By Gracie Callahan
With the Nova Scotian weather always at an imbalance, it’s no surprise that when the temperature rises, the chances of feeling stressed can increase on top of student exams and job interviews.
After a particularly snowy day in Halifax last Thursday, a crowd of approximately 25 people gathered into the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts in downtown Halifax with the hopes of relaxing their minds and bodies with a therapeutic company called SoundBeings.
The room is fairly large, considering the tiny set up that’s placed in the centre. Mats are in rows of five in front of three large gongs. Pillows are placed at the end of the mat closest to the door, so that the vibrations work from your feet up.
Seven gongs have been placed in particular positions around the room; three at the front and two on either side. They surround the space so that the entire body can be immersed in sound.
When you close your eyes, she’ll tell you to stop: “it’s not a time to sleep, a time to reflect on the day’s mistakes or the amount of work you have once you leave. There’s a difference between sleeping and relaxing your mind.”
The sound of the instruments wasn’t the only relaxing sound in the room. Besides the faint dripping of melting snow outside the establishment, the teacher, Rita Crosbie, was an embodiment of her music. Her soothing voice was another instrument altogether, not yet explored. It was a new form of music that allowed the mind to escape the body and wander the room aimlessly, lost and stress free.
Crosbie, a former senior manager in the Department of Health and Social Security, said that working with the public and the stress that comes with it on a daily basis influenced her to pursue her passion in holistic and spiritual sound therapy in early 2004.
“The whole world is said to be brought together by sound by vibrations,” said Crosbie. “Since we are a small example of that, our molecules and cells are really only energy, constantly being put out of balance by illnesses.”
Starting up the company
With over 40 combined years of alternative medicine experience, Crosbie and her husband focus on healing and balancing the body through sound and vibrations.
They started their company in May 2006 after moving from the United Kingdom to Nova Scotia to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle. They wanted to reflect on their natural view of relaxation and the different ways chemicals can cause stress.
Crosbie has studied message therapy, life coaching and reflexology and has specialized in sound therapy, which later became her passion.
Crosbie and her husband travel throughout Nova Scotia to perpetuate a natural therapeutic approach to healing the bodies’ cells. Crosbie says this technique is older than Creation and believes it’s important for people to learn about their bodies’ energies.
How it works
“When we fall ill, our bodies become disrupted (and) unbalanced,” said Crosbie. “What these instruments help to do is bring those back into balance.”
Crosbie said that since our bodies are made up of almost 90 per cent of water, and water carries out sound, vibration is able to touch every part of our physical being.
[pullquote] “It doesn’t need to be touched or tasted or even heard,” said Wood. “The only thing it needs is a body and a single instrument.” [/pullquote]
“It’s not all about relaxing,” said Rita. “(It’s) about learning and understanding how the body functions.”
“Our structure can quickly get disorganized with our everyday schedules. Even a simple harmonic sound at work or at home can send a small vibration of sound through every cell in your body and help rebalance it.”
Lucy Bergeson, an avid smoker, joins the class for the first time with her daughter, Ray, with the hope that it will influence her to quit. Bergeson said she was fascinated at how loose the vibrations in the room made her body feel.
“Normally I don’t expect much from classes like these,” said Bergeson, “but Rita has this rhythm in the way she speaks and the way she conducts the class. It’s as if she’s taking us through a story; a path to health.”
After only 45 minutes, Bergeson said she felt energized and happier than she did when she walked in. She said it’s a feeling that neither a morning coffee, nor a shopping spree can give you. It is, as she said, “a natural moment of pure happiness.”
“I feel like she knows more about sound than I know about any job I’ve ever worked,” said Bergeson.
Bergeson thinks it comes from something deeper. She said that Rita approached relaxation and energy not just by connecting a simple sound with the body, but by relaxing the mind completely with the sound of her voice before beginning the therapy.
Rachel Wood, a student from the Canadian College of Massage and Hydrotherapy in Halifax, said that sound vibration is an internal massage without the aspect of touch.
“It’s not the sound that heals,” said Wood. “The real power resides in the harmonics.”
She said that the two most natural healers in any patient are the power of a single human voice and the vibration of a gong. It’s fascinating, she said, that both are part of a healing process that requires not a single human sense.
“It doesn’t need to be touched or tasted or even heard,” said Wood. “The only thing it needs is a body and a single instrument.”