by John Beaulieu, N.D. Ph.D.
The purpose of this commentary is to
inspire you to take the time to actually read this book - to devote
the necessary attention to develop an understanding and respect for
Dr. Hans Jennyís profound scientific perspective. This takes some
deliberate and focused concentration, but in even flipping through
these pages you will quickly see that the experiments portrayed
herein, as well as Dr. Jennyís depth and breadth of understanding,
more than merit the effort!
I also wish to acknowledge the enormous contribution which Dr. Jenny
has made to the emerging fields of "Sound Healing" and "Energy
Medicine." Although he was a medical doctor, it was never his
intention that this work be applied therapeutically. Rather, he
wished to demonstrate the primacy of vibration and its ever-present
effects throughout the entirety of nature. Through his painstaking
experimentation and acute observation, he was able to articulate a
conceptual basis which may very well prove fundamental throughout
the broad reach of scientific endeavor.
I first became aware of Dr. Jennyís work in 1974 when I was working
at Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital in New York City as Supervisor of
Music Therapy. A fellow therapist placed a copy of Cymatics, Vol. I
on my desk. I remember the joy of looking at the cymatic sound
patterns, and the wonderful sense of "Yes!" that rippled through my
being. Each picture was worth at least a thousand words and I felt
as though I were reading volumes in just a few minutes.
As I read the Cymatics book, I realized that Dr. Jenny was a
dedicated systems researcher and I found his writing just as
exciting as the cymatic images! My graduate studies and work at
Bellevue Hospital were based on applied systems theory. I also
studied mathematical music composition with Innas Xenakis and a
systems approach to therapeutic program planning. I will say more
about Dr. Jennyís systems approach later.
Having shared and taught Cymatics for over twenty five years I know
that many who are attracted to Dr. Jennyís work are artistic and
"right brain" by nature. They are immediately inspired by the beauty
of his cymatic pictures and can sense instantly what they mean.
Using their imaginative capacities, they are able to extrapolate
broad implications to his research.
Yet Dr. Jennyís writings are pure "left brain" science. He sets
forth a thorough phenomenological study of vibration befitting an
accomplished physicist and systems researcher. From a scientific
perspective Dr. Jennyís written words form a beautiful mosaic which
is just as profound as his cymatic pictures. His cymatic writings
are embedded in rigor and clarity and supported by exacting
methodology and procedure. He is constantly seeking to observe the
integrity of the whole, and to document its behavior through
I remember when I first showed Dr. Jennyís work to a group of New
York composers and musicians. I started by explaining how the
pictures were made, in about two minutes, which was their right
brain theory time limit before they became restless. Next, we viewed
slides of cymatic photographs. Everyone said words like "wow", "far
out", "yeah", "ummm". After the presentation I asked for questions.
Everyone just sat there in what I took to be an appreciative
silence. No one had any questions, and then they went home.
This was my first "Music and Sound in the Healing Arts" class and I
didnít know what to think, so I just went along with the energy. To
my surprise I came home to an answering machine filled with
questions. I continued to get questions for the rest of the week,
and to this day I occasionally get questions about Dr. Jennyís work
from students of that very class! Sooner or later the other side of
our brain says "what about me?" and wants to know. So twenty-five
years of hearing "wows" followed by "hows" has inspired me to write
It is my intention to attempt to communicate the essence of Dr.
Jennyís work based on years of "right brain" studentsí questions. I
am not seeking scientific precision. If you are scientific by nature
and want science, I suggest that you dive right into Dr. Jennyís
research. My goal is to help artists and creative people not versed
in science and systems theory to come to a better understanding of
this material. Through this understanding, it is my hope that they
will have an even greater and more balanced appreciation of what Dr.
Jenny has given us.
Jennyís Cymatic Experiments
Dr. Jenny performed many of his experiments by putting substances
such as sand, fluids, and powders on a metal plate. The plate was
attached to an oscillator and the oscillator was controlled by a
frequency generator capable of producing a broad range of
vibrations. Through turning a dial on the frequency generator Dr.
Jenny would cause the plate to vibrate at
Let me explain. Oscillators are devices
which produce vibrations. They are often called "vibrators" in the
popular market place. A massage device is a simple oscillator.
Imagine any popular electric massage device or go to most any
department store and ask to see their massagers. Turn it on and it
will vibrate or oscillate. Next place the massager on a bone. Feel
how the vibrations are amplified over your body. Touching the
massager to your bone is like Dr. Jenny attaching his oscillator to
a metal plate. The plate, like your bones, amplifies the vibrations
of the oscillator.
A simple massage device creates only one vibration which can be
heard as a hum. The hum you hear with your ears and vibration you
feel from the massager are the same. In contrast to a massage device
which is capable of only one vibration/sound, Dr. Jennyís oscillator
hooked to a frequency generator was capable of thousands of
Dr. Jenny could turn a dial and instantly change the vibrations
moving through the plate. He could observe the effect of different
vibrations on different substances. When Dr. Jenny watched the sand
or other substances on the metal plate organize into different
patterns, he could also hear the sound produced by the oscillator.
If he were to lightly touch the plate he would feel the vibration in
Dr. Jenny observed three fundamental principles at work in the
vibratory field on the plate. He wrote,
"Since the various aspects of these
phenomena are due to vibration, we are confronted with a
spectrum which reveals a patterned, figurative formation at one
pole and kinetic-dynamic processes at the other, the whole being
generated and sustained by its essential periodicity."
What Dr. Jenny is saying is that one can
hear the sound as a wave; he calls this the pole of kinetic-dynamic
process. One can see the pattern the sound creates in the plate; he
calls this the pole of "patterned-figurative formation". And if Dr.
Jenny were to touch the plate and feel itís vibration, he would call
this the generating pole of "essential periodicity".
[Editorís Note: Although the example given here involves three of
our senses, Dr. Jenny stated that his objective was to make these
effects visible, since our sense of sight is the most
discriminating. He was emphatic that this "triadic nature" of
vibration referenced above, comprised three essential aspects, or
three ways of viewing, a unitary phenomenon.]
Jennyís Scientific Approach
Systems Theory unites science and art in a quest for holistic
vision. It is a discipline where objectivity and intuition meet, for
one can not see the whole without this kind of vision. Dr. Jenny
always sought to observe the whole and to understand the behavior of
parts in relationship to the whole. He says,
"What is the status of the parts,
the details, the single pieces, the fragments? In the
vibrational field it can be shown that every part is, in the
true sense, implicated in the whole."
A basic systems law is that the whole is
greater then the sum total of its parts. A common metaphor used to
illustrate this systems law is that of a team of scientists studying
an elephant. The problem is that the scientists have no idea they
are working on an elephant. One scientist is measuring the behavior
of the foot, another scientist is measuring the velocity in which
the tail wags, and another is observing the chemical composition of
one toenail, etc. These views are fragmented. Each is one publishing
separate papers in prestigious scientific journals in different
disciplines, yet they have no idea that their work is remotely
One day a scientist comes along and accidentally "sees" the whole.
She calls the whole an "elephant". She sees the relationship of the
parts to the whole and how they move together. Everyone thinks she
is crazy and the specialists begin to fight over her idea of an
"elephant". More and more people begin to see "the elephant" until
one day "there is an elephant" and many isolated areas of research
are explained in a larger context.
Throughout his writings Dr. Jenny is always requesting that we focus
on the whole and not get distracted by the behavior of the parts.
"The three fields, the periodic as
the fundamental field with the two poles of figure and dynamic,
invariably appear as one. They are inconceivable without each
other. It is quite out of the question to take away the one or
the other; nothing can be abstracted without the whole ceasing
to exist. We cannot therefore number them one, two, three, but
can only say they are threefold in appearance and yet unitary;
that they appear as one and yet are threefold."
and "Vibrational Medicine"
Cymatics research is a "sound" example of the principles underlying
vibrational medicine. If you were to be present during a cymatics
experiment you would hear a sound and simultaneously see a pattern
forming in a substance which had been placed on a vibrating membrane
or perhaps a steel plate. What started out as an inert "blob" of
sand or water, without movement, form, or pulse, would instantly
transform into an animated, pulsating form as soon as the plate or
membrane was excited by vibration. All this would be generated by
the vibrational field created by the oscillator.
Now let us assume that for some reason you could only "see" the
static aspect of the form and therefore understood it to be solid.
The idea of the form being generated by a vibrational field and
making a sound would seem preposterous. Now letís imagine that
someone unknowingly brushes the sand on the plate and the shape is
disturbed, but then in a matter of a few seconds it returns to its
original shape. How would you explain it?
The above example illustrates the basic differences between
conventional, materialistic medicine and energetic healing. Let me
explain. "Energy medicine" seeks to understand people as unified
energy fields or in Dr. Jennyís words, "as wholes". Metaphorically,
our physical body, emotions, and thought processes are like cymatic
forms which are organized by underlying vibrational fields, the
densest (the physical), being animated by the subtler vibrations
(emotions and thoughts).
In energy medicine, the underlying vibrational field is called an
The health practitioner seeks to
perceive, evaluate, and support the energy field rather than focus
on a specific symptom. The practitionerís goal is to use therapeutic
modalities such as music, sound, touch, homeopathics,
tuning forks, voice, and color, to effect and change the energy
field. As the person shifts into resonance with a more coherent
field, their array of symptoms may disappear as a more harmonious
The idea of energy fields is both new and ancient. Physicists have
sought to explain the strange behavior of quantum particles through
the existence of a unified field.
"We may therefore regard matter as
being constituted by the regions of Space in which the field is
extremely intense.... There is no place in this new kind of
physics both for the field and matter, for the field is the only
Dr. Jenny used phenomenology and
theory as research vehicles to observe the effects of whole vibrational fields. He wanted students of Cymatics to understand
that the phenomena witnessed on the vibrating surface were always
the product of a larger field, and that any change in the frequency
of the vibrational field would immediately alter the phenomena being
In the latter chapters of Cymatics, Vol. II, Dr. Jenny sought to
illustrate a connection between cymatic vibrational fields and the
behaviors of biological, weather, and social systems. I believe that
Dr. Jenny was not saying that Cymatics was the cause ≠≠ rather he
"look at the whole and you will come
to new understandings. Let these cymatic experiments inspire
your imagination to deeper insights into the universal
principles of Nature."
The current environment within the
healing arts is one of specialization and compartmentalization. In
contrast, energy medicine takes a more generalized approach to
healing, based on the understanding of energy fields. When the
energy medicine practitioner evaluates the energy field, he/she can
recommend "vibrational therapies" such as music, sounds, movements,
colors, etc., to support a shift in the field. The result will be a
new energetic field in which the old symptoms can no longer exist.
This is a "transformation" as opposed to "fixing a part." The old
energy field will still be available, yet we will now have developed
the ability to shift into a new field. Ultimately we learn that we
have the freedom to create and choose different fields. Ideally we
would find ourselves on a continuum of fields, always observing and
entering into a greater whole, a greater experience of wholeness!
As I mentioned before, a fundamental tenet of systems theory is that
"the whole is greater then the sum total of its parts." Observation
of the "whole picture" is a discipline to which Dr. Jenny dedicated
himself, as documented in Cymatics, Vols. I and II. We can learn
from his dedication. We can be inspired to see ourselves as "wholes"
with the capability to shift into different vibrational fields at
any time. Cymatics, from its widest purview, ultimately teaches us
that we are limitless beings with immense creative and healing
powers. Dr. Jenny exhibited this in his own life - may you be so
moved to experience this yourself, as you explore the vast
implications of his work.