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.
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
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.
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.
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