Photo: Adrian Flower
This is me, Alicia Ma Ri Atu Ma; the face behind Hush Hour. The second part of my name was given to me by Huna Flash ( AKA Mauta Taki), a Maori elder, in an initiation ceremony in 2022, and I am a fully certified and insured therapeutic sound practitioner.
Though 2023 is the 10th year since I began my exploration of therapeutic sound and its transformative potential, I’ve been a practising musician for over 30 years: a percussionist with a special interest in the music and culture of West Africa. The "Way of the Gong" may have taken me on a journey for over a decade, but the path to mastery never ends, and I continue to look for new ways to explore the art of sound.
I like to refer to myself as an ‘acoustic alchemist’, because I go after that which is hidden deep within a gong. The rich sensuality; the seductive quality of subtle harmonics blooming unexpectedly out of the metal, like sculpting with sound. A gong is not to be tamed by a human hand, but liberated; so that the full, shape-shifting, magnificent tonality of its expression is revealed, and its power channelled into every cell of your being.
The work I do now is a natural evolution for me; coming full circle from the moment I first discovered I had healing hands, aged about 19. Now, the same hands create a sanctuary of sound to soothe mind, body and spirit.
I first discovered the power of guided meditation in the early '90's, after a major hiccup in my personal life set me on the path of spiritual exploration.
I looked forward to those regular inner journeys as they helped me recover my equilibrium and resilience.
The techniques I learned then have become an important part of my work.
I create my unique guided journeys to maximise the power of the imagination, filling them with positive suggestions.
These one-off visualisations are a favourite of mine because the subconscious mind can't distinguish between imagination and reality, making inner visions a potent tool for self-change. Stimulating the mind's eye also helps to balance the left and right hemispheres of the brain, improving access to creativity and intuition.
Many times, the meditations are created spontaneously in the moment using nature-based imagery, energy work, and breathing techniques.
Listening online? Best to use headphones
The tools of my trade: tank drums, singing bowls, gong mallets and planet gongs
" Sound will be the future of medicine." Edgar Cayce
Amazing. Powerful. Relaxing. Rejuvenating. Trance-inducing. Healing. Soothing. Just some of the words people use to describe the effects of receiving a sound bath, derived from one of the world's most ancient modes of healing. In fact, sound has been used as a healing tool for thousands of years: and now, 21st Century humans from all walks of life are waking up to its transformative potential as a means of achieving lasting well-being.
The vibrations of sound coupled with meditation can help:
Alleviate symptoms of stress
Reduce symptoms of pain
Harmonise the systems of the body
Increase clarity, creativity, inspiration and intuition
Enhance spiritual development
Create a sense of calm and connectedness
Generate feelings of wellbeing
No guarantee of any cure can be made, because everyone functions differently and is at their own unique stage of life. The above list is a guide to potential beneficial outcomes.
My story - on video
Not long after I began my journey with therapeutic, healing sounds, Mark Westmoquette made this short film about how this fascinating work became my inspiration and my passion. It's now had over 33,000 views!