The harp gives forth murmuring music; and the dance goes on without hands and feet.” Kabir (1480-1518)
For people who are drawn to this beautiful instrument, a Harp Therapy session can be soothing, uplifting and profoundly healing.
Healing with the Harp
The historical and archetypal significance of the harp as an ancient, spiritually healing instrument opens many doors to the personal and collective unconscious and may thereby facilitate the healing process.¹
The harp has long been recognised as a musical instrument with therapeutic qualities. In the Bible, the young shepherd boy David soothed Saul’s troubled soul with his harp; likewise, instruments of the harp family were used for healing across the ancient world from Greece to Egypt. Today, there are several programmes that train therapeutic harp practitioners to serve in modern clinical settings, such as hospitals, hospices and private practice.
Alongside its mythic status, the harp’s use as a healing instrument can be attributed to its unique physical characteristics: it has a highly resonant sound with a long reverberation time. When a string is plucked, the partials closest to the fundamental note in the harmonic series are the most prominent; this gives the harp its distinctive pure sound.
What is Harp Therapy?
People come for a Harp Therapy session for a variety of reasons. These include physical, mental, emotional or spiritual pain, illness, anxiety, depression and fatigue. Some clients use it for meditation or as a means of inspiring creativity or problem solving. Some come from curiosity or simply because they love the harp. All are welcome. A typical Harp Therapy session involves live harp music specially chosen for that individual at that moment to effect beneficial change in their physical, emotional, mental or spiritual state. The music may consist of familiar favourites, or it may be improvised there and then. It may also include other supportive sounds, including singing bowls, bells, chimes, nature sounds and voice. During a Harp Therapy session there is no need to do anything at all other than relax and receive the music.
Vibroacoustic Harp Therapy
People coming for Harp Therapy in my studio are invited to make use of The Ombed. This is a vibroacoustic bed in which the frequencies from the harp are directly transferred to the body via inbuilt speakers. The sound of the harp is thus felt bodily at the same time as it is heard. These subtle sensations vibrate and resonate with the tissues of the body, providing the receiver with a “musical massage.”
As the sound of the harp continues to envelop you, hearing and physical sensation merge together in a way that can leave you feeling completely cocooned by the music. In this state, many people find themselves able to drift away, free from everyday worries and concerns. According to the founder of Vibroacoustic Harp Therapy, “Most patients who receive VAHT report responses such as deep relaxation, dream-like imagery, pain and tension reduction, increased energy and body awareness, as well as the feeling of being nurtured.”²
Individual Harp Therapy sessions
Please note that due to Covid-19 restrictions, I am currently unable to offer Harp Therapy sessions. I shall resume treatments as soon as it safe to do so.
For further information, see Sound Healing and Therapeutic Music FAQs.
I look forward to playing for you.
¹Williams, Sarajane Good Vibrations: Principles of Vibroacoustic Harp Therapy, 2005, page 5
²Williams, Sarajane Good Vibrations: Principles of Vibroacoustic Harp Therapy, 2005, page 74