Vibroacoustic Harp Therapy - Bodymind Alignment Through Vibration

Ian HepburnIan Hepburn

Holds Associate diplomas from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Piano Performance and Piano Pedagogy. Hepburn has taught piano and harp for more than 40 years. In addition to private teaching, Hepburn has presented ‘Healing Harps’ workshops at Algonquin College in Ottawa.

In 2005, Ian was introduced to Sarajane Williams and Vibroacoustic Harp Therapy (VAHT). Seeing the great benefits of VAHT, he began studies with Ms. Williams. Upon completing studies in 2006, Ian became a certified VAHT practitioner. Profoundly impressed by the potential of VAHT, Ian introduced this therapy to Hawkesbury & District General Hospital. The medical staff and administration enthusiastically endorsed VAHT and began the process of establishing protocol for the use of VAHT in the hospital. In 2007, Hawkesbury General became the first hospital in North America to offer VAHT to its patients.

In 2008, Ian conducted an investigation into the effects of VAHT on Fibromyalgia – with positive and encouraging results. The results of this work have been reported and published in the Harp Therapy Journal.

A New Direction:

In 2012, Hepburn and a partner began a 2-year pilot project funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF). The project, Healing Harp & Restorative Drumming, focused on children with learning and behavioural difficulties.  The outcomes proved successful and, with support from the school and community, the project continued beyond the completion of the OTF project.

The harp component of the project combines basic harp-playing (often tuned to the pentatonic scale) with VAHT. One of the challenges that arose early in the project was the need to develop an approach that would be effective for children who are non-verbal.  Inspired by the writings of Fabien Maman (“The Tao of Sound: Acoustic Sound Healing for the 21st Century”, published by Tama-Do, 1997), Hepburn eventually developed a protocol which has produced positive outcomes.

Based on his Zen practice of more than a decade, Hepburn has recently begun to include Mindfulness practice along with playing and Vibroacoustic Harp Therapy. This is being done in elementary and high schools in Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec. The results have been deeply rewarding.

Ian’s work in Vibroacoustic Harp Therapy has received a full-page article in the Ottawa Citizen (Science & Medicine: “Good Vibrations”), been the subject of a 22-minute documentary – broadcast nationally on CBC Radio (Sunday Morning: “Straight from the Harp”), and has been presented on the CJOH TV (CTV) programme “Regional Contact”. Please see the Media page.