Relaxing in Austria with harps, didgeridoos and kitchen tables

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I am lying on a large wooden table. Attached to the underside of the table is a series of strings – like piano or harp strings. I am covered in a blanket with a cloth across my eyes to block out the light. A young (rather fit looking!) therapist called Christian is sitting next to me gently plucking the strings below.

A haunting musical sound begins to build, gently resonating through my body. It sounds like three didgeridoos playing harmonies.

It’s certainly a pleasant experience but I am skeptical about its therapeutic benefits.

It’s called a ‘sound bed’ and it’s part of the spa facilities at The Wiesenhof hotel in the picture postcard village of Pertisau in Tirol in Austria.

The treatment is based on the understanding that the world around us oscillates or vibrates. Humans mostly perceive these vibrations as music or noises. Physics has shown us that these vibrations, if at the correct pitch can activate other bodies. Think of a tuning fork; if you strike the fork and hold it against something else with a similar resonant frequency, it will set that body vibrating too.

This is the principle of Tibetan resonance therapy which uses bells.

Johannes Entner at The Wiesenhof wanted to create a treatment that would help calm the mind and body in the same way as the Tibetan bells, but using Alpine traditions.

Since stringed instruments are typical for the Alpine region Johannes chose them as the basis for his idea. He worked in collaboration with Wolfgang Lohmeier, a Munich-based sound engineer and percussionist, and togther they developed a unique bed with 15 strings tuned to the sound of the Earth.

austria2During the treatment you lie on the wooden “resonator box“ with the 15 piano strings underneath. Your therapist then slides his/her fingers across the strings, which are tuned to C sharp. This single fundamental tone generates various overtones providing the bed with a warm, voluminous tone.

At first its just pleasant and I am not sure its really having any therapeutic effect, but gradually as the tones begin to work their magic, I can feel my body and my mind begin to relax. Deeper and deeper.

I not only hear the harmonic frequencies through my ears but I also feel them through my skin.

The idea is that as well as relaxing you, the treatment also helps to improve circulation and balances the autonomic nervous system.

I can certainly say it relaxed me – more than I have experienced for a long time. And as it came to an end I suddenly realised that for some time (I have no idea for how long!) I had actually stopped thinking – that inner voice had shut up! I was left with a strong sense of being grounded and calm, which lasted the rest of the day, and that night I slept well and woke up feeling refreshed.

What a shame all kitchen tables arent hooked up with piano strings – giving a dinner party could be a lot less stressful!
FACT BOX
Wiesenhof – www.wiesenhof.at/en
Achensee Tourism – www.achensee.info/en

Tyrolean Steinol – www.steinoel.at

 

About the Author
Chantal Cooke is an award winning journalist and co-founder of PASSION for the PLANET radio

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