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    Vibration is a mechanical phenomenon whereby oscillations occur about an equilibrium point. The oscillations may be periodic such as the motion of a pendulum orrandom such as the movement of a tire on a gravel road.

    Vibration is occasionally “desirable”. For example the motion of a tuning fork, the reed in a woodwind instrument or harmonica, or the cone of a loudspeaker is desirable vibration, necessary for the correct functioning of the various devices.

    More often, vibration is undesirable, wasting energy and creating unwanted sound – noise. For example, the vibrational motions of engines, electric motors, or anymechanical device in operation are typically unwanted. Such vibrations can be caused by imbalances in the rotating parts, uneven friction, the meshing of gear teeth, etc. Careful designs usually minimize unwanted vibrations.

    The Origin of the Experience of Binaural Beats

    We know that the experience of putting a given frequency tone in one ear and a slightly different tone in the other is that of hearing a third tone which is the difference in frequency of the two tones. Thus, putting a 200 Hz tone in one ear and a 210 Hz tone in the other would cause one to perceive a 10 Hz “beat” tone. An auditory brainstem response which originates in the superior olivary nucleus of each hemisphere.  The beat results from the interaction of two afferent auditoxy impulses, originating in opposite ears, below 1000 Hz; and which differ in frequency between one and 30 Hz.” The difference tone is experienced as the two waveforms flow in and out of phase within the superior olivary nuclei. The first reported use of the auditory effects of binaural beats, as detailed by Oster (1973), occurred in 1839. The originator was H. W. Dove, a German researcher.

    Today, the binaural beat phenomenon is employed by a number of audiotape manufactures as a way of producing certain relaxed states in the listener. Foster examined, as part of his dissertation study, the degree to which these binaural beats at alpha frequency could result in an increase in alpha. He found that the binaural beats did indeed produce an increase in the occurrence of alpha however, another group which heard artificially produced surf sounds also showed a comparable increase in alpha. These two groups did not differ  ignificantly. Subjects did find that they seemed to be able to increase alpha more by concentrating on the binaural beat.

    History of Sound Healing

    Music has been used as a healing force for centuries. Music therapy goes back to biblical times, when David played the harp to rid King Saul of a bad spirit. As early as 400 B.C., Hippocrates, Greek father of medicine, played music for his mental patients. Aristotle described music as a force that purified the emotions. In the thirteenth century, Arab hospitals contained music-rooms for the benefit of the patients.In the United States, Native American medicine men often employed chants and dances as a method of healing patients.Musictherapy as we know it began in the aftermath of World Wars I and II. Musicians would travel to hospitals, particularly in the United Kingdom, and play music for soldiers suffering from war-related emotional and physical trauma.

    History tells us of the value music has as a therapeutic tool. From the dawn of civilization music was used to heal. In ancient Greece, Apollo was both the god of music and medicine. Ancient Grecians said, “Music is an art imbued with power to penetrate into the very depth of the soul.” These beliefs were shared through their Doctrine of Ethos. In the mystery schools of Egypt and Greece, healing and sound were considered a highly developed sacred science. In ancient Egypt, the professions of priesthood, musicians and physicians were combined. Around 400BCE, Plato shared this profound belief, “Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, gaiety and life to everything. It is the essence of order, and leads to all that is good, just, and beautiful, of which it is the invisible, but nevertheless dazzling, passionate and eternal form.”

    In the Bible we read about how Saul was healed by the harp of David. Saul suffered from what we now call major depression. In the middle ages Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholia clearly described the healing powers of music. Burton was a minister and suffered from episodes of major depression. Novalis, pen name of Georg Philipp Friedrich Freiherr (Baron) von Hardenberg (1772-1801), was a romantic poet whose fiancée died in 1797 of tuberculosis, which later claimed his life in 1801. In his writing entitled The Encyclopedia, he wrote this about music’s role in wellness. “Each illness has a musical solution. The shorter and more complete the solution, the greater the musical talent of the physician.”

    Around the time of Novalis, healing and music diverged into the disciplines of arts, and science or medicine. The therapeutic role of music was eclipsed by its role as entertainment. The sciences became a rational, logical, temporal, intellectual way of defining the mysteries of the universe. Scientists have searched for explanations of illness by studying its parts rather than looking at the total picture. We must not discount, however, the life-saving discoveries of scientists such as Alexander Fleming, with his discovery of penicillin, as well as other masters of the scientific world who brought us many other life-saving remedies.

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