COAST CITIES — When working with patients, Dr. Jeffrey Thompson uses electronic sound equipment, EEG machines, and heart rate variability monitors.
Diane Mandle, on the other hand, relies on Tibetan singing bowls, tingshas, gongs, and her intuition when working with her clients.
One is the founder and director of Carlsbad’s Center for Neuroacoustic Research. The other is a sound energy healer based in Encinitas.
While they maintain drastically different approaches, both Thompson and Mandle agree that sound has the power to heal the mind and the body without medication.
Thompson said he uses medical equipment and tests including EEGs and blood tests to scientifically measure changes in the body and the brain as they are exposed to different sound frequencies.
But while he said his research is some of the first to scientifically prove these effects, he acknowledges that sound healing is nothing new.
Thompson said that for thousands of years, people have used instruments like drums and Tibetan singing bowls to put people into trances.
“This is what every culture on Earth has been doing since the beginning of time,” he said.
After researching sound for over 30 years and working with thousands of patients, Thompson said his work proves that sound affects people through physical resonance and brainwave entrainment.
According to Thompson, physical resonance makes it possible to physically adjust specific parts of the body without actually touching it.
He explained that the body consists of different densities, and that physical resonance occurs when those densities respond to different sound frequencies. As such, he can target and heal different parts of the body by making them vibrate when exposing them to certain sound frequencies.
Physical resonance is capable of healing including relieving sore muscles and joints, as well as adjusting vertebrae for chiropractic patients, said Thompson.
Thompson’s practice and research also works a great deal with brainwave entrainment. In simple terms, brainwave entrainment involves changing brainwave patterns and states of consciousness with sound frequency vibration patterns.
Calling it “a brain gym to enlightenment,” Thompson said that through brainwave entrainment, sound can alter a person’s state of mind, helping them be more focused or more relaxed, and can even help a person enter a trance-like state.
Mandle has her own way of explaining the phenomena of sound’s effects on the body.
She specializes in playing authentic Tibetan instruments, and said that when used properly, “You are awakening dormant energies to better balance the wholeness of a person.”
Mandle has studied primarily Tibetan teachings about energy and sound healing for about the past 20 years, and with that training and experience she can feel how sound affects people and uses it to promote physical and spiritual healing.
She has focused her work on Tibetan instruments and Buddhism because she believes that they are the original and most effective tools for sound healing, calling them “the real McCoy.”
Mandle plays her Tibetan singing bowls by rubbing the edges with mallets or striking them gently. She said that as she plays she can sense when energies are awakened and when her instruments indicate that a part of the body is blocked or injured when working with an individual.
By playing her instruments and using guided meditations, she helps people find the core issues needing to be addressed to experience physical and spiritual healing.
She bases her sound energy healing practice on the belief that true healing is “a spiritual awakening that impacts the physical body.”
While she personally does not have the funds to conduct scientific research about how sound heals people, she said that she encourages her clients to measure the changes in their own bodies.
But she said she doesn’t need scientific measurements to know that sound helps people.
“Things happen, people get better. I don’t need any more proof than that,” Mandle said.
Though one relies on scientific measurements and the other intuition, Thompson and Mandle said that the feedback they have received from clients has been overwhelming. Both said that they regularly have clients who are amazed by the healing in their own bodies, and both said that they have had people request treatment from around the world.
In spite of this, Thompson and Mandle said that sound healing is still being used far too infrequently.
Mandle said that when she moved to Encinitas in 2000, “Nobody knew what (sound healing) was.”
“Sound healing has a black eye because of all the flaky-wakies out there. So once you announce that you are doing sound therapy, everyone in the medical field turns away,” said Thompson.
More information about Thompson’s work can be found on the Center for Neuroacoustic Research’s website at neuroacoustic.com.
Mandle will be playing a concert as part of Encinitas’ Wellness Week at the Encinitas Library Jan. 25 at 6:30 p.m. More information about her work can be found at soundenergyhealing.com.