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ns_120We all strive to be of sound mind and body.  But Dr. Mary Boardman takes that to a new level, actually taking it literally.  Boardman is a sound therapist who uses tuning forks, Tibetan bowls, and audio-visual technology to give her patients a physical and spiritual 'tune up'.  Her practice is part of Nature's Song Retreat Center, and the new Sacred Sounds Mystery School, all of which revolves around the healing power of sound.

"It's the basic teachings of 'you are of sound body'," she says.  "How you can do whatever you want to do, and how to do it willingly when you want to do it.  I show them about their subtle energy body.  We not only take in food, but our body has to have the energy of the universe.  We're immersed in it."

Nature's Song is a retreat center that can be rented for business retreats, family events, weddings, and so on.  It is a beautifully calm, mostly wooded area with a center that has a large room, along with a bedroom that can also be rented or is used for sound and light therapy.  A table along one wall holds sets of tuning forks, plus Tibetan bowls that are used to create different tones.

She treats all kinds of people for insomnia, anxiety, depression, and natural developmental stages of life.  She is currently working with three surgeons, teachers, physical therapists, a lot of musicians, massage therapists, business owners, CEOs, Cornell professors.  She says that sound is particularly effective, sometimes curing something like insomnia after only one or two sessions.

"When you get that kind of chronic imbalance your body's going to suffer," Boardman says.  "I get people with gastro-intestinal upsets, or heart attack, or high blood pressure, and anxiety and depression.  Physical disease is never primarily physical.  It starts first in the spiritual, mental, and emotional realms.  If you don't do the work out there it comes in.  The gift of your body is to know where you're not doing your work.  It doesn't mean you don't take the aspirin or the Prilosec.  But that's to relieve the discomfort and it doesn't mean there aren't still other layers to take care of."


A typical session has a patient lying on a table while Boardman asks the tuning forks which of them will be of help.  She asks the patient to hold an intention while she plays the appropriate tones, sometimes placing bowls on their body, which creates a more direct connection to the sound vibration.  A big bowl plays a tone that seems to actually inhabit your head, which creates a kind of rush.  The point is to use specific sounds for specific spiritual or physical needs.

"I teach you about your subtle energy body, and how energy comes in through your chakra system.  I will show people your chakras, then train their body to the tuning forks and bowls," she says.  "Your body will actually choose what it needs.  Any frequencies you're missing or weak in, the tuning forks will respond.  I am all about self-empowerment.  When you come to me I will mentor you into whatever your need to do for you.  Here are the tools to put in your toolbox.  I'll teach you how to use them.  Now go use them."

The death of a man Boardman was in love with started her on the road to sound therapy.  One night in 1992 while caring for her mother out of town she had a feeling that there was something wrong.  She called the security department at Cornell, and they found him semi-comatose.  Three days later he went into a coma that rendered him unresponsive to any stimulus. 

"Three days before he died the Holy Spirit said 'Buy a Walkman and play your favorite tapes to him.'  We loved music," she says.  "So I played our favorite tape, and I think it was five minutes later when he came out of the coma.  We talked of our love and our relationship.  Eventually he went back into the coma.  It was his death that propelled me on a very serious spiritual path."

The following year she planned to move to Scottsdale, Arizona.  One night she went for a ride with her daughter.  As they rode through Candor there was a sign advertising an open house and auction.  On the way back she saw the sign again, and feeling the Holy Spirit calling her, they found the current site of Nature's Song.

Boardman says she heard a clear voice that told her, "This is your life.  This is your mission.  This is where you're going to be."  It turned out she was the only bidder when the property actually went to auction.  She made arrangements with the owner, and the next thing she knew she owned 34 acres of forested land with a pond.  That happened in June.  By September the retreat center was built and she was ready to open her doors.

She started Hands On Healing about five years ago, adding the tuning fork and bowls sound therapy two and a half years ago.  After witnessing the results of the therapy she decided that it was something other practitioners should know about.  That prompted her to start Sacred Sounds Mystery School.  She teaches some seminars, and invites other presenters, who may bring their own audience, or offer seminars to the public.  She says these workshops will be woven into a coherent curriculum.  Currently the workshops are offered for a weekend, though she hopes to expand them to be week-long.

ns_boardman400Dr. Mary Boardman

Boardman was born in Durham, North Carolina, and raised in Mononglhla, Pennsylvania in the mining region.  She was raised in the Methodist Church, and says she has always been a person of deep faith.  Her parents lived lives of service, and loved music, and she followed their example.  She moved to Ithaca in 1971 from Corning, New York.  She opened a private marriage and family practice in 1988.  Previous to that she had worked in the medical technology field, working at Cayuga Medical Center supervising the hematology, serology, coagulation, and urinalysis departments. 

While visiting her brother he invited her to a meeting of a parapsychology club where the speaker was from the Monroe Institute, which she says is the premier sound institute in the United States.  She says her questions about her love's coma and the effects of sound on him were answered.  That led to her attending the institute, where she learned to use music and sound therapeutically.

Boardman earned a Master of Arts Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Syracuse University and a Doctor of Ministry Degree from Wisdom University in San Francisco. Her practice specializes in Transpersonal Psychology, Marriage and Family Therapy, Interfaith Spiritual Direction, and LifeForce Energy and Sound Healing.  That last is a primary focus of her work today.

"I can take people further, faster with sound," she says.  "Talk therapy has its place, but sound will get around all the belief systems and blocks and release them.  We're bombarded by this electromagnetic energy all the time.  The ancients called it the music of the spheres."

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