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Story from Phuket Gazette online 

Around the Island: September 20 - 26, 2003
Healing through the sound of silence.

The Gazettes Stephen Fein goes in search of some good vibrations.

Everyone knows that unpleasant noises can be a painful assault on the senses, but not many are aware that sounds can also have important healing properties. For those wishing to experience them, a trip to the newly-opened Silent Sound Centre, near Chalong Circle, may be in order.

The proprietor of the center is 43-year-old Belgian Eric Van Wanseele. In addition to being a Master Sound Therapist trained in Nepal, Mr Van Wanseele is also a Master Teacher in Reiki, a non-invasive form of hands-on healing that he says increases energy, reduces pain, produces deep relaxation and a general feeling of well-being.

The Silent Sound Centre also offers other new-age treatments, including an oxygen bar, foot massage, meditation instruction and even sound massage for the feet using special singing bowls imported from Nepal.

Unlike Thai massage, which focuses on the muscles, Mr Van Wanseele explained, both sound massage and Reiki which is Japanese for divine energy are about energy. Central to the concept is the belief that we are alive because a life force flows through us, and it flows in pathways called chakras, of which there are seven in the body.

As a Reiki Master, Mr Van Wanseele said he has the ability to see a persons energy field, which he described as an aura. Pointing to his assistant, K. Tik, he encouraged me to try to spot her aura, which he described as a two-inch halo over her head.

Her aura indicated her overall state of well-being and ability to ward off potential dangers, both from within and without, he said. Artistic representations of Jesus and the Buddha through the ages have included such halos, he said, adding that they are actually very easy to see though wearing glasses tends to distort the image.

However, when I removed my -6.0 glasses all I could make out was the same myopic, impressionist-painting view of the world which makes the fear of losing my glasses a recurring theme in nightmares.

Perhaps used to this reaction, he told me to keep trying while he sat in meditation, and he began chanting quickly to stoke up his own aura. And believe it or not I thought I could see it, but only with my glasses off. In fact, I was familiar with the halo, but had only ever thought of it as just another problem with my eyesight.

When I asked how my force field was holding up, Mr Van Wanseele peered over his own glasses and made his assessment: my aura was dangerously low, practically non-existent around the temples and in immediate need of replenishment it was time for my first Reiki session.

I lay on a comfortable massage chair while he and K. Tik tried to channel energy, using their hands to look for blockages in the nourishing flow of the life force. Soft meditation music played in the background and the room, with its oxygen generator and special filters working to remove all toxins, was relaxing and pleasant.

With his hands just above my eyes, Mr Van Wanseele explained that life force is responsive to thoughts and feeling and becomes disrupted when people accept negative thoughts or feelings about themselves. Reiki heals by flowing through the affected parts of the field, charging them with positive energy.

After about an hour of Reiki, I felt better but remained skeptical. After all, I always feel better when I am lying down in a relaxed atmosphere. The next step was sound massage. Mr Van Wanseeles collection of singing bowls and bells was truly impressive and created a wide variety of sounds. The sound of the chimes sent a chill up my spine.

To demonstrate one singing bell, he rubbed it with a piece of bamboo, creating a deep, hollow resonance. Holding my fingertips about an inch from the bell, I could feel the vibrations as a tingling sensation well after any audible sound had gone. But could this really heal?

According to Mr Van Wanseele, bells and singing bowls are used by Tibetans for both diagnosis and healing, though monks remain tight-lipped about it. He said that his training with monks was not training in the traditional sense, but rather a series of discoveries on his part that the monks would later affirm or confirm.

Asked how he came up with the somewhat paradoxical name, Silent Sound Centre, Mr Van Wanseele said, The most important sound is the one you dont hear.

The name came to me one day while I was meditating with a singing bowl. I would memorize the sound as I felt the vibrations energizing my whole body. Eventually, I was able to conjure up the same positive vibration, along with its positive effect, simply by remembering it.

When I said that I was still somewhat skeptical about Reiki, especially compared with the sound massage during which I could actually feel vibrations, he said it was a normal response because Reiki takes more time.

Skepticism is good, he said. I am quite skeptical, too. But for me the most important thing is to keep learning. What I dont like is when people just call it bullshit and dismiss it without at least trying it.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the Silent Sound Centre is Mr Van Wanseele himself. Although born with little more than a stump for a left arm, he has had an incredible life.

Not only is he an expert photographer, he also worked as an itinerant street musician in more than 100 countries.

It was when he was working in his favorite country, Singapore, that he had to quit when Sars hit and nobody wanted to come into contact with a street entertainer. Mr Van Wanseeles 2-million-baht investment in the center made me wonder if it was time to turn in my keyboard for a banjo and a cup.

Mr Van Wanseele views his experience as a busker as essential to who he is today. Through this activity I came in contact with many people, and I learned a lot from them. This is why I think I have a good understanding of peoples problems.

The center offers a wide range of services, from combined oxygen and sound therapy at 1.200 baht an hour up to a 8-hour advanced course in Reiki instruction at 10,000 baht. There are also Reiki Share Nights every Saturday from 7-9 pm.

Silent Sound Centre, on the access road to Chalong Pier. Tel: 086-0015641. 



The Phuket Gazette Co Ltd
367/2 Yaowarat Road, Amphur Muang, Phuket 83000, Thailand
Tel: 076-236555 Fax: 076-213971
Copyright 2003  The Phuket Gazette Co Ltd.  All rights reserved.

'Singing bowls at the Silent Sound Centre.

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K. Tik puts a pyramid to use, just one of many energy-replenishing techniques at the center.

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