What is Harmonic Therapy, and the relationship Harmonic Therapy shares with Music Therapy? Simply an expansion or extension of the application of Sound applied in a therapeutic setting. Harmonic Therapy purports that the direct, live application of sound is more effective than pre-recorded sound; and that harmonics have a greater influence over the human condition than popular music, because of the effect harmonics have on the human biofield. Music Therapy is an effective, and established application of compositional music, whereas Harmonic Therapy seeks to create a dimensional environment where traditional melody is replaced with harmonically rich sound-scapes; an ambient mode application incorporating acousmatic theory and mindfulness protocols. The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) addresses ambient mode, and where the AMTA generally focusses on the composition and use of guitar, piano, and drum; the HTA focuses on the use of gongs (hanging and resting), didgeridoo, overtone singing, and indigenous ceremonial ritual sound tools much older than the western varieties, and rarely taught in music programs worldwide. This omission leaves a wide gap in the therapeutic use of sound, which historically was the foundation of music.
Our research findings reveal that the use of sound and music as a therapy has a 14,000 year history. If you go outside the Greek Model, and probe outside the Western viewpoint, there exists a long historical timeline of the therapeutic use of ambient mode Sound Therapy and Music Therapy. For example, in the 14th century, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Bayjezid 1, decreed that 10 musicians including singers, visit the hospitals in his Kingdom 3 times a week to administer music to the patients. Al-Hasan ibn Ali ibn Sīnā a 10th century polymath and jurist known to the Greeks as Avicenna wrote- "One of the most effective and best paths of curing is to increase the mental and spiritual strengths of the patient. To cope better with the illness, the patient should be encouraged, should listen to good music and should come together with people whom he loves." Ibn Sina wrote over 450 books in his lifetime, many included thoughts on music. The 18th century great Indian saint Kakarla Tyagabrahmam wrote over 24,000 musical compositions, in which over 700 survive today. This is just a tiny fraction of the history of sound and music worldwide.
With this deep and rich history, the Harmonic Therapy Association purports a global viewpoint, and wishes to advance this through education and the exchange of ideas from a cross cultural exchange. We also feel that academic standards should be in place to insure public awareness of qualified Sound Therapists who have trained for a minimum of 125+ hours in sound theory, psychology, anatomy, physiology, general theories of alternative medicine, neurology and brain science, including indigenous philosophy. Music Therapists who graduate with a Bachelor's Degree from a recognized college program are also required to perform a minimum of 1200 hours of supervised clinical training (Berklee School of Music provides 1040 hrs. in their curriculum for example). The HTA does not dispute the importance of clinical training in an overall academic praxis, but the failure of college programs to address the importance of ambient mode through indigenous instruments, and the research done by others outside the West, leaves a serious gap in training, and furthers a discriminating practice of only recognizing western musical instruments and theory. The entire western thought of music is based outside the West, for example, the Heptonic Scale was in use for 10 centuries before the Greeks 'discovered' it. This is not about presenting an argumentative viewpoint, but offering a challenge to the present traditional outlook. Plato is reported to have said- "Education in music is most sovereign, because more than anything else rhythm and harmony find their way to the human soul", and Plato again- "I would teach children music, physics, and philosophy; but most importantly music, for the patterns in music and all the arts are the keys to learning."
The present situation of medical care being dictated by insurance companies is disheartening. Added to this, is the lack of musical and sound intervention in hospitals and other health care facilities due to budget restrictions. This combination has left music and sound on the sidelines of therapeutic care in America. These cited issues are not caused by untrained music therapists playing a recital on guitar in a rehab center, but money. Insurance companies simply do not want to pay for musical therapy in any shape or form, and healthcare facilities would rather add more parking spaces to the parking lot, than have a trained Music Therapist on staff. This is at best, reverse thinking, considering the overwhelming evidence based clinical studies showing the effectiveness of music and sound in all phases of health care. It is no longer an issue of whether sound and music is effective, but one of "why" is it not applied. Statistics show that nearly 50% of the American public favors integrative medicine, and the Duke University Health System developed a protocol called the Wheel of Health, and cites 'mindfulness' as the central focus of any health care remedy (LINK). Furthermore, 38% of Americans subscribe to alternative medicine over the traditional methods. So it becomes very clear that people facing a health issue favor non traditional methods as options for their recovery.
The Harmonic Therapy Association supports individuals who have amassed academic studies, and musical training outside of American institutions. Why would someone who has been classically trained in Indian music for 20+ years, be denied recognition in America? Or someone trained in Kazakistan at the Al-Farabi Kazakh National University as a music major in Makam? This is a senseless, discriminating approach considering that music in those parts of the world was regarded as medicine, and has a longer musical history. What is truly needed is a bridge between East and West, a change in attitude that encompasses studies abroad, and a broader assessment of who is qualified and who is not.
The HTA publishes a quarterly e-newsletter to all its members, and assists them in validating research. The Harmonic Therapy Association sponsors a Bi-Annual International Sound Therapy Conference (LINK) which is an academic forum promoting education in the Sound and Music arts which emphasizes therapeutic protocols. We encourage our members to seek the highest academic standards, and to conduct themselves professionally and to engage everyone with dignity and respect. HTA members honor the social and moral expectations of their community in which they work, and are aware that standards of behavior are paramount in building trust in that community. Members of the HTA strive for professional excellence through regular assessment of personal and professional strengths and weaknesses, and by continued education and training. HTA members should undertake to conduct themselves in a professional and ethical manner, performing only those services for which they are qualified, and represent their education, certification, professional affiliations, and other qualifications honestly.