We explore the rising trend of tuning fork therapy using the a dynamic tool used to tune instruments in our search for mental and physical nirvana.
For fellow singer-songwriter Jocelyn Chan, who rose to fame in Hong Kong for her award-winning multilingual songs including “Caged Bird” and “October Snow”, the past year of restricted travel provided a silver lining. “I was stranded in the United States for five months, unable to return to Hong Kong for work,” she explains. “So I finally had the time to pursue something I had long wanted to do, which was to get a diploma in Sound Healing with Tuning Forks from the Sound Healing Academy in England.”
Off-stage, the 28-year-old Chan speaks with gentle yet palpable passion on this other lifelong love.
“I’ve always been into things that are more mystical and occult,” she says. “Hearing, I feel, is the sense that’s overlooked the most; we have allowed ourselves to be susceptible to sound pollution. Tuning forks combine my passion for healing and my knowledge in music theory.”
Recently, this led Chan to set up Atlantis Sound Healing, named after the legendary underwater utopia and its intelligent people. It’s one of the first private meditation practices in Hong Kong to specialise in the dynamic tool traditionally used to tune instruments such as the piano. These U-shaped acoustic resonators, first invented in 1711 by British trumpeter John Shore, work by emitting a tremendous resonance and vibrational sound wave pattern when struck together that matches that of the instrument. That same principle applies when used as a non-evasive sound healing tool.
“Tuning fork healing makes use of frequencies that are beneficial to our bodies to influence and soothe us,” explains Chan. “The theory of resonance means that things on the same frequency will be interconnected. For example, if your stomach was in pain, I would use a frequency that corresponds to your stomach to calm it.”
During Chan’s one-hour meditative classes, she uses singing bowls to calm the student so they are most receptive to healing. She then creates personalised frequency combinations according to each person’s needs. This can include using off-body aluminium tuning forks that, depending on the notes’ intervals, can either produce a harmonious frequency (“for example, a middle and a high C, which is a perfect eighth”) or a dissonance (“like a low C and a high B”) that can help release the body of negativity. “Once relaxed, your meridian points will be opened, and I will use these weighted forks to transmit the vibrations into the body,” she explains. To demonstrate, Chan strikes two heavier forks together and places them in the palm of my hand; instantly, I feel the tingling oscillations passing through me, triggering a deep sensation.
Despite the rising recognition of tuning forks (and sound healing in general) as a meditative technique, Chan acknowledges the misunderstandings that still surround them. “We don’t claim to be doctors,” she says. “We are just the medium between frequencies and the person; how effective it is depends on how open and receptive one is.” She cites Masaru Emoto’s research in his 2004 bestseller The Hidden Messages in Water, which illustrates how concentrated thoughts, words, and feelings can positively or negatively impact water molecules. “We once thought the Earth was flat, too,” she adds with a laugh. “To say that something isn’t proven by science is no good reason to say it doesn’t exist.”
One thing Chan is certain of, however, is her deeply held conviction with which she continues to pursue and promote awareness about the world of natural healing – in part through an upcoming Cantonese album she’s working on that intermixes a variety of sound healing instruments. “At the end of the day, no one wants to live in suffering, pain, or unhappiness,” she concludes. “Sound healing is a way to help each other live our happiest and most joyful lives. When you work on yourself from the inside out, you will emit happiness and affect those around you. This might sound idealistic, but it’s a ripple effect that elevates humanity. On a smaller scale, we all have one life to live – so why not live it in the most joyful way we can?”