Rhythm of Life
Deb Wellmes, MA, ND
“Life is about rhythm. We vibrate, our hearts are pumping blood, we are a rhythm machine, that's what we are.”
~MICKEY HART, musician
Whether we are aware or not, rhythm and vibration surround us all the time. These subtle energies influence how we think, how we react and how we feel. They can stir memories and evoke powerful emotions. More and more, these subtle energies are being used to impact health and neuroplasticity.
Music has long been studied and used in a variety of ways to improve the lives of people old and young. Specifically, rhythm has been used in sacred ceremony, for entertainment as well as for healing since our earliest years living in community with one another.
Shamans (healers) around the world have used rhythm for thousands of years, both for influencing spiritual awareness and healing. Aptly, the technique of using rhythm for healing is called rhythm-healing.
Rhythm-healing is an ancient approach that uses complex rhythms that are created to effect the internal patterns within a person. This is based upon the concept that specialized rhythmic patterns can influence the internal rhythmic patterns of the person and correct those which are thought to be out of synch and causing dis-ease. Rhythmic-healing makes use of the principle of synchronize, which can result in entrainment.
An ancient story that exemplifies this concept is one associated with the Greek philosopher Pythagoras. The tale describes a scenario where a young man, who had too many drinks, was observed in a rage outside the home of a young woman. The young man seemed to be collecting materials to set a fire to the woman’s home. A nearby musician was attempting to calm the young man with a song. Pythagoras advised the musician to play a specific rhythm, which over a short time visibly calmed the young man.
This ancient concept is put into modern practice by the Strong Institute, founded by ethnomusicologist Jeff Strong. They apply traditional uses of rhythm as a therapeutic practice. From 1982 to 1994 Jeff immersed himself in the study of therapeutic healing rhythms techniques from around the world. Armed with his knowledge, he launched the Strong Institute in order to examine the main mechanisms of these techniques. In addition, he wanted to better understand the mechanisms involved in using rhythm to stimulate and synchronize the nervous system.
As the Strong Institute gained hard data, they began to develop programs based on their results. The programs they have developed include:
- The Rhythmic Entrainment Intervention (REI) program - customized to impact an individual’s specific needs including focus, calming, sleep and sensory processing
- REI Audio CDs - more generalized and good for group situations
- REI Sleep Program - a 6 week program to correct sleep issues
- BrainShift Radio - a streaming service that can be used to better focus, relaxation and mood enhancement
The Strong Institute has a wealth of information and research into the use of rhythm-healing and its practical applications. Waves of Harmony has received training and guidance from Jeff Strong over the years and has been a Certified Provider for the REI program, as well an affiliate for BrainShiftRadio.