s 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.
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
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.
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.
only is he an expert photographer, he also worked as an itinerant street musician in more than 100 countries.
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.
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|'Singing bowls at the Silent Sound Centre.
|K. Tik puts a pyramid to use, just one of many energy-replenishing techniques at the center.