boosting the immune system.
Tomatis also discovered that ' the voice can only produce what the ear can hear'. Most of our verbal communication and hearing is limited to a narrow range between 300 and 3000 Hz. As another researcher, Michael Hutchinson, says, "Its a bit like a diet of meat and spuds". Reichian therapists describe unhealed past trauma as a kind of tension which creates an armour in the body. Michael Hutchinson postulates an armour of both body and mind, which requires a combination of physical movement and the use of variable frequency signals swept through the brain to shift this armour.
The use of hypnoperipheral techniques dates back to ancient temples and their initiation rites. It is a technique described by Carlos Castaneda , with Don Juan whispering in one ear and Don Genaro in the other.. In this process, separate stories are told, one into each ear. The stories contain embedded specific information for the unconscious, and at times, the two stories will meet to form an embedded command. The unconscious is fed information which allows it to operate in new ways. Lloyd Glauberman's work on psycho acoustics is trademarked as hypnoperipheral material. His work approaches the unconscious without any of the other techniques already described.
These notes were compiled from talks given by Deva Daricha at the Centre for Human Transformation and from a book by Michael Huchison called Mega Brain Zones: A Listeners Resource Book.
A range of John David tapes and other psychoacoustical and hypno-peripheral tapes and material are available from the Centre for Human Transformation. Please contact the Centre for a catalogue.