HUMAN STRESS PROVOKED BY DIGITALIZED RECORDINGS:
INTRODUCING LIFE ENERGY PLUS™
(First published 1980, modified and with
a postscript, 2003)
Music is one of the great therapies.
Throughout recorded history in all parts of the world, music has been used
as therapy. In fact, of all factors that have been investigated, probably
none enhances the Life Energy and reduces stress more effectively than
Perhaps the most obvious example of this is the fact that at the age of
seventy, when some 50% of American males are already dead, some 80% of
musical conductors are still alive, healthy, and productive. The
tremendous therapeutic power of music has always been recognized, and it
has been the subject of many discourses, from the time of Pythagoras to
Moses Maimonides and beyond.
To me, as to Pythagoras, music is not mere entertainment or amusement
(the absence of the muse), but therapy. It is one of the most potent
modalities that exists for actuating what the Greeks called thymos,
what Hippocrates called the vis medicatrix
naturae, the healing power that exists within us all: Life
There are still many cultures in which
there has been no divorce between music and healing. For example, in many
so-called primitive societies, the healing shaman is nearly always a
musician, and music and incantation are as important as all the other
aspects of his profession. The only remnant we see of this in our society
is the use of music in religious ceremonies, a custom which dates back to
a time before the separation in our society of medicine and religion. And
thus throughout the centuries and today, over and above the usual
satisfaction or the more physical enjoyment we may derive from music,
there is another quality, and it is this other quality, this Life Energy
enhancing quality to which I have devoted a major part of my research over
I have tested many thousands of
phonograph recordings recorded over a period of over eighty years, and it
has been found that almost without exception this music has been
often highly so. In fact, it has been used for stress reduction,
relaxation, general tonification, analgesia, as part of modified
acupuncture techniques, and as adjunctive therapy in drug withdrawal
programs. Music has also been used in
programs to overcome fears and phobias, alleviate insomnia, and even for
the "tranquilization" of acutely disturbed psychotic patients.
In 1979 this changed. I
suddenly found that I was not achieving the same therapeutic results as
before, that playing records of the same compositions to the same patients
was producing a completely contrary effect! Instead of their stress being
reduced and their Life Energy being actuated, the opposite was occurring.
Music examples that I had long used to promote
sleep now seemed to be actually aggravating the insomnia.
And I found in one case that instead of
the music helping a patient withdraw from tranquilizers, it seemed
to increase his need for them. Special tapes for businessmen to use during
their rest periods seemed suddenly to increase rather than reduce their
stress. These findings were very alarming.
investigated these paradoxical phenomena, I found that in all cases they
were related to the use of digital recordings. These were vinyl records
made from digital masters.
When I substituted analog versions of the same work, sometimes even with
the same performers, the positive therapeutic effects were again obtained.
There seemed to me little doubt that something was "wrong" with the
digital process. Apparently the digital recording technique not only did
not enhance Life Energy and reduce stress, but it was actually
that is, it imposed a stress and reduced Life Energy. Through some
mechanism of which I am not aware the digital process was somehow
reversing the therapeutic effects of the music!
In a number of
instances I had analog and digital performances that we could easily
compare. One was of Zubin Mehta conducting Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto.
The digital performance (on London) had a stress-inducing effect
whereas the old analog performance (on Vox) did not. Also the early LP
transfers of Caruso and McCormack were Life Energy enhancing whereas the
Soundstreamed digital versions had the opposite effect. Yet these were
records of the same performance. The only difference was the
digitalization process. And this was apparent even though the original
recordings had been made nearly seventy years ago. Other examples were the
Japanese Denon PCM recordings of various Czech performers whose earlier
versions were on the Supraphon label. They were the same performers and
the same works. The only difference appeared to be the digital process.
As a part of my
work and as one of my research tools, I employ muscle testing, in a
modification of the standard Applied Kinesiology testing. It is modified
as I first presented to an ICAK conference in 1977. See the description of
my study with Dr. Florence Kendall in my Kinesiology Report Number 10,
December, 1977. At the request of Dr. Goodheart, I demonstrated this again
at the ICAK conference in Monte Carlo in 1995.
If you play a digital recording, it will be
found that the muscle that was previously testing strong and could easily
resist the pressure, will be unable to do so
that the digital effect has so stressed the subject that he cannot resist.
Something has happened. Some stress has been introduced which is now
manifest in this negative response. Perhaps even more striking are the
differences in stress effects found upon testing a recording session in
which digital and analog recordings were made simultaneously.
Similar effects are also apparent with the human speaking voice using this
newer digital recording process.
This effect obviously is not due to the
performer nor to the composer, since other recordings, analog, of the same
performer and the same composer do not have this effect. In fact, they are
that is, they reduce stress and enhance Life Energy on testing. There is a
yet-to-be-identified factor involved in the digital technique which is
causing this stress. At some level the ear is perceiving a signal which it
recognizes as being unnatural and alarming. This instantaneously causes a
stress reaction which is manifest in the loss of muscle response on test.
and engineers state that they have noticed that they can discern something
vaguely "wrong" with the digital recording process but cannot quite
pinpoint the problem. Using the test, it can easily be shown that, using
the same playback system, the difference between analog and digital
recording does exist. While we certainly enjoy the benefits of this major
technological breakthrough, there are subtle physiological effects still
to be considered.
It is important
to emphasize that this is not a test of muscle strength. It is a test of
the integrity of the acupuncture system. Through it flows the
electromagnetic energy of the body. A heavy, powerful testing is a test of
muscle strength, not of Life Energy, and it is, in essence, a different
test. When I demonstrated my findings at the Audio Engineering Society
conference in Los Angeles in May 1980, I was accused of pushing too hard
when the subjects were failing when the digital records were being played.
In point of fact, pushing "too hard" if anything will fail to demonstrate
the effect. It is not, I repeat NOT, a test of muscle strength. Hence the
testing requires considerable expertise. It is not for casual and
amateurish usage. It is a professional discipline.
This test has been performed both by myself
and others under double blind test situations on many occasions, and the
results always tend to be about the same, with many provisos. In
particular, I wish to emphasize that for accurate testing there are many
variables that must be controlled, many more than I can elaborate upon in
this short presentation. Furthermore, as I have previously stated, for
accurate interpretation I test not just at the one superficial level of
testing that I have described above, but in at least twelve deeper levels
as well. It is only when all the variables are accurately controlled
and testing is carried out at all levels and parameters that the findings
I am more aware than any pro-digital
advocate of the shortcomings of the test. And I would like nothing more
than to be able to read a meter instead. However, although many
electronics experts have tried to help me to design such an instrument,
they have never been successful. They finally realize that perhaps the
body itself may be a better test device than any instrument that we can
make. Will we ever measure the difference between violins, or poems?
I personally believe that the proper
research tool can be designed, but it will not ultimately be related to
any muscle test. It will involve measuring the change in electromagnetic
activity in that part of the body where is situated what we may call the
acupuncture central processor, because it is the electromagnetic
disturbance there which is manifested as a weakening of the test muscle.
And it is there, centrally, that the stressful effect of the digital
recordings occurs, being then reflected in a diminished acupuncture energy
flow to the specific meridian feeding the muscle being tested.
What if my
findings and those of my colleagues are correct? For many years now,
nearly all recordings of otherwise therapeutic music have been made using
the digital process. The implications of this, both for today and for our
future, are very disturbing. If the major therapeutic recording artists of
today are recorded for posterity using the present digital technique their
efforts will be valueless for us and valueless for future generations. No
more will we be able to call upon the therapeutic powers, the true healing
powers, of the musicians of our day as we have called upon the musicians
of the past. This will mark the end of the therapeutic era of recorded
music. The great technological advance of being able to bring the greatest
performers into our homes for true entertainment, and much more
importantly, to raise our Life Energy, will have been destroyed.
When a man comes
home stressed after a day's work and puts on a record of a Schubert piano
sonata to help him re-energize, the opposite will occur. He will become
more stressed. And he will learn over a period of time that music does not
help him to relax as he had expected. Or a person who as part of his
religious pursuit plays a record of the Bach B Minor Mass will perhaps
recognize that he is further removed from his goal
that instead of serenity, instead of holiness, instead of a feeling of
life enhancement, the opposite has occurred. The music has become
untherapeutic, contrary to its true nature.
It is no longer Music!
We will then cease to regard music as being what it is: one of the great
therapies. Our recorded musical heritage will still satisfy the brain but
will do nothing for the rest of the listener. Our true recorded musical
heritage will be at an end.
I have frequently
been in the position where discoveries first made through "unscientific"
means have later been validated by what would be called the more usual
scientific methods, and I have no doubt that in the future it will be
recognized that the findings concerning digital recordings will be
validated. But by that time, it may be that many works of our great
artists will have been preserved in an unacceptable form.
By correcting the
digital technique, we may actually now be able to make recordings more
therapeutic than they have ever been before, more so than analog. By
discovering the central problem in existing digital recording techniques,
we may be in a position then to so improve them that we ultimately have
advanced the therapeutic benefit to mankind.
Finally, about two years ago, I was contacted by several of the major
recording and electronic companies who said that they never forgot my
address to the Audio Engineering Society in 1980. They said they knew then
that I was right with what I had presented about the negative effects of
the digital process, but unfortunately it was released anyhow. They asked
me to help in finding a solution to what they were now calling “digital
fatigue.” Over the years I have tried many methods but all without success
– until now.
Back then in
1980, I had only digitally recorded and/or mastered vinyl LPs to test. The
arrival of CDs a few years later increased the problem. As with LPs, but
more so, the stress leads after a certain time (different for each
individual) to a reversal of their usual ethical and medical standards
of belief. The effects of this profound change that I have now
investigated for some twenty years are I believe a very important
etiological factor in the increase in childhood and adolescent
disturbances, (witness the soaring rate of Ritalin prescribing), and in
the escalating violence in our society.
Especially when we recall that the digital process is no longer confined
to recorded music but is now affecting us nearly all day: TV, radio,
telephones etc. It is we who have become digitalized!
the advent of Direct Stream Digital (DSD) recording, it is now possible to
conclude that the negative effects I have stated above are due not to the
digital process per se but to the mode of achieving it, Pulse Code
Modulation (PCM). For DSD recordings do not have these negative effects.
Although it was suggested, unfortunately the record industry did not make
analog backups of their digital (PCM) sessions. So now there is a (very
expensive) twenty year hiatus. Hence some SACDs (the CD format for DSD)
are being released which have gone through the PCM process and are as
negative as regular CDs.
the years, music lovers are turning against PCM – they are feeling what I
first demonstrated nearly a quarter-century ago. And they are resisting –
proclaiming that it doesn’t sound like, feel like, analog. Cold, no heart.
That is to say, untherapeutic.
must remember that a generation has probably rarely heard non-PCM music –
for it is now so pervasive in concerts halls as “digital reinforcement” as
well.) Perhaps now there will be a change. We all know something is wrong
– and the solution is available.
write this not only as a music lover, and a believer in the therapeutic
power of music, but even more so as a doctor gravely concerned with the
increasing disturbance in our society, especially in the children. The
very essence of Music is the expression of peace, of comfort – of love.
And this PCM has destroyed, even reversed!
As a very experienced sound engineer and
producer lamented, "Music has lost its
Spirit." That’s it – exactly! And a
generation has grown up not knowing it any other way: not knowing the
higher dimension of music – the True Music.
And if their music has lost
its spiritual dimension – then so have they!
We have lost our
love of Music because we no longer feel loved by It. We must get it back –
and we can.
After many years
of research I have at last formulated a supplement combination called LIFE
ENERGY PLUS™ which appears to alleviate many of the effects of PCM – it
still doesn’t sound like music nor fully act like it, but this formulation
does overcome what in the recording industry is now called "digital
fatigue." It also demonstrably alleviates some of the negative EMF effects
of, for example, computers, TV, and mobile phones, all so much now a very
large part of our daily lives.
important of all is that it helps with deep problems of personal identity,
the overcoming of which is the basis for all Healing.
PLUS™ helps ameliorate the
PCM sound – e.g. CD’s, telephones,
– mobile phones, transmitters, TV, computers, fluorescent lights,
electronics, transformers, electrical generators.
percussive devices – including Impact
and Foredom machines, electronic sound generators, metronomes (mechanical
Problems – essential for all hands-on
of Personal Identity
lowers Life Energy – this is
accomplished by an overall increase in LIFE ENERGY
Salem, NY 10590
article to a friend
John Diamond, M.D., Your Body
Doesn't Lie, (New York: Warner Books, 1980).
See John Diamond, M.D., "The
Therapeutic Power of Music," in
Handbook of Complementary and Alternative Therapies in Mental Health,
ed. Scott Shannon (San Diego: Academy Press, 2001).