My own unapologetic opinions on books and writing.
This is an alternative therapy book based on serious study of therapeutic sound. It asks the fundamental question, how does sound affect our well being?
It has been established scientifically that we respond to music or to abrasive sounds with our moods, but the premise of this book is that sound also has a physical effect on us. When you think about how our nervous system is affected by sounds from relaxing music or the purring of a cat, to grating noise, the idea of physical effects becomes plausible.
The first chapter will be most accessible by those who have studied music theory. While the author repeatedly assures the reader that it isn't necessary to have studied music to use sound healing, the frequent references to the effects of "a perfect fifth" and other musical terms left me feeling like I was missing something.
The subsequent chapters define what is meant by the word 'healing' and some history from different parts of the world of how sound has been used for meditation, including Tibetan spirit bowls and chanting. In the fourth chapter the Om chant that is familiar to most people gets a basic explanation.
In the fifth chapter we are told what happens in a sound healing session. The author writes about using voice intoning, Tibetan spirit bowls, gongs, drumming and a crystal version of the spirit bowl. Different effects from high and low tones are mentioned, but to my surprise there didn't seem to be detailed techniques. It sounded pretty much the same as hippy/Pagan/Alternative practices.
The subsequent chapters cover attentive listening, some expansion on rhythms and self-experimentation and further resources, including the author's website where CDs and MP3 downloads are for sale, the British Academy of Sound website where courses are available and several other website addresses.
While the book gives a good overview of sound therapy, I would like to have seen more detail about both application and how it works. It strikes a balance between 'new age' techniques and scientific study, but I felt that it only touched on the latter and could have expanded more.
Still, I'd say it's a good starting off point and the subject probably takes extensive study to become a sound therapist. I'd still like to know what constitutes a 'perfect fifth' and how that resonates with the nervous system to create effects.