Therapy in focus
The Tomatis Method.
By Suzy Barry.
Heading: "Are you talking to me? Are you talking to me? Are you talking to me?"
Understanding just how important the ear and the listening process really is to our well-being and ability to express ourselves!
Some 30 years ago, a young aspiring actor in France visited Dr Alfred Tomatis. He agreed to come to his rooms, sit with headphones on and listen to Mozart for several hours a day for a period of weeks. He had reached a stage of desperation with his clumsy speech and poor memory skills; his only question was "Do I have to pay?" Dr Tomatis said no, saw something special in him and treated him for free. We now see something special in him -- in movies such as Green Card, The Man in the Iron Mask and Les Miserables. Gerard Depardieu could hardly string a sentence together in French, and now memorises massive chunks of a script and delivers them in fluent English -- with an awfully charming French accent! Imagine if Gerard had come across The Tomatis Method at age 2 or 3!The Australian Tomatis Method has been operational for over 12 years in Australia. The Method involves the use of a specially developed Electronic Ear, which filters out the lower frequencies of Mozart's music and Gregorian chants to retrain the ear muscle or inner ear. The method works on the premise that one can only utter what one can perceive. Often issues with speech development stem from auditory processing difficulties, which block or distort the sound on its way in, making it virtually impossible for a child to produce the sound.
LISTENING/ HEARING WELL REDUCES STRESS LIKE NOTHING ELSE CAN!
There is a clear difference between hearing something and actually processing that sound (auditory processing). Listening is much more than just hearing. Hearing is a passive act while listening is an active process. Listening requires the desire to focus and to pay attention. Listening is a psychological process involving the whole person. For Tomatis, the desire to listen is the "royal road" for language development and communication, and provides the basis for human growth. Tomatis can be applied to enhancing performance, communication and can greatly benefit groups and group dynamics.
Where hearing is a function of the ear, listening (auditory processing) is a function of the brain. The importance of the inner ear with the vestibular system and the cochlea is the dynamogenic function. The vestibular system is the 'EAR of the body'. It controls every muscle and therefore every movement we make. Any kinaesthetic stimulation or perception is related to the vestibular system. The vestibule controls posture, verticality, balance, rhythm, time judgment, special orientation and muscle tone.
Subheading: The dynamogenic function
The dynamogenic function
The ear is like a dynamo for the whole system. Sound is necessary to make the brain function well, bringing the required energy for it to work efficiently. It is part of the cochlea which perceives the high pitched sounds that allows this dynamogenic function (26 000 hair cells). Tomatis has also highlighted that high pitched sounds energise the brain and low pitch sounds tend to drain the nervous system and the brain.
Thanks to the energy brought by the ear to the brain through the nervous system, we feel more dynamic, creative, motivated and aware. Adaptation linked to the quality of the sound: too loud / too soft; where the sound comes from; difficulties in adaptation; tendency to become tired from having to listen harder; listening becomes more selective; attention span is shortened; information cannot be memorised easily; difficulties in emitting sound: the voice is either too loud or too soft.
All of this extra stress and strain on our ears' functions can lead to a feeling of tiredness, stress, burnout and exhaustion. Research done in Sweden with 60 patients - 40 women and 20 men - who had among the diagnoses: burnout, stress, insomnia and depression, showed a marked improvement in general performance, feeling of wellbeing and health.
The Tomatis Method is applied by Certified Tomatis Consultants who have received intensive training and keep attending on-going training seminars and the international conference every 2 years. They are members of the professional international association IARCTC. Francoise Nicoloff is the president of this association and is responsible for delivering the healing properties of The Tomatis Method to Australia and the South Pacific Region. She has worked in centres and with people all around the world and is now developing a specific program for corporate stress and exhaustion.Subheading: Tanya explains how Tomatis was able to transform parts of her that were wound up and stressed into creativity.
Through this therapy I have developed my innate creativity. Energy that was suppressed is now unleashed, inspiring self expression. Listening to the music of Mozart with The Tomatis Method, I felt amazing changes within my brain. The ear is absorbing the sounds heard via the headphone- set to rewire, if you like, the chemistry within your brain.The feelings are like mechanical changes that service the body like a car is tuned and serviced, perhaps - to gain optimum performance. The subliminal sounds (frequencies) that are behind the classical music are the key to all change.
There is a definite internal resistance at first. Some pieces of music are grating, as they are unfamiliar frequencies, with time however, you learn to relax and go with the flow. Relaxing activities are encouraged during treatment - reading, playing games, painting, even sleeping!
Once the initial feelings of annoyance had passed, I noticed that the more open and relaxed I was, the more beneficial the activity I was pursuing. The stress-free moments were like a real unblocking of encumbering energy blocks.
Over the 10 day treatment period - I really started to embrace the stress-free environment to unwind and heal at the same time. Classical music for relaxation is not a new concept, but this music is enhanced with background noises that send the brain waves into a state of chaos followed by peace. You can really feel the science behind this musical therapy. Classical music now is a refined and pleasant reminder of this method - the music is now a constant memory that this type of music is meditative and calming, as is the chanting, which is also part of the musical exercises - this clears the throat chakra to integrate ear, nose and throat areas of the head. For increased harmony in the home, a family program can be designed and undertaken. I imagine it would work for any group… Communication is improved along with hearing and listening. A subtle and elegant way to aid personal growth, de-stress and relax.
For more information on The Tomatis Method: web: www.tomatis.com.au
©Suzy BarryMore articles