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For more information: clcottrel@aol.com
Feature article in CitySearch.com February - April 1998.


I Sing the Body Electric:
Sound-wave Massage Therapy at GENESIS Center



The Philosophy

Sometimes, in order to gain control--of a situation, a feeling, or even a tangible pain--you have to let go of it first. Not only does this give us a clearer handle on the offending issue, it also starts a mental and physical relaxation process, a sort of all-over readjustment. For example, if you break your ankle, your body adjusts to the trauma--the muscles around the ankle compensate for the injury and you limp to allow for the pain. Even when the ankle itself has healed, everything else around it has shifted, and though you may no longer limp, your body is always prepared to, anticipating the discomfort it had become used to. The same can occur with emotional trauma and stress--not only do you mentally armor yourself, but your body reacts as well; think of the curved back and sagging shoulders of depression, or the tenseness of anxiety. The process of relieving the body of this--"de-armoring"--is one of the basic principles behind GENESIS, the sound-wave therapy available the GENESIS Center at Soho Health and Wellness.

The Mechanics

Developed in the early '80s by a Florida inventor, GENESIS combines the healing properties of music with high-tech computer programs and sonic sensors, creating an energy-balancing massage that relaxes both inside and out. The participant in the The Experience begins by lying down on a platform surrounded by speakers and suspended within a cuboctahedron-shaped frame--the cuboctahedron being the only shape in which sound and pressure are evenly distributed. Embedded in the platform are hundreds of sensors which pick up on your body's biorhythms and energy, and send this information back to a computer. As music is played (different selections for each client and session), the computer picks up on the sounds your body responds to positively and increases these elements, easing you into a state not unlike meditation or the "zone" experienced by athletes. In the latter part of the session, a program called "MindSong," sensors link to a soundcard and create music based on your breathing, emotions, movement, and energy.

The Experience

Relaxing as it is, GENESIS is also work. Before the session you're asked to pinpoint areas you want to work on, "intents" as they call them, choosing from a list that ranges from easing physical pain to stimulating creativity. Once the intent is set, however, you have to let it go--the part I found the hardest. Just as in meditation, which demands discipline to get into that clear state free of distractions and mind wanderings, it takes some effort here to cast off intellectualizations and lose yourself in the music. Ideally, the more often you have a session, the more quickly you will be able to relax, and I found that everything in the session is designed to help you reach that goal--from the dim lights and spongy soundproof foam walls to Charles Ganz, the gentle, soft-spoken therapist who runs the show. Ganz has seen it all--people who start laughing or crying during the treatment, war or abuse survivors who have a breakthrough--and he encourages the client to treat GENESIS as a "free-space." When I was able to stop thinking and concentrate on the music, I found that the space did indeed become "free"; during the MindSong, in which my body responded to a symphony apparently created by itself, I fell into an almost catatonic state. Although I didn't go into the procedure in a particularly anxious or stressed-out state, in the aftermath I did feel more grounded and my mind was clear and focused--feelings that remained over the next few days. And while I was unable to see direct results with regards to my initial intents (relieving a chronic shoulder pain), I did come out of the session with one new goal: to book my next GENESIS session.


Sandra Ramani, Feb. 21