The harp, the instrument of angels, presents a perfect paradigm for linking heaven and earth, the arts and sciences, as well as body, mind and spirit. The sonorous sounds of the harp, and the marriage of its historical legacy as a divine, archetypal instrument of healing – with high-tech amplification, has given birth to a new type of Vibroacoustic Therapy –
Vibroacoustic Harp Therapy.
What is VAHT®?
Vibroacoustic Harp Therapy® (VAHT®) is often described as a musical massage. It works by vibrating and resonating with the tissues of the body, thereby affecting physiological processes. It also affects the mental, emotional and energetic or spiritual aspects of the individual. The harp's wide range of frequencies and overtones are capable of vibrating the dense, physical body as well as its energetic counterpart, providing multi-level stimulation and harmonization.
The harp is made of natural materials that resonate with the human body. There is an obvious benefit when one is in the presence of a harp. The natural, aesthetic beauty of the form of the instrument, and its production of warm, full-frequency analog musical information dramatically contrasts with the sterile feel of a CD player with its digitized, recorded music.
During a VAHT session, live harp music is amplified through a sound table, chair or vibrotactile device. Clients are asked to focus on areas of tension/pain in the body, while specific tones that resonate in those areas are identified. Each client experiences the musical tones in different ways at different times; therefore the therapy is a very dynamic process and is tailored to the unique individual. Appropriate music is improvised or selected, based on the client's needs. When the client is relaxed, abstract thinking slows and awareness expands. VAHT often produces responses such as deep relaxation, dream-like imagery, pain and tension reduction, increased energy, increased body awareness and feelings of being nurtured. Imagery often provides new awareness, positive reframing and/or processing and integration of psychological material. The client/therapist interaction allows for immediate responses in the course of the session.
A client’s response to VAHT could also include:
1. Coherence (resonance and entrainment/synchronization among diverse physiological systems in the body)
2. Absorption of energy
3. Stimulation / balancing of ch’i energy
4. Lymphatic stimulation
5. Pain and stress reduction (from near-endocrine changes; interrupted impulse transmission along pain pathways; increase in low alpha brainwave activity; muscular relaxation; decreased blood pressure, heart rate and respiratory rate)
6. Perceptual changes (I.E. synaesthesia)
7. Mood elevation
VAHT is a non-pharmacological approach to treating pain, stress and anxiety, and it has virtually no side effects. The level of receptivity of the client can affect the outcome of the session, as is the case with most interventions. During the usual 30 to 60-minute sessions, clients generally note significant symptom reduction within the first 20 minutes of the session. Although no controlled studies have been performed to date and further research is needed, in a review of 16 client session, Williams noted that pain/tension levels in all areas of the clients bodies were reduced by an average of 3 points on a subjective 1-9 rating scale, with legs, back and shoulders realizing the greatest amount of tension reduction.
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