The Most Powerful Healing Instrument is the Human Voice
Jonathan holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Film Making from Boston University and a Master’s Degree in the Independent Study on Sound Healing from Lesley College. He is a lecturing member of the International Society for Music and Medicine and has created numerous cutting edge recordings.
BOYT: Can you give us a little background on sound therapy?
Jonathan Goldman: What is sort of fascinating is that there’s a guy named Edgar Casey. He’s called the sleeping prophet, and he would make these predictions in the 1920's and 30's that sound would be the medicine of the future. We’re really approaching the future now and I just love the way it’s blossomed to an extraordinary level.
BOYT: Can you tell me what happened in your life that helped you find out about sound therapy and sound vibration therapy?
Jonathan Goldman: I was about 30 years old and I was playing in a rock ‘n roll band in Marshville, MA. I remember coming in from the break, picking up my guitar, performing a song, looking at the audience and being hit with the realization that the music I was playing was helping induce an ambiance of negativity and violence. No question the alcohol and other intoxicants were also helping contribute to the negative ambiance, but the music I was playing was also doing that. I thought, “Gee, I wonder if music can be used to make people feel good.” A couple weeks later, the concept of music used to heal people entered my psyche. Within a week after that I was basically given a flier for a workshop on healing with sound and music with a woman by the name of Sarah Benson. She became one of my great teachers and in fact, my book Seven Secrets of Sound Healing was dedicated to her. So I took this workshop and was surrounded by 30 people holding a quartz crystal and singing my name. One person was given the opportunity, and I jumped in the middle of the circle. This was one of the exercises. I had an out-of-body experience where I found myself being transported to a crystalline pyramid in the woods with a light coming in and when I got back into my body and opened my eyes, I thought, “I’ve got to find out more about this.”
BOYT: Not a lot of people are familiar with sound therapy; can you describe some of the benefits?
Jonathan Goldman: All the different spiritual traditions that I’ve researched notate the basic primary cause and manifesting fact of the universe is sound. From the electrons moving around the nucleus of the atom to planets in distant galaxies moving around their suns; they’re all creating a vibration. A vibration can be perceived as being sound. This includes our body. Every bone, every organ, every tissue is in a state of vibration. I’m going to introduce a term “resonance” which is the normal, healthy vibrations of an object. Everything in our body has a resonant frequency. We’re like this orchestra, this overall wonderful symphony of the self with all the parts playing together. What happens if the second violin player loses the sheet music? He begins playing the wrong notes. He’s out of tune, out of harmony and rhythm. Pretty soon, not only does the violin section sound bad, but the entire orchestra sounds bad. If a part of our body begins to vibrate out of its normal, healthy resonant frequency, it becomes out of tune or out of ease. What happens if we could somehow restore the sheet music to the violin player? What if we could somehow project the correct resonant frequency to that part of our body that was vibrating out of ease or out of harmony? That’s the basic idea of using sound as a healing modality.
BOYT: What are the benefits of sound therapy?
Jonathan Goldman: I believe the most powerful healing instrument is the human voice. I know now that most of your readers are saying that it’s easy for him to say, but I can’t carry a tune. This is just making a self-created sound such as an “ahh” or “hmm” or just humming. This increases oxygen cells, lowers blood pressure and heart rate and increases levels of melatonin which has been used in everything from shrinking tumors to assisting sleep. It causes the rubies of endorphins and it reduces the levels of stress-related hormones. It causes the release of nitric oxide, which is an extraordinary healing molecule. Making sound, particularly with another person, causes the release of oxytocin which is the trust hormone. This just happens from going, “hmmmmm.” Most people don’t realize that sounds vibrate in different parts of your body. This is one of the major things to begin to learn to tone is using yourself as a sonic laboratory. The more you experience sounding different parts of your body, the easier it is.
BOYT: What exactly does sound therapy do for our body?
Jonathan Goldman: One of the amazing things about sound is that it goes into our ears and brain and affects our nervous system. It affects our heart rate, our respiration and our brainwaves. Fast music causes us to speed up. There’s nothing wrong with fast music, especially if you’re doing aerobics. If you’re trying to relax and you’re listening to fast music, it can have the opposite effect. Slow music is good if you’re trying to relax. For example, one time a couple years ago I was on a treadmill at the gym and was experimenting listening “Jumping Jack Flash” by The Rolling Stones. It is a really great song to get you moving, then all of a sudden the opening bars of the song “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” came on and I almost fell off the treadmill. I began to slow down and lost my balance.
BOYT: Do musicians even know their power?
Jonathan Goldman: No, they don’t. This one time many years ago I was studying the science of psychoacoustics and I went to see this choral group where these people sang all these really slow, beautiful ballads. They said, “We don’t know why, but this next song must be magical because everyone always gets up and dances.” All of a sudden they start doing this fast tune and everyone starts dancing but it wasn’t magic, it was the science of sound.
BOYT: Do you find that everyone is born with a sound that can be developed or can someone’s voice be trained to reach a certain vibration or unique sound?
Jonathan Goldman: I think we are all unique vibratory beings. I am a very big believer in what I call shifting frequencies, that we can change our level of resonance. Part of this has to do with one of the most ignored organs of all time, the ear. This is based on the work of Dr. Alfred Tomatis, a French oral algologist who is considered the Einstein of the ear. He found that you could exercise the scabious muscle in the ear, allowing for greater frequencies and higher harmonics that would actually change the way we are able to perceive the healing. Here’s a really interesting thing. When you change the way you hear, you also change your vocal tonality, you can hear more. You actually then change the way you perceive one of your five major senses. What I do is teach people how to create vocal harmonics. In order to do that they first have to be able to hear the harmonics, so we listen to examples and then we began to chant the vowel sounds. They come in the next day and they say they’ve heard all of these harmonics in the shower or car engine. Have you ever experienced somebody who has got a voice that is very lifeless and low? That is only due to the fact that only certain frequencies are getting through to them and they don’t hear themselves. If they change the way they are able to hear, their voices become more enriched. It is a healing problem and not a speech problem. This really all begins with listening.
BOYT: What would your sound therapy recommendations be for someone who is very angry?
Jonathan Goldman: You should be talking to my wife because she’s a psychotherapist and she uses sound. We’ve written an award-winning book called Tantra of Sound. In the book, we explore the use of sound for dealing with emotional turmoil. For couples, using sound in a relationship when they get angry with each other really works. You know how most arguments between couples are really ridiculous. For example, my wife and I had an argument that kept escalating. Then one of us said, “Let’s make an ‘ahh’ sound together.” Then within two minutes, all of the anger dissipated. All of the hormones, like the endorphins, got released and we looked at each other and said we loved each other. I wish that magazines that deal with couples and relationships would contact me about that particular thing. It’s so real and it works.
About Jonathan Goldman
Jonathan Goldman is a writer, musician and teacher. He is an authority on sound healing and a pioneer in the field of harmonics. Jonathan is the author of HEALING SOUNDS: THE POWER OF HARMONICS (Inner Traditions), SHIFTING FREQUENCIES (Light Technology) THE LOST CHORD (Spirit Music) and TANTRA OF SOUND (Hampton Road), co-authored with his wife Andi. He has studied with masters of sound from both the scientific and spiritual traditions, including the Dalai Lama's Chanting Gyuto and Gyume Monks and has been empowered by the Chant Master of the Drepung Loseling Monastery to teach Tibetan Overtone Chanting. Jonathan holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Film Making from Boston University and a Master's Degree in the Independent Study on Sound Healing from Lesley College. He is a lecturing member of the International Society for Music and Medicine.