Introduction

We would like to introduce the reader to a new and unique form of Oriental healing, one that uses pure sound to harmonize the meridians and to invigorate the body’s energy. We call our technique Acutone. It is a powerful and effective technique, and we believe you will find it as valuable to your practice as it has been to ours. This book will teach you all you need to know to get started with this therapy, assuming you have a basic background in acupuncture or Oriental bodywork. Acutone is a complete system of natural healing; it can be used alone or in concert with other Oriental therapies such as acupuncture, moxabustion, or Oriental bodywork. Its methodology is based on scrupulous research of the Chinese classics and extensive experience by the authors and their predecessors. The primary instruments used in Acutone are tuning forks, and all the techniques are non-invasive. We chose tuning forks because they produce the purest tone of any natural instrument, and because they can be easily applied to the body, much like the non-penetrating Teishins of modern Japan.
But Acutone is much more than another type of acupressure. The tuning fork transmits a pure tone that travels deeper through the body’s tissues and much faster than the vibration of an acupuncture needle. Furthermore, the Acutone system is founded on the ancient principle that there are definite frequencies that affect each of the five phases as well as the twelve meridians.
The story of Acutone began in Wisconsin with Dean Lloyd, an acupuncturist and musician. Having completed a course of study in five-phase acupuncture, Dean learned of an obscure treatise in the Huang Di Nei Jing, the Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic. It explained how the five notes of the Chinese pentatonic scale ruled over the energies of the five yin meridians (see chapter 1). Although the Nei Jing was clearly inviting its readers to employ the five tones as a form of therapy, it did not provide clear details on how the tones should be used. Also, it is likely that the ancient Chinese would have used bells and flutes in therapy, since tuning forks were not invented until the 18th century in Europe.
Using the pitch standards derived from a modern Oriental reference, Dean fashioned an experiment that assessed pulse changes in human subjects while tones were played with a flute. A Doppler meter was used to ensure objectivity of the pulse measurements. While the playing of the tones had a discernible impact on the pulse readings, the changes produced were opposite those required for healing, i.e., excess pulses became more excess and so on. We now realize that the main reason for the failure was the employment of modern pitch standards that were not the same as those used in the true Chinese scale of ancient times.
When Dean heard of a visiting French researcher who had developed a method of healing with tuning forks, he traveled to the West Coast to confer with him. There he met Fabien Maman, a musician/composer turned acupuncturist who had spent twenty years researching the effects of resonance on the body. Fabien’s discovery of the power of tone began when he was leading a concert in Tokyo in 1974. Unlike Western audiences, it was not the custom of Japanese to applaud at the conclusion of each piece.
The silence after each piece was bewildering at first… But after the initial apprehension at the end of the first few pieces, I began to anticipate and even enjoy the silence. I could sense that the silence was filled with the resonance of the music just played and so I took the opportunity after each piece to feel the real effect the music was having on myself, the other performers, the audience and even the concert hall itself. I could tell that the music affected the body and spirit of the audience and musicians alike – and that the particular effect differed with each piece played.

Fabien eventually put his performance career on hold in order to learn acupuncture, Aikido, and Kototama, the science of pure sound. After years of experimentation, Fabien was able to develop a system of correspondence between the sixty antique-shu points and the twelve notes of the modern chromatic scale. It is to Fabien’s research with antique points that much of the present book is indebted. Dean’s own experience, however, has added significant new dimensions to the application of tone in Chinese healing, including the use of the pentatonic scale in five-phase treatment and the invention of the Resonance Bell.
The final Acutone system as presented here is highly flexible and makes available the full spectrum of techniques used by the modern acupuncturist and body therapist. We must point out, however, that although Acutone is based on music theory, it is a form of tone therapy, not music therapy. The tuning forks are used to resonate through the cellular medium in the body’s tissues, not through the auditory canal. The technique can be used even if the patient is deaf. Also, while tuning forks have become popular with “New Age” healers, Acutone is the first attempt to make systematic use of the true Chinese pentatonic scale based on the ancient Huang Zhong fundamental. As the reader will soon learn, this is the scale upon which the five phases and the twelve meridians were originally patterned.
It is impossible to underestimate the importance that scales and music played in the genesis of Chinese civilization. Music was seen as the concrete manifestation of the natural order and harmony that permeated the universe. The playing of music was a way of ritually embracing this cosmic harmony, and thus music and ritual (li) were inextricably linked.
Music appeared in the Great Beginning, and the rituals [li] took their place on the completion of things. What manifests itself without ceasing is Heaven, what manifests itself without stirring is Earth. Movement and quiescence sum up all between Heaven and Earth. And so the Sages would simply speak about rituals and music.[i]
A Minister of Ritual (Da Zong Bo) was one who used music to “adjust the transformations of Heaven and Earth and the production of all material things.”[ii] Music, in short, was a way of regulating, through human intervention, the creative forces at work in the world. In this manner, music and musical tones have a direct impact on the process of healing.
Although our goal in writing this book is to present our profession with a practical healing methodology, there is much in the following pages that will be of interest to modern scholars as well. The evidence will show that the five phases, long thought to be an invention of the late Zhou Dynasty, were based on musical precursors that are as old as Chinese civilization itself. Furthermore, this musical paradigm continued to underlie the framework of cosmological theory and was incorporated into the very matrix of the meridian circulation scheme designed by the authors of the Nei Jing.
The Acutone therapy presented in this book is composed of two interlocking acupuncture sub-systems: the five phases and the twelve meridians. We will demonstrate how these two sub-systems interface closely with the two great scales of Chinese history, the pentatonic and the chromatic respectively. This does not exhaust all the Acutone applications, however, and future works will explore the eight extraordinary vessels, auricular therapy, and the Indian chakra systems.
The tools required for Acutone are relatively simple and inexpensive, and include a full chromatic scale of tuning forks. Resources for purchasing tuning forks as well as the Acutone Resonance Bell can be found in Appendix IVs. We also invite the reader to explore the work of Fabien Maman, Sound and Acupuncture: The Body as Harp.
We wish the reader success in this great healing adventure, and look forward to meeting you in our workshops.
Dean Lloyd
John Pirog
1999

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