Essence therapy was developed by Dr. Mitchell Gaynor, a medically trained oncologist based in Manhattan who taught cancer patients to supplement conventional medicine with soothing music, diet and meditation. Gaynor became fascinated with alternative healing treatments and went into what is called integrative oncology which combines both conventional medical care with alternative treatments like sound and meditation for his patients in the clinic.
Gaynor has received remarkable results with his patients and has published a book “The Healing Power of Sound” documenting his approach and experience. Gaynor’s sound therapy includes visualization exercises to help his patients visualise their pain to make it concrete for them. The imagery will change as the therapy proceeds into one which is ultimately positive and uplifting to help individuals release their pain.
According to Gaynor, “when we visualize images that arouse an emotion, a sense of serenity, or physical sensations, an entire cascade of physiologic changes occur, including modulation of neurotransmitters, neuropeptides, and messenger molecules that may influence the immune system”. (Gaynor 2002)
Gaynor also used a lot of Tibetan singing bowls in his therapy. His patients will tone and sing alongside the note that is created by the singing bowl. The negative emotion which was given an imagination earlier was then combined with this toning and singing to release it.
Gaynor also worked with his patients to create their own personal “life song”. “They are mantra like sounds, comprised of groups of syllables strung together in a pattern that is as unique to you as your social security number. Life songs transform our jumbled thoughts, judgements, and feelings into a harmonious pattern”. (Gaynor 2002).
“ESSENCE sound meditation is a sound meditation process that uses the voice and the singing bowl or another sound source, to create a level of awareness beyond the commonplace worries and concerns of the mind in order to awaken the spirit for self-healing”. (Gaynor 2002)
Essence to Gaynor is the “infinite, immutable, borderless self that is both whole by itself, and integrated and whole in society and the universe”. (Gaynor 2002) G.I. Gurdjieff described essence as one’s truest self or soul. Eastern spirituality and western philosophies referred to a state of awareness called “Atman, Brahman, unity consciousness, unconditioned awareness or transcendent self- in which we no longer identify with “emotions,” “mind,” “self,” or any circumscribed mental or physical reality. We move to a transpersonal plane in which we are at one with others and the universe”. (Gaynor 2002, p. 12) Music and sound therapy according to Gaynor is to support the individual reach their “essence” which is a place where self-healing can begin.