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Massage Today
December, 2001, Vol. 01, Issue 12

Consciousness and Its Therapeutic Applications

By John Upledger, DO, OMM

The dictionary describes consciousness as "the state of being characterized by sensation, emotion, volition and thought." We are the subjects of our experiences. We are the interpreters of sensations and perceptions.

We think and act in response to that which we perceive; we create both by thought and action.

Despite all this, one of our greatest mysteries lies in how physical bodies seem to have the ability to appreciate, think and act beyond pure neurosynaptic responses. Consider the possibility that all things between the sizes of subatomic particles and the cosmos have consciousness. Consider, too, that all of these segments of consciousnesses are interconnected such that they influence one another.

That concept has fascinated me since I was a teen working as a jazz pianist at nightclubs. It became clear to me early on that most jazz players had some sort of "magic" together. Quite often, without a word being spoken, we would begin a song - all at the same time and in full harmony and synchrony.

Certainly this could be explained in terms of familiarity. Yet I worked as a jazz pianist for more than 25 years, and was amazed at how often this sort of shared consciousness happened between musicians who had met each other only minutes before the music began.

We seemed to share a common (musical) consciousness. Years later, when a man named Crafton walked into my office, I discovered just how deep that connection is.

It was 1996,and Crafton had just accepted the position as conductor of a local pops orchestra. A young man of 38 years, he had endured severe pain in his back almost every day of his life. He was referred to me by a physical therapist who had been working with him for a couple of years. While Crafton had received temporary relief, he felt no permanent improvement.

I first saw Crafton for only one session in May of 1996. He called and said he felt great for a couple weeks, but within a month the pain returned in full force. I wasn't sure I had done any good because he hadn't come back. Then in December, he called and offered me tickets to the orchestra, so I took my wife, Lisa.

During intermission, we visited Crafton backstage. As we talked, an idea came into my head. I had done some experimenting once with a doctor in Amsterdam where I had been teaching. My Dutch friend, Jan, was a cardiologist who also played classical cello.

Being the curious type, I had long pondered the potential resonance of tissues to certain sound waves and their frequencies.

Now my intuition told me that a cello had just the right quality and range to investigate the concept. With Jan's help, we experimented on several friends and volunteers. Sure enough, as Jan played the scales chromatically, I could feel changes in tissue tensions and energy patterns in the subject's body. I also felt the effects of certain notes on the amplitude and quality of the rhythmical activity of the craniosacral system. Now I realized this same concept might work well on Crafton's puzzling back pain. So several weeks later, Crafton came to our home with a wonderful cellist from his orchestra. The sounds she produced from her instrument were absolutely beautiful and pure.

As she ascended and descended the scales, I monitored the tissues of Crafton's back with my hands. I also did an "arcing" procedure for confirmation. Arcing is done from a distance on the body, usually at the feet. With practice, the evaluator is able to detect the vibrational energy outputs throughout the body and tell which areas are out of synchrony. When these tissues realign energetically, the arcing pattern disappears.

Both direct palpation and arcing confirmed the positive effects on Crafton's muscle relaxation when both open G and B were played. Interestingly, the open G was the most effective on both his upper and lower back problems. The B was effective only in the upper back.

As our cellist continued to play the notes, Crafton felt the muscle tissues relaxing and the pain going away. That's when we decided to have a cellist play his "therapeutic" notes for him on a daily basis. We wanted to see whether we could achieve a more acceptable repatterning of his back-muscle tensions. In the meantime, we discovered the note "concert A" caused Crafton's back muscles to tighten. His pain would begin and continually increase as long as the A was played. Interestingly, A is also the note the whole orchestra plays when they tune up.

I suspect Crafton may now have his orchestra tune to a different note. It certainly opens some doors for investigation, doesn't it?


Click here for previous articles by John Upledger, DO, OMM.

 

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