Spotlight: Elizabeth Yelen
by Colleen M. Quinn
It’s no secret that sound has an effect on people; certain noises and sounds can evoke good or bad feelings, various types of music can be calming or energizing, and books like The Mozart Effect argue that sound and music have an effect on brain function. But it can often seem that these effects are ambiguous, and perhaps as arbitrary as changing the radio station.
Fortunately, there is a type of energy work called sound healing, that harnesses the powerful effects of sound to the great benefit of mind and body. Elizabeth Yelen B.A., C.S.P of Boulder, Colorado has experienced this herself through her practice of sound healing, an energy-based practice that she is helping gain distinction.
Sound healing is based on the fact that everything in our world vibrates at its own frequency, right down to the atomic level. Elizabeth likens this to the key signature of a musical piece, a vibrational fingerprint that everything from a rock to the family dog has. In terms of the human body, these vibrations and the body’s energy directly affect a person’s well-being.
In Elizabeth’s sound healing work, special tuning forks are used to balance the body’s energy in a method that is similar to acupuncture and acupressure. They are applied to certain acupuncture points on the body, which allow the body’s energy to be more easily accessed. The individual vibrations of the tuning forks bring balance and harmony to the body’s energy.
These tuning forks are designed to hold very specific frequencies, namely, those of the planets within our solar system. Just like earth-bound things, each planet also has its own signature frequency. The importance of the planets in sound healing has its roots in the meaning and influence these celestial bodies have on mankind’s culture and history.
Each planet in the solar system has specific qualities and has direct effects on us through mythologies, culture, history, and by their corresponding astrological meanings. For example, the planet Jupiter corresponds with the deity Zeus, and tends to be jovial, protective, and a great benefactor. Jupiter’s effects on one’s life can extend to the emotional and spiritual, and when translated to the body through a specially tuning fork, also physiologically as well. “I’ve had great success with back issues,” says Elizabeth.
Recent research has also found that sound waves directly affect physical processes in the body as well, such as RNA synthesis. While DNA is like the body’s library of information, RNA actively gets information from the library to help the body operate properly, such as which proteins cells should be producing. Sound can affect the amount of RNA produced, as well as which parts of the DNA it copies.
The healing sessions that Elizabeth offers are very distinctive because she blends sound healing with shamanic techniques to create a valuable healing experience for her clients. As a Certified Shamanic Practitioner certified through the Path Home Shamanic Arts School, she has a solid foundation in shamanic healing. Shamanism is a healing practice that involves a number of techniques, including entering into a non-ordinary reality. Elizabeth’s experience and use of shamanic techniques in a sound healing session are what make her practice unique and effective.
In addition to her education in energy and healing work, Elizabeth also uses her own exceptional intuition to determine what a session must entail to best serve a client. This natural talent is extremely useful in a healing session because it allows her to personalize a session as much as possible.
“For me, it’s easy to combine traditions and it makes sense,” she says. “For example, shamanic principles can be applied to just about anything.”
The session begins with the client lying fully clothed on a massage table, underneath which certain stones and crystals are placed, in order to help with the shamanic aspects of the session. Elizabeth begins by grounding the person, a technique that helps bring the client into the moment so that they can better receive the energy work. Grounding begins at the feet, where Elizabeth may gently apply essential oils to help with the process and to aid in the client’s relaxation.
From here, the session progresses as Elizabeth gets a feel from the client’s energy as to where and what needs attention. Because of this, a session will be different for every person, every time. Elizabeth usually uses the tuning forks first, activating them by striking them against her leg and causing them to vibrate. Using two at a time, she applies the handle of the fork directly to the body on certain acupuncture points, depending on the needs of the client. The feeling of the frequencies traveling through the body is surprisingly not ticklish, but comfortably reminiscent of a massage chair.
Throughout the session, Elizabeth is constantly aware of the information she senses from the client, and determines which points on the body that need to be activated with the forks based on this information. This level of awareness also means that she will incorporate any shamanic techniques that may be needed.
She alsomay use an extraction technique, which removes energies from the client that don’t belong to him or her. Or perhaps what’s needed is a soul retrieval, which is a deeply healing process where the client becomes reconnected with parts of himself or herself that have been wounded in the past. Elizabeth may also incorporate the use of drums, essential oils, and aromatherapy to aid in whatever is necessary for the client’s best and highest good.
A session with Elizabeth lasts about an hour, and she is always sure to discuss it with the client afterward. Especially to someone trying a session like this for the first time, there will inevitably be questions before and after, and Elizabeth is more than happy to explain and discuss them. For example, a spirit guide may become present in soul retrieval, or perhaps emotions are released through the use of the tuning forks. Understanding the healing session is important because it can lead insight into the results experienced later, such as certain feelings that may arise, or a sudden shift in viewpoints and understanding.
“The nature of this work is to empower people to become more self-reliant and independent,” she says.
For this reason, Elizabeth is happy to advise a client on what other therapies might help, or things they can do to maintain themselves. She recommended one client to try out a hard style martial art like karate because, she says. “She (the client) needed to learn how to hold her center, and she needed that release of energy that a hard style can bring.”
Elizabeth also believes that a commitment to heal or become healthier is stronger when a person makes that decision themselves, instead of someone nagging them into it. That, she says, can only create a dependence on others, be it a practitioner or family members, that in the long run won’t have a positive effect. “As a practitioner, I have to step back and let people make their own decisions, and sometimes their own mistakes,” Elizabeth says. Her job is to give help if a person seeks it, and she is more than happy to help.
Elizabeth’s start in sound healing began with her own experiences as a client trying out other forms of complementary modalities, including acupuncture and sound therapy. Now as a practitioner, Elizabeth’s drive to further her knowledge of energy work has led to her comprehensive sound healing training, as well as becoming a Certified Master of Crystology and a Certified Shamanic Practitioner. She is constantly looking for new opportunities to refine her knowledge for the benefit of her clients; most recently, she attended a workshop on the healing effects of sacred Tibetan sound bowls.
While the ability to help others with her skills and knowledge is a joy in and of itself, it’s been immensely beneficial for her personally, too. Elizabeth also studies tai chi, a Chinese martial art that has many health and spiritual benefits. She says that tai chi has been hugely useful to her personally and professionally, in part because it has taught her the importance of the old adage, “Healer, heal thy self.”
“You can’t properly address something until you’ve addressed it in yourself,” says Elizabeth. “Energy work like this pushes you up against your own imbalances, and you have to face up to them.”
This personal balance is important to Elizabeth and her work, because she believes that well-being on the part of the practitioner helps them to better assist their client. “It’s about being aware and feeling what’s going on,” she says.
“It helps create a better understanding of clients and what they need.” The feeling of self-knowledge, confidence, and awareness is so important for both the practitioner and the client, she says, and is part of the beauty of energy work like sound healing.
“Part of healing work is to allow these things to come through to help someone,” says Elizabeth, and she hopes that many more will find the self-knowledge and value that can be found through sound healing.
About Colleen Quinn
Colleen Quinn graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism and Mass Communication. A writer for most of her life, she has been writing for Whisperingtree.net for over two years. In that time, she’s had the opportunity to meet with many practitioners and masters of the healing arts. Using her years of customer service experience and time as an intern reporter, Colleen provides a unique means of expression for each practitioner she meets. She believes that honest interest and open ears are paramount for learning and understanding the world around us. Through her writing, Colleen offers readers a valuable insight into the work of those who are doing so much to help others.
All material contained on the site is protected by trademark and copyright laws and may be utilized for personal, noncommercial purposes only. The reproduction, duplication, distribution, publication, modification, copying, or transmission of material from the site is prohibited unless you have obtained the prior written consent of Whisperingtree.net LLC, or unless expressly permitted by the site. The use of materials from the site on any other website or networked computer environment is similarly prohibited.