‘Cymatics’ is the science of visualizing audio frequencies.
Cymatics, the study of wave phenomena and vibration, is a scientific methodology that demonstrates the vibratory nature of matter and the transformational nature of sound. It is sound science, and amazingly cool.
The generic term for this field of science is the study of modal phenomena, retitled Cymatics by Hans Jenny, a Swiss medical doctor and a pioneer in this field. The word Cymatics derives from the Greek ‘kyma’ meaning ‘billow’ or ‘wave,’ to describe the periodic effects that sound and vibration have on matter.
Typically the surface of a plate, diaphragm, or membrane is vibrated, and regions of maximum and minimum displacement are made visible in a thin coating of particles, paste, or liquid. Different patterns emerge in the excitatory medium depending on the geometry of the plate and the driving frequency.
The provenance of Cymatics can be traced back at least 1000 years to African tribes who used the taut skin of drums sprinkled with small grains to divine future events. 3 The drum is one of oldest known musical instruments and the effects of sand on a vibrating drumhead have probably been known for millennia.
Leonardo Da Vinci (b 1452 d 1519) noticed that vibrating a wooden table on which dust lay created various shapes.
‘I say then that when a table is struck in different places the dust that is upon it is reduced to various shapes of mounds and tiny hillocks. The dust descends from the hypotenuse of these hillocks, enters beneath their base and raises itself again around the axis of the point of the hillock.’
Galileo Galilei (b 1564 d 1642) described scraping a brass plate with a chisel and noticed a ‘long row of fine streaks, parallel and equidistant from one another,’ 6 presumably caused by the brass filings dancing on the surface of the plate and finding safe haven in a series of parallel nodal striations.
Robert Hooke (b 1635 d 1703) was an English scientist of Oxford University who made contributions to many scientific fields including mathematics, optics, mechanics and astronomy. Hook devised a simple apparatus in 1680 consisting of a glass plate covered with flour that he ‘played’ with a violin bow. It is not known whether Hooke had access to the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci or Galileo Galilei or if he devised the apparatus independently.
Ernst Chladni (1756-1827) German musician and scientist, sometimes known as ‘the father of acoustics,’ almost certainly had access to Hooke’s work but it is Chladni who history has chosen to acknowledge for his major study of this class of phenomena.
Musician and physicist Ernst Chladni laid the foundation for the discipline in physics that came to be called “acoustics” — the science of sound. His fundamental theories, published in his “Discovery of the Theory of Pitch,” have pioneered the basic elements of acoustics, including vibration and pitch.
In 1786, he Chladni was able to identify the quantitative relationships governing the transmission of sound, using mathematical analysis to interpret his findings. As the first person to mathematically quantify the relationships governing sound transmission, he came to be known as the Father of Acoustics.
Chladni’s experiments consisted of using geometrically shaped, thin glass or metal plates covered with fine sand sprinkled uniformly over the surfaces. He utilized a violin bow to strum along the edge of these plates. The resulting sand patterns illustrated the effects of the vibrations of the violin frequencies. The sand, under the influence of the vibrations of these sound frequencies, moved from the antinodes, collecting symmetrically in nodal lines, forming intricate patterns.
Chladni proved that the pressure derived from sound waves affects physical matter. His documentation was so detailed that, following his methods, the effects of his experiments are reproducible even today. His diagrams depicting the sound patterns derived from these experiments have come to be called Chladni Figures.
Chladni also studied the pitch of sound by measuring the changes in frequency that occur in a gas-filled cylinder. Using an organ pipe filled with gas, he was able to show that the pitch of sound is dependent upon the molecular structure of the gas through which it propagates.
Michael Faraday (b 1791 d 1867) the English chemist and physicist, studied what he termed ‘crispations’ between February and July 1831. His diary records many experiments in which he studied the effects of vibration on water, oil and fine grains. Faraday was fascinated by these phenomena and always sensible of good demonstrations to his audiences at the Royal Institution.
Lord Rayleigh, John William Strutt, 3rd Baron Rayleigh, (b 1842 d 1919) was an English physicist and second Cavendish Professor of Physics at Cambridge University following James Clerk Maxwell. Rayleigh earned the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1904, along with William Ramsay, for the discovery of the element argon. He also discovered surface waves in seismology, now known as Rayleigh waves.
Swiss medical doctor and Anthroposophist, Hans Jenny took a methodological and exhaustive approach to documenting Cymatic phenomena. He coined the term “Cymatics” in his 1967 book, Kymatik (translated Cymatics) Inspired by systems theory and the work of Ernst Chladni, Jenny delved deeply into the many types of periodic phenomena but especially the visual display of sound. He pioneered the use of laboratory grown piezoelectric crystals, which were quite costly at that time. Hooking them up to amplifiers and frequency generators, the crystals functioned as transducers, converting the frequencies into vibrations that were strong enough to set the steel plates into resonance. He made the resultant nodal fields visible by spreading a fine powder lycopodium spore of a club moss, as well as many other methods and materials. He documented much of his work in still photos which were compiled into two volumes published in 1967 and 1972, and republished in 2001 as a single hardcover edition (see above reference). He also documented his experiments in 16mm films which have since been re-released on a DVD entitled Cymatic SoundScapes: Bringing Matter to Life with Sound.
Cymatic therapy or “cymatherapy”, is a scientifically unsupported alternative medicine technique using acoustic waves which was developed in the 1960s by Sir Peter Guy Manners.
Cymatic Therapy (Cymatherapy) is based on the study of the structure and dynamics of waves and vibrations. These bioresonance frequencies when applied to the human body or animal help to create harmony within the body & mind.
Cymatic Therapy was developed by Sir Dr. Peter Guy Manners after many years of research into harmonic frequencies. The Brenforten Hall Clinic in England was were Dr. Manners worked and developed a series of Cymatic Instruments before creating the Mark 6 (MK 6).
(Note: MK6 Cyma Plus Bioresonance Instrument can also be used for water treatments when using the aqua applicator. When used in baths or pools the harmonic frequencies are passed through water into the body.
The MK6 Cyma Plus Bioresonance Instrument can be used with Bach Flower Remedies and has specific Bach Flower Remedy programs. It can also be used with the Bioresonance energiser applicator which transforms homeopathic tinctures & other liquid solutions with Cymatic harmonic frequencies.)
Sir Dr. Peter Guy Manners sadly passed away in August 2009 after retiring to his new home in Broadway near Evesham. Since then, other people have continued to develop new tools based on his research.
Sir Dr. Peter Guy Manners stated that “Cymatic therapy is not applied through auditory channels, but directly through the skin. Cymatic therapy uses sound waves within the audible range to stimulate natural regulatory and immunological systems, and to produce a near-optimum metabolic state for a particular cell or organ”.
Cymatic therapy is based on the notion that human cells, organs, and tissues each have a natural resonant frequency which changes when perturbed by illness. Cymatic therapists apply different audible frequencies and combinations of sound waves which they claim entrain malfunctioning components back to their healthy vibratory state and promote natural healing. The American Cancer Society states: “Available scientific evidence does not support this claim. … Relying on this type of treatment alone, and avoiding or delaying conventional medical care for cancer, may have serious health consequences.”
Cymatic therapy is operationally, historically, and philosophically distinct from the many medical uses of ultrasound and from the more mainstream practice of music therapy.
Sound Supports Natural Healing
Scientists now know that the human body is a dynamic energy system and that the body itself as well as each of our cells, organs and tissues have their own vibratory nature. They have a natural, or resonant, frequency that can become upset or imbalanced.
Cymatherapy International has developed an instrument that delivers precise combinations of frequencies (or “commutations”) associated with healthy tissue and organ systems. When applied to the body, these sound waves help to normalize imbalances and synchronize the cell’s frequency back to its natural healthy state of vibrational resonance. Like other holistic techniques, Cymatherapy supports the body’s natural ability to heal itself.
Influences in Engineering
Inspired by periodic and symmetrical patterns at the air-liquid interface created by sound vibration, P. Chen and coworkers developed a method to engineer diverse structures from microscale materials using liquid-based templates. This liquid-based template can be dynamically reconfigured by tuning vibrational frequency and acceleration.