We hope you are reveling in this new moon energy and that you are feeling supported and inspired as you set intentions for the coming months and find new ways to offer gentleness and compassion to yourself and the humans around you.
It's been a busy month for us! We've loved offering our weekly Sound Path Meditation Classes at Anchor Meditation and Passion Project, and especially loved taking our Sound Paths class on the road! Thank you to Andrea Cortez of Mind Body Music for hosting us in Austin, and creating such an inspired evening of community sound healing and meditation.
It feels so incredible to expand our wellness community, and our intention for this month is to continue expanding and deepening our relationships with everyone in our wellness tribe!
For this month’s newsletter, we’d like to pull back the wizard’s curtain and share some empowering, technical information for all you sound and plant curious readers!
To begin, Josh will explain step by step, how to build your own DIY vibroacoustic sound table! It is our dream that everyone we love have access to the benefits of a daily vibroacoustic practice! After your sound table journey, we will explore the magic and benefits of one of my favorite sleepy time plants, passionflower.
A Vibrant Touch
DIY VIBROACOUSTIC THERAPY
By Joshua W Bruner
This month I’ll be talking about sound vibrations felt through the body, specifically on a sound table. Vibroacoustic therapy uses musical frequencies in a variety of ways to help calm the mind and body. A sound table can be considered a haptic device, which translates sound into the body through sonic vibrations. You’ve probably experienced vibroacoustics before in a rumbling movie theater seat or a video arcade where they shake you during the exciting parts to amplify your sensory experience. Today we’ll be talking about ways of using this technology to specifically relieve stress instead of just shaking your body as an entertainment gimmick.
The term Vibroacoustic Therapy (VAT) was coined in the 1980s by the Norwegian sound therapist, Olav Skille. With deep sub bass range frequencies it is possible to deeply stimulate our bodies on a cellular level. Imagine this feeling like a sonic hot tub with no water. Sound travels five times as fast through water as it does air so it really stimulates our bodies, which are known to be roughly 60% water. This sound based therapy has been researched as treatment for autism, fibromyalgia, Alzheimer’s Disease, arthritis, depression, recovery from surgery/trauma, pain and anxiety relief, insomnia, blood pressure, Parkinson’s Disease, and more.
The first time I personally experienced a sound table I immediately recognized that after 20 years of making all kinds of music, I knew absolutely nothing about sound. This was a welcomed awakening and extremely humbling. I immediately began seeking more information to learn how to create my own DIY sound table and was lucky to find a few interesting videos out there that showed just how easy it is to make your own. There is something to be said for a professionally made sound table (See here) but if you don’t have $3,000 to spend, you can create something that’s very enjoyable for only a couple hundred dollars, maybe even less if you’re crafty.
What you’ll need to make your own DIY sound table!
This is where the mojo lies. With bass transducers you are able to translate a lot of vibration without as much room noise. You would need to blast massive sub speakers into your body to get the same desired effect, and that would be terrible for your ears. After trying out several types of transducers over the last year I’d suggest you start off with two of these shakers. They’re really affordable and provide you with the exact kind of vibrational response you’ll need.
Dayton Audio DTA-120BT2 Class D Mini Amplifier 60 WPC is affordable, doesn’t overheat, and pushes these two bass transducers really nicely. If you already have a decent stereo amplifier you can save some money here.
Massage table, couch, chair, or even build a portable table out of plywood. I’ve made several now and like cutting a piece of 3/4 inch plywood down to the size of a standard yoga mat and adding short coffee table legs. Just mount the two shakers under near where the shoulders and the tail bone might normally be positioned on the average sized person lying down.
Hook up the bass shakers to the amp with speaker wire.
Other suggested items:
Headphone extension with volume control to be able to adjust the headphone volume separately from the table volume, 1/8th inch splitter hub, and noise canceling headphones.
Make the table comfortable. Use an extra thick yoga mat. Add a bolster for under the knees. Use a comfy pillow. I upgraded mine with a matching far infrared crystal heating pad and pillow. After you deck it out to your liking, you’re all set. If you need access to music made specifically for these tables you can find free songs on our website or subscribe to our Bandcamp to gain access to unlimited Flower & Frequency meditation music.
Once you experience music in this new, deeply vibrational way, you’ll be changed in ways that will surely surprise you and encourage you to continue experiencing the many health benefits found within vibroacoustics and sound meditation.
I’m sharing all that I know about this and many other amazing sound meditation techniques in hopes that you’ll take this knowledge and serve your community with your own unique musical tastes and talents. Spread the literal vibes!
Let us know how your own journey goes and remember to keep it mellow and do no harm!
Avoid Vibroacoustic Therapy if you have:
Active or borderline psychosis
Open wounds, external or internal bleeding (except menstrual)
We are gearing up to release a Sleep Ritual Box this May, which will include meditation music, meditation mist, a sleep tincture, and sleep salve! Passionflower has turned out to play a staring role in our ritual box, so we thought we’d gather some of our favorite things about them to get you all acquainted! May your relationship be cloaked in magic, curiosity, and joyful reciprocity.
Can you even believe passionflower exists?! When I first gazed into a passionflower bloom, I felt an overwhelming sense of curiosity, electricity, and the kind of kindred feeling that happens when two outer space creatures meet.
I could tell that the medicine in this plant was profound. The deep blues and purples indicated to me that this might be a portal plant, I immediately felt a sort of calm hypnosis spread throughout my body, and especially my heart.
The more I learn about the constituents and herbal actions of this plant, the more our first encounter, and the striking bloom of this flower makes sense to me.
To begin, Passionflower, or Passiflora incarnata, is a perennial vine native to the tropical and semi-tropical regions of the Americas. In our neck of the woods, it is native to the southeastern part of the Unites States, but is easily cultivated and can be found thriving all over the place.
Medicinally, Passionflower has an affinity for the nervous and cardiovascular systems, and is considered a Nervine, Antispasmodic, Sedative, Hypnotic, and Anodyne.
In less medical terms, Passionflower helps you chill the heck out, helps you release tense smooth muscle and nervous tissue, helps you ease into restful sleep (without sleep hangover), and is pain relieving.
Historically, Passionflower has been indicated for circular thinking (windy condition that keeps thoughts cruising through your head like a Ferris wheel on speed) that causes insomnia, especially if the thoughts or worries stem from grief, or matters of the heart.
Passionflower pairs beautifully with Skullcap, Hawthorn, Motherwort, Milky Oats, and Blue Vervain for Nervous System support.
In my practice, I have especially loved using Passionflower to help anxious “circle thinking” clients with high blood pressure. The depressive actions it has for the central nervous system act as a hypotensive (lowers blood pressure). This feels like such an important piece. When we are anxious or stressed, our veins tighten, our hearts start pumping faster, and our blood pressure goes up. This can lead to a host of health concerns. Introducing Passionflower into our systems during times of stress supports the proper function of our hearts and helps prevent the constriction of our veins and arteries.
Something special about Passionflower on a chemical level, is that it helps our body break down serotonin and norepinephrine in slower, more efficient ways. This leads to a more even, gentle hormonal cascade and peaceful state of consciousness. This also may be a reason why Passionflower has historically been used to help folks struggling with addiction.
Personally, I’ve had beautiful results pairing Skullcap, Tulsi and Passionflower together for this purpose.
I just love this plant so much! Taking a look at the bloom again, notice how the pistil and stamen might remind you of some sort of underwater, oceanic creature. This has lead me to experiments pairing sea essences with Passionflower, and I’ve had great fun tracking the interfaces between these two energetic medicines! You can look forward to some of these pairings in our sleep box!
There is so much more to share about Passionflower, but the last thing I will share, is how mush I’ve loved experiencing the medicine of Passionflower through my skin. On a whim, I began experimenting with Passionflower as part of a sleep salve this past year. Since I’ve made copious amounts, I often end up coating my entire body in this salve on a daily basis, even when I’m not ready for sleep. What I’ve noticed, is that I feel calm, that my muscles feel spacious and relaxed, and that I spend less time worrying about things I may have done wrong throughout the day. Intuitively, I feel like this is Passionflower teaching me how to be gentle on myself, and showing me that If I stay relaxed in my body, my heart can surrender to the curious magic of being a human.
We hope you have enjoyed getting to know Passionflower, and look forward to hearing about your own experiences with this beautiful plant medicine.
Thank you for coming on this sound table and Passionflower journey with us!
As always, you can find a new meditation track on our Bandcamp to enjoy!
With Much Love,
Nora and Josh