The word ‘vibes’ entered the mainstream lexicon several years ago, but the wellness world has been using the term since time immemorial. Our “vibrational frequency”—the quality of our energy—impacts, in many ways, the state of our health. If our cells are vibrating optimally we feel good, if things are out of whack, sickness can occur. It’s this concept that underpins many alternative and complimentary health treatments, including something called vibroacoustic sound therapy.
Here’s how it works: the individual lies on a table topped with a waterbed, programmed to vibrate with a series of frequencies aimed at alleviating their symptoms. Every ailment responds to a specific frequency—defined through diligent research—which helps bring the patient’s haywire cells back within the normal vibration range.
According to clinical studies—of which there have been an impressive number—many health ailments, both physical and emotional, respond favorably to vibroacoustic therapy; it’s showed promise treating anxiety, PTSD, fibromyalgia, arthritis and joint inflammation, and can even help Parkinson’s patients manage their symptoms.
There’s only one vibroacoustic table in New York (to my knowledge), and it’s at Tournesol Wellness—an integrative one-stop for health in midtown Manhattan. Within the variously sized rooms of what was once a multistory home you’ll find therapies spanning acupuncture, nutrition, private yoga, myofascial release, reiki and even astrological coaching—a mystical mentorship program designed to ease individuals through transitional life phases.
“I decided I wanted to start a center where we were addressing everything in one place, with one person managing that conversation,” explains Tournesol founder Carey Davidson, who previously worked in the world of non-profits. “We’re looking at not only the food you eat but the energy you bring into your body, the thoughts you bring into your mind, the way you move, the way you sleep—all of those are nutrients and they all provide balance.”
Davidson’s approach to wellness draws on the principles of ancient eastern medicine, which state that understanding an individual’s unique temperament and constitution—their strengths and their challenges—provides a clearer idea of how to restore their personal equilibrium.
“Our [conventional western] medical model puts everyone in a box. If you check off these six things you have this and you take this medication. Done. Next! What I think we’re missing is looking at the individual. We are predisposed, based on who we are, to certain illnesses or infections, and if we look at our bodies and minds that way we can always find things to balance us based on our natures,” she says.
I lie back on the vibroacoustic table and the water mattress sloshes underneath me. We discuss my lifestyle and the wellbeing issues that are present for me currently—specifically insomnia fueled by anxiety, self-criticism and compulsive people pleasing. I usually fall asleep fairly easily, but wake up in the night and struggle to shake off the intrusion of negative thoughts.
With this information Davidson programs a customized vibration and music “playlist”, designed to return my body and mind to a healthy vibrational frequency. “Basically, vibroacoustic therapy works on resonant frequencies. So our cells are always vibrating and they will copy vibration when it’s introduced to the body,” she explains. “We run whatever frequencies you need through the table and your cells copy that frequency and take on that resonance, so you just feel more in balance.”
The bed shimmies and pulsates rhythmically, rocking me like a baby in a cradle. Davidson stands at my side, hands hovering while she casually administers reiki energy healing and talks about the nuances of looking after your wellbeing in New York City. Gradually my eyelids grow leaden, so she pulls a blanket over me, dims the ceiling lights and quietly exits the room. The next thing I know thirty minutes have passed and a gentle knock on the door signals it’s time to make my way back downtown to the office.
That night I fall asleep as soon as my head nestles into the pillow, and I don’t stir until sunrise.
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