Dave Fisher, LMT, is one of the most caring men I have ever met. He has been gifted in this life with remarkable ability as a healer and as a computer systems analyst - not the usual combination of talents.
I had the pleasure of working with him in a shared office, and I am honored to share with you some of his insights from his synthesis of technology and bodywork. Mr. Fisher earned his bodywork degree from the Finger Lakes School of Massage and has his National Certification for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCTMB). To contact him for more information, visit his Web site at www.theheartofsound.com or e-mail him at
Jennifer Waters (JW): Please tell us briefly about your training and what led you to blending technology and bodywork.
Dave Fisher (DF): My professional background is in systems analysis and software development. I graduated from Taylor University with a dual degree in computer systems analysis and religious studies. After working as a software development manager and programmer for many years, I decided to pursue my life's passion, which is using sound and vibration as a modality for healing.
JW: Tell us about how vibration and sound can affect one's ability to heal?
DF: It is a twofold approach - one to put the mind into a conducive and open state for healing and the other to affect the body on a systemic, cellular level. When we think of sound, we tend to think of something we can "hear." When we think of vibration, we tend to think of something we can "feel." One approach is auditory and the other kinesthetic. I use psychoacoustic techniques in order to initiate our parasympathetic/relaxation response. Once in this state, healing occurs. The term "psychoacoustic" is actually a branch of science that deals with the perception and sensation of sound. Thus, the way I am using this word, psychoacoustics, is said to mean sound that directly affects our mind and body for healing.
JW: What do you think is the best way to promote one's health?
DF: Using sound? Ideally, you would immerse yourself on a daily basis in your fundamental tone vibrations, auditorily and kinesthetically. But realistically, since not everyone is going to have a vibrating chair or table on a daily basis, I would encourage people to chant or intone various vowel sounds, especially "ahhhhh," as this plays a key role with your fundamental tone. In this way, you become a resonate chamber with your voice. If you do this toning while wearing headphones and listening to a recording that is in your fundamental tone, the results are even stronger, and a mind-quieting balanced state can easily be achieved. This opens up avenues for deeper meditative and healing work.
JW: Will you explain your massage table setup for us?
DF: The table is a technologically rigged massage table. Four high-fidelity transducers are mounted underneath and connected to a stereo system. The stereo system drives both the transducers and two external speakers situated to the left and right sides of a person's head as they lay on the table. The vibrations from the transducers resonate the table, which in turn resonates the physical and energetic structure of your entire body. The transducers convey the deep, bass part of the sound and are sometimes called "bass shakers" because that is what they do well - shake.
JW: You mentioned that you do Chinese meridian therapy?
DF: Yes, that's right. Many times, when I am working along a meridian, I feel the vibrations stronger at certain acupressure points. Then the vibrations, the client, and I enter into a cooperative relationship to balance these points through various massage and acupressure techniques. Sometimes I focus an entire session on the Bladder meridian and governing vessel, for example. It just depends on what symptoms are presenting.
I am always thinking about activating qi flow because when it really begins to flow without obstruction, the parasympathetic response begins to flood the body. Sound and vibration literally mobilize and activate qi - kind of like if you had a pan full of sand that is clumped up in various places and you start shaking it until all the valleys and peaks (analogous to a tsubo's excess or congestion) even out and settle. The key is in how that pan is shaken. I happen to use hands-on therapy with psychoacoustics. The results are profound.
JW: What do you wish you learned in school but never did?
DF: It would have been helpful to have formal training in biofeedback techniques since I found myself working with biosensor equipment, such as EEG units and heart monitors. I'll eventually be using a heart monitor to create real-time sound recordings. I also have had to learn quite a bit about digital sound processing - everything from the mathematics of frequency analysis to electro-acoustic sound production and mastering techniques.
JW: How does someone discover his or her fundamental tone?
DF: Well, it's actually pretty easy. Simply put, your fundamental tone is the tone that you find most pleasing and initiates your parasympathetic healing response. Just relax your jaw and throat, take a deep breath, and breathe out an "ahh." The "ahh" naturally opens and relaxes your throat and gives what I think of as the "heart pitch," or fundamental tone. It is this tone that activates your parasympathetic and restores qi equilibrium, especially when you are immersed in it vibrationally. You can use a handheld chromatic tuner (such as those used by musicians) or find the note that you just made on a piano. I use a tuner and also have software to determine the tone you just made. One of my next projects is to have downloadable recordings on the Web site that are within various major tones. In order for someone to easily identify their tone, there will be several short sound samples on my Web site that you can listen to. You decide which one you like best. I have found that most people get it right.
JW: You said that you will eventually be using a heart monitor in your work. Tell us about that.
DF: Yes. The heart holds key information concerning the state of our autonomic nervous system. Through such measurements as heart rate and frequency analysis of the variation between your heartbeats, it is possible to determine the state of your stress/relaxation response. This information is then used to dynamically adjust the tonal sound composition you are listening to until you are utterly submerged in your relaxation response. At some point I want to automate this process via software.
JW: How do you choose the psychoacoustic recordings you are using currently?
DF: I've been working with psychoacoustic compositions in my treatment sessions for several years and have had the opportunity to observe what works, and what doesn't work, through hundreds of sessions. I created my own psychoacoustic sound compositions, which evolved out of those treatment sessions. I wanted something that I could use with a broad spectrum of people and their fundamental tones. I recently released two CDs that I created and have a third on the way.
JW: If you were to impart one piece of knowledge to us, what would it be?
DF: Get sound in your practice. It can be so much more than just the nice relaxing music you often hear in the background, it can be something that powerfully resonates one's being.
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