What Are Your Five Healing Music CD Picks…That Don’t Suck?

September 18, 2013

by Andrew Young (Writer at Sounds True)

Can you help me out here? I need more great “background” music for de-stressing and sparking my creativity.

The skinny: I review healing and meditation music CDs for Sounds True and other retailers and labels and have listened to well over two hundred over the years. Most of them are, uh…just okay. Some totally suck the pranic wind. Of course, you’ll find none of those at soundstrue.com (nudge nudge, wink wink).

I play this kind of music for relaxing, writing, and drawing, so I don’t like distracting melodies, in-your-face vocals, cheesy synthesizers, or stuff that I’ll get sick of after a few weeks of frequent play. Recommendations please!

In the meantime, here are five of my faves:

1. Sampradaya – Pandit Shivkumar Sharma (Real World Recordings). Great for when I’m feeling mentally sluggish or “stuck.” Not marketed as a healing music CD—but incredibly effective as one. The Indian hammer dulcimer (santoor) master plays here with his son Rahul and tabla wizard Shafaat Ahmed Khan. These are traditional ragas, but sound nothing like the familiar sitar/tambour offerings: uplifting, resonant layers of bell-like melodies and jaw-dropping overtones arise independently from the actual struck notes and float beyond the room. Joyful and mind-expanding, sparkly and fresh like cool sunlit rain.

2. Crystal Bowl Sound Healing – Tryshe Dhevney (Sounds True). This is my favorite CD to play when writing, drawing, or photoshopping piles of photos. 100% organic (no synths), beautifully recorded in a giant natural cave (seriously). Tryshe uses rare customized gemstone bowls perfectly tuned for expanding consciousness via the Om frequency and other well-tested resonances. It’s so good that when I first got the 8-minute sample track for writing the CD package copy, I set it on “repeat” and listened to it looped for hours. Tip: if you download this album, don’t “re-rip” the tracks to make them smaller. You’ll want the highest sound quality to fully experience the effect of the pure, subtle harmonics.

3. Aural Resonance Astral Harmony – Simeon Hein (Mount Baldy Press). Yes “astral harmony” sounds really new-agey, but this recording is not, and it is amazing. My massage therapist played this for me during a session years ago. It’s just a sustained, multi-layered perfect-fifth harmonic chord that goes for 70 minutes. Made with 100% synth, but works so well that I grant it full amnesty. This CD is my sure-fire last resort for insomnia and clearing writer’s block, BUT it is not for everybody: the effect is so intense that the first five times I used it, I would sometimes hear it resonating in my head for hours after turning it off.

4. Relax – David Ison (Sounds True). I play this album on my iPhone so often that if it were an old-fashioned LP, it would be worn out. What makes it so good? For one, David doesn’t use brainwave frequency entrainment—he builds his compositions using healing principles based on sacred geometries and proportional tonal relationships and rhythms from ancient Greece, Egypt, and his own intuition and rigorous experimentation. He also uses some very unique studio sound production tools to create tuned ambient spaces that have a clear and calming somatic effect. Even more relevant though is that the music on this album is simple yet incredibly beautiful. The first time I played it, it gave me the chills. The primary “voice” on this album is Ison’s guitar (a massive dreadnought Martin acoustic I think). David has been using this music program to help war veterans in the healing process with powerful results. For maximum effect, play this on a good stereo speaker system or with high-quality headphones.

5. Audio Serenity (iAwake Technologies). These folks are at the far event horizon of brainwave entrainment research. For example, they’ve addressed the problem of frequency habituation—your brain adapting to sound entrainment so that it no longer syncs to beneficial effect. Problem solved here (don’t ask me how, but it works). And they use a suite of other acoustic technologies to massage your brain, nadis, meridians, and positronic circuits (if you’re a Star Trek android). Sound-wise, this program does in fact use synth, but it’s very gentle. Get ready for an extremely quick and deep calming effect. My only caveat is that it’s pricier than a conventional music track (iAwake’s first-hand research takes time and resources). That said, I can tell you that this program is as effective as the awesome MindSpa [http://avstim.com] audio-visual entrainment device that we reviewed here at Sounds True a while back—at a fraction of the cost.

Okay your turn: please recommend some of your favorites so we can all have more relaxation and creativity music options!

Author Info for Sounds True Coming Soon

Also By Author

Six Summer Reads You Won’t Want to Miss!

After the stillness of winter and the slow waking of spring, summer is a time for getting up, getting out, and getting our hands on what inspires us the most. Here are some recent Sounds True releases for tapping into a life well lived.

1. The Biophilia Effect – Clemens G. Arvay 

Summer Super Sale - The Biophilia Effect

This is a book that celebrates our interconnection with nature and shows how to deeply engage the natural world wherever you live to dramatically improve your health. Clemens G. Arvay presents fascinating research, practical tools and activities,

inspiring stories, and more in this accessible guide to the remarkable benefits of being in nature.

Get it here: https://www.soundstrue.com/store/the-biophilia-effect.html





2. The Healing Code of Nature – Clemens G. Arvay

The Healing Code of Nature - Clemens G. Arvay

Human beings are inseparable from the natural world, coevolving with all of life. In order to thrive, we need to nourish this bond. In his latest book, biologist Clemens G. Arvay illuminates the miraculous ways that the human body interprets the living “code” of plants, animals, and our larger natural habitat for healing and sustenance.

Get it here: https://www.soundstrue.com/store/the-healing-code-of-nature.html






3. Book of Beasties – Sarah Seidelman

Summer Super Sale - Book of Beasties

From an ancient perspective, everything—including all natural things, like rocks, flowers, trees, insects, birds, and mammals

—is alive and infused with conscious energy or spirit,” writes Sarah Seidelmann. If you’re one of the many people looking to reconnect with the creativity, wisdom, and vital energy of the natural world, here is a fantastic guide for tapping into the power of animal totems, or “beasties.”

Get it here: https://www.soundstrue.com/store/book-of-beasties.html




4. No Recipe – Edward Espe Brown

Summer Super Sale - No RecipeMaking your love manifest, transforming your spirit, good heart, and able hands into food is a great undertaking,” writes renowned chef and Zen priest Edward Espe Brown, “one that will nourish you in the doing, in the offering, and in the eating.” With No Recipe: Cooking as Spiritual Practice, Brown beautifully blends expert cooking advice with thoughtful reflections on meaning, joy, and life itself.

Get it here: https://www.soundstrue.com/store/no-recipe.html





5. Yoga Friends – Mariam Gates & Rolf Gates 

Summer Super Sale - Yoga FriendsFrom the creators of Good Night Yoga and Good Morning Yoga comes a beautifully illustrated city adventure that introduces children to the delights and benefits of partner yoga.

Perfect for teaming up with a friend, sibling, parent, or caregiver, each easy practice shows how cooperation helps us to imagine, move, and have fun in a whole new way.

Includes a back-page guide for parents and caregivers, showing how to do each pose and how to connect them into an easy-to-follow flow.

Get it here: https://www.soundstrue.com/store/yoga-friends.html


6. Happier Now – Nataly Kogan

Summer Super Sale - Happier Now

What if you could be happier, right now, without radically changing your life? As nationally recognized happiness expert Nataly Kogan teaches, happiness is not a nice feeling or a frivolous extra. It’s a critical, non-negotiable ingredient for living a fulfilling, meaningful, and healthy life—and it’s a skill that we can all learn and improve through practice. In Happier Now, Nataly shares an illuminating, inspiring, and science-based guide to help you build your happier skills and live with more joy, starting now.

Get it here: https://www.soundstrue.com/store/happier-now.html






Have other books you’ve read by the poolside or under a shade tree ended up changing the way you see the world? Tell us about those summer reads that ended up being more than you expected!


Singing Bowl Meditation Sounds True Spotify Playlist

Sounds True is on Spotify!

Need some tunes for rest and relaxation? Check out our Singing Bowl Meditation Playlist! A variety of artists who make a soothing mix of infinite rhythms using Tibetan singing bowls. Perfect throughout a meditative practice.


November New Releases and Giveaway




The Integrity Advantage by Kelly Kosow

Are you ready to open up to new levels of self-trust and self-love, to get where you want to go?

You vowed to speak up at work, and then sat silent in the meeting yet again.

You told yourself “this time the diet is going to stick,” only to watch the scale inching up.

You felt that something just wasn’t right about someone that—until you learned the hard way that your instincts were right.

“Every time you bite your tongue,” teaches Kelley Kosow, “you swallow your integrity.”

Before Kelley Kosow was a renowned life coach and CEO, she constantly second-guessed herself, let her “to-do” lists and others steer her dreams and passions, and played it “small and safe.”

Inspired by the groundbreaking principles of her renowned mentor Debbie Ford, who hand-picked Kelley to be her successor, The Integrity Advantage is Kelley’s step-by-step guide for facing the fear, shame, and false beliefs that cause us to lose our way.

Through life-changing insights, true stories, and proven strategies, this book will show you how to live on your own terms—according to you—from the inside out.


Daring to Rest by Karen Brody

As modern women, we’re taught that we can do it all, have it all, and be it all. While this freedom is beautiful, it’s also exhausting. Being a “worn-out woman” is now so common that we think feeling tired all the time is normal. According to Karen Brody, feeling this exhausted is not normal—and it’s holding us back. In Daring to Rest, Brody comes to the rescue with a 40-day program to help you reclaim rest and access your most powerful, authentic self through yoga nidra, a meditative practice that guides you into one of the deepest states of relaxation imaginable.

It’s time to lie down and begin the journey to waking up





Breathe and Be by Anna Emilia Laitinen and Kate Coombs

Teaching mindfulness helps kids learn to stay calm, regulate their emotions, and appreciate the world around them. With Breathe and Be, author Kate Coombs and illustrator Anna Emilia Laitinen team up to present a book of poetry and art for young readers to make mindfulness easy, natural, and beautiful. Here is a book sure to delight parents and kids alike, blending lovingly illustrated nature imagery with elegant verse about living with awareness and inner peace.





Leopard Warrior by John Lockley

A Teaching Memoir That Crosses the Barriers Between Worlds

A shaman is one who has learned to move between two worlds: our physical reality and the realm of spirits. For John Lockley, shamanic training also meant learning to cross the immense divide of race and culture in South Africa.

As a medic drafted into the South African military in 1990, John Lockley had a powerful dream. “Even though I am a white man of Irish and English descent, I knew in my bones that I had received my calling to become a sangoma, a traditional South African shaman,” John writes. “I felt blessed by the ancient spirit of Africa, and I knew that I had started on a journey filled with magic and danger.” His path took him from the hills of South Korea, where he trained as a student under Zen Master Su Bong, to the rural African landscape of the Eastern Cape and the world of the sangoma mystic healers, where he found his teacher in the medicine woman called MaMngwev



Things That Join the Sea and the Sky by Mark Nepo

A Reader for Navigating the Depths of Our Lives

The Universe holds us and tosses us about, only to hold us again. With Things That Join the Sea and the Sky, Mark Nepo brings us a compelling treasury of short prose reflections to turn to when struggling to keep our heads above water, and to breathe into all of our sorrows and joys.

Inspired by his own journal writing across 15 years, this book shares with us some of Mark’s most personal work. Many passages arise from accounts of his own life events—moments of “sinking and being lifted”—and the insights they yielded. Through these passages, we’re encouraged to navigate our own currents of sea and sky, and to discover something fundamental yet elusive: How, simply, to be here.

To be enjoyed in many ways—individually, by topic, or as an unfolding sequence—Things That Join the Sea and the Sky presents 145 contemplations gathered into 17 themes, each intended to illuminate specific situations.



                NOVEMBER GIVEAWAY


WIN OUR NEW RELEASE BUNDLE:The Integrity Advantage, Daring to Rest, Breathe and Be, Leopard Warrior, and Things That Join the Sea and the Sky

TO ENTER: Simply reply in the comments with why you’d like to win!

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Transform your relationship with your kitchen—and yo...

Hello gorgeous community of amazing human beings,

For the last 15 years, I have been cooking up this question: 

What does it look like to nourish YOU? 


Let’s drop everything we might think this is 
and everything you didn’t get done today 

and bring our collective shoulders down from the sky. 

Let’s take a minute here. We are just getting started, yet I feel we need to slow down. Will you take a deep breath with me? Thank you for being here with me. Thank you for breathing. There is nothing to do here. 

You can bring your awareness to your breath with an inhale through your nose. Open your mouth slightly and exhale with a HAAAAAAAAA sound. It feels so good to drop everything and breathe. Me too. To let go, even a little, is a real lovefest for the heart and mind = heart mind. 

It feels so good, can we do one more? 
You can close your eyes this time if you want to—

I will be right here. 

We are just getting here, together.

Now let me ask you again: 
What does it look like to nourish YOU?

What if I told you that your kitchen is a place of stories, mothers, grandmothers, imprints, and emotional weather patterns that shaped how you live now? It is also a place to deeply nourish yourself and cook up the life you have been longing to live. 

Your kitchen (yes your kitchen!) is a fierce, unconditionally loving mother holding what is ripe and ready to become inside of YOU. Who would have thought that you can heal your life in your kitchen? I did! And now you can.  

I am excited to share my new book: The Kitchen Healer: The Journey to Becoming You.

It invites you to bring your entire body into the kitchen, put your shame into the fire, offer your grief to the soup—allowing all you have been hungry for to begin to feed YOU. As you turn on the fire, you will come home to yourself. You will make the room you need, to hear and see and feel the stories you have been carrying.  


You will begin, again and again, to become YOU. 
Welcome home. 

In loving service to your courage, your kitchen healer,
x x x x jules

Jules Blaine Davis, the Kitchen Healer, is a TED speaker and one of Goop’s leading experts on women’s healing. She has led transformational gatherings, retreats, and a private practice for over fifteen years. She has facilitated deeply nourishing experiences at OWN and on retreat with Oprah Winfrey, among many other miracles. Jules is a pioneer in her field, inviting women to awaken and rewrite the stories they have been carrying for far too long in their day-to-day lives. She is cooking up a movement to inspire and support women to discover who they are becoming.

Pain as the Path

The wounds, scars, and pain we carry as men have a place in our lives. A function that can lead us directly to the core of deep meaning and fulfillment and provide a positive path forward. This is what initiation was supposed to teach us as men—how to descend into the depths of our own darkness and return a more complete and contributive participant in society.

However, this is where a man’s real problem resides: He has not been taught the skill or alchemy of initiation. He has not learned how to deal with his pain, or the pain of the world, and so he bucks against it.

I realized over the years of grappling with how to heal that not only was I ill-equipped to deal with the hurt I’d been given, but I also seemed to be woefully ill-equipped to reconcile with, and put a halt to, the perpetual hurt I passed on to others. Like many men, I was good at inflicting pain—and men who are good at something tend to do that thing a lot.

Not only was I undereducated in the alchemical craft of turning pain into purpose, but almost every man I knew was in relatively the same situation. Most men simply haven’t been taught how to deal with their pain and use it to become something better.

And this aspect of the journey is the missing link in male initiation, which has historically played the role of guiding a man through the transitory period between adolescence and adulthood, teaching him the skills of discipline, sovereignty, and the ability to face some of the most challenging aspects of his own life.

In fact, I began to see that not only have most men not been given the tools or resources to deal with the pain and suffering in their lives, but we as men are actively taught the opposite—the idiotic tactic of constant emotional avoidance. Not only this, but our emotional avoidance is seen as a theoretical and rational strength in certain circles.

Seeing this brings about a multitude of questions that both illuminate the foundational cracks within current masculine culture and also highlight the work we must embark on if we are to do our individual and collective parts as men in building a thriving society.

There’s more: I began to see the direct correlation between a man’s ability and willingness to face his own darkness and having a clear purpose, deep fulfillment, and clarity of contribution to the things that matter most to him.

But how can we as men give our pain a purpose in a culture where we are largely devoid of emotional permissions? Where the archetype of man, in order to be classified or quantified as a man, must do the impossible task of being brave and courageous without being vulnerable?

This is one of the biggest masculine myths—the false idea that you can be courageous without being inherently vulnerable. When we are rewarded for giving our lives, our hearts, and our emotional bodies up for sacrifice to maintain the illusion of invulnerable strength, we prioritize victory over connection. We praise ourselves for performance in the boardroom, bedroom, and bars, but we lack recognition for our performance in reconciliation, repair, and reparation.

There’s another way. A way where victory is found within the work, and part of that work is facing our own darkness.

Excerpted from Men’s Work: A Practical Guide to Face Your Darkness, End Self-Sabotage, and Find Freedom by Connor Beaton.

CONNOR BEATON is the founder of ManTalks, an international organization dedicated to the personal growth of men. He is a facilitator dedicated to building better men, an entrepreneur, a writer, and a keynote speaker. Connor has spoken to large corporate brands, nonprofits, schools, and international organizations such as the United Nations, Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson, Apple, TED, and Entrepreneurs' Organization. For more, visit mantalks.com.

This Is Your Time to Be Healthy, Fit, and Fine

Sex, health, happiness, and wealth . . . you know you want it all. And there’s no better time than now for having it all and “gettin’ it good!

Without social networking, motorized vehicles, or modern-day technology, many of our ancestors went for what they wanted and got it. One trailblazing “I’ve got this” woman I revere is Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler. As the Civil War raged in 1864, 33-year-old Rebecca Lee became the first Black female physician in the US. She graduated from what is now Boston University School of Medicine. In 1865, with her husband, Arthur Crumpler, she courageously journeyed to Richmond, Virginia, to provide medical care to recently freed slaves that the White doctors would not touch.

Her life in Virginia wasn’t easy. While there, many pharmacists refused to honor her prescriptions, some hospitals denied her admitting privileges, and some—reportedly, even physician colleagues—wisecracked that the “MD” after her name stood not for medical doctor, but for “mule driver.” But Dr. Crumpler persevered!

She remained in Virginia for almost four years then returned to Boston in 1869, established her medical practice, and wrote a book about women’s and children’s health. She blazed a trail upon which many have and do tread.

Hers is just one story of a brave, determined, capable Black woman. Over the centuries, there have been more in numbers untold! In the 1900s, especially during the Civil Rights Movement, Black women were instrumental in the reckoning of a nation. While their husbands got the most notoriety, matriarchs such as Coretta Scott King, Juanita Abernathy, and Lillian Lewis stood along- side their men and played pivotal roles in moving the nation forward to live up to its creed.

And as the first decade of 2000 ended and a new one began, Black women became increasingly on the move, onward and upward, and are now doctors, accountants, judges, pilots, investment managers, nurses, and elected officials as well as wives, mothers, and caregiving daughters. Undoubtedly, many of today’s Black women are carving out lives about which our great-great- grandmothers may have only dared to dream.

Black women’s voices are no longer muted or silenced; instead, they are heard around the world, with sophisticated, strong, and successful style. In 2020, America elected its first Black female vice president, Kamala Harris, at whose 2021 inauguration the words of the first Youth Poet Laureate of the US, Amanda Gorman, rang forth for the world to hear. But there’s more!

In February 2021, Georgia Tech engineering major Breanna Ivey interned at NASA and helped put their rover, Perseverance, on Mars! And as the COVID-19 pandemic stole lives around the globe, vaccine researcher Kizzmekia Corbett, who has a PhD in microbiology and immunology that she earned at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, worked with the National Institutes of Health and was instrumental in bringing safe, effective vaccines to the world.

Indeed, Black Girl Magic is in full force! When we look around, seemingly there’s hardly any- thing Black women can’t do—and do well—in any field, including medicine, the military, politics, education, technology, business, sports, aeronautics, and the arts. What we put our minds to, we can achieve! With an “I’ve got this” approach and determination, it is ours to be had.

But life is not a bed of roses for all Black women. Too often (and still) negative images barrage our psyches, loved ones in our community lose their lives in gun violence, and our health often needs dramatic improvement. Black women still carry the highest incidence of, and the poorest prognosis for, medical conditions that affect practically every organ system in the body. We are more obese and have a shorter life expectancy than other women in the female demographic, and we carry the highest mortality rate for many killer diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, infant mortality, HIV/AIDS, and more.

Despite those findings, the plight of Black women’s health is rarely, if ever, specifically addressed at length in general women’s health books. For that reason I have stepped outside of my medical office, outside of the sacred space of the surgical suite, even outside of my city and state to offer women in America and abroad Black Women’s Wellness: Your “I’ve Got This!” Guide to Health, Sex, and Phenomenal Living. May it be the one-stop source you can reference on your personal quest to achieve total wellness, health, and happiness in every important aspect of your life. I offer this book as a Black female who grew up poor in a single-parent household. I never knew any of my grandparents, had an absentee father (who I later found when I was 49), a mother with some “issues,” no siblings, and many naysayers in my midst. But to achieve my goals to become a physician and a surgeon, I studied to show myself approved. It wasn’t easy, but I got it done.

Over the years, I’ve seen thousands of women of various ethnicities suffer with chronic diseases, some of which can be avoided, or at least, better controlled. I also know the remarkable and re- warding joy of practicing medicine and performing surgery to remove disease, help women with their infertility, or free them from cancer.

As a physician, my question to you is, Are you taking time to take care of your health? In fact, when did you last really think about—and take time for—your health in a comprehensive, serious, deliberate manner?

Jack Kornfield’s Buddha’s Little Instruction Book reminds us that “each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.” Kornfield also tells us, “If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.” Whatever your schedule, lifestyle, religious preference, or personal obligation to others, the reality is you won’t be able to do anybody any good if you’re in poor or failing health. As said in the 2021 movie Robin Roberts Presents: Mahalia, “Take one seed of what you give others and plant it in yourself.”

The words and images within these pages present information that is applicable to the specific medical, spiritual, emotional, and social needs of Black women. However, non- Black women can glean valuable information about their health and standing in this book as well because I also provide comparative data for Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American women, as well as some data about our male counterparts. But special attention is given to Black women because the fact is, Black women’s health concerns and challenges are different from those of other women.

In these pages you will find staggering statistics and a less-than-desirable legacy of Black women’s health. But you will also find tools, medical information, and encouragement that can liberate you and Black women everywhere from a similar fate. With knowledge comes power.

Look at all the wonderful things Black women have done and continue to do when they employ their mind and determination in force. Hold on to that because improving one’s physical health is doable—you can do it!— and changing the trajectory of Black women’s health is also doable. It can be done, and it must be done because changing the health of Black women can change the health of the Black fam- ily and that of all future generations. As you review and compare the health statistics across racial lines presented herein, remember one thing: the goal isn’t to be like White or Asian women; the goal is to be healthier Black women. Black Women’s Wellness provides a head-to-toe medical reference, with information that will carry you for years to come. Some of you might read this book cover to cover, as a whole. Others might read chapters that address your, or a loved one’s, current medical concern, circumstance, or curiosity. Or as you flip through the pages, you might see a pie chart or graph that grabs your attention or gives you pause.

In chapter 1, I begin with my “Societal Stress and Black Women’s Health” flowchart that ties together the psychosocial challenges and micro- aggressions that we face as Black women and how those psychosocial stressors can affect our physi- cal well-being.

In part 1, I present timely information about heart disease, diabetes, maternal mortality, cancers, and HIV/AIDS . . . the top five conditions that are robbing Black women of life and longevity.

In part 2, I hone in on our womanly feminine form and function. As with all creation, the hu- man body is a thing of beauty with wonders it performs! No one would be alive today without a woman’s body, for it is through women that all life is formed and born.

Medical conditions can affect all of us—whether we are tall or short; “thick” or thin; heterosexual or homosexual; light-skinned, “olive-complected,” or the color of rich, dark chocolate. You’ll read about your reproductive anatomy and physiol- ogy and the diseases that can affect your female organs, such as fibroid tumors and endometriosis, but also other medical conditions that cause mid- life “female” problems such as a dropped bladder, urinary incontinence, and pelvic pain. You’ll read about vision problems, arthritic conditions, sickle cell disease, multiple sclerosis, and more. And if you are menopausal and utterly confused about hormone replacement therapy, this part can give you guidance.

No book on wellness is fully complete with- out addressing sex. Can I get an amen? Given my personal experience and professional expertise, I wrote the sex, sensuality, and relationships section with a heterosexual approach. But regardless of your sexual preference or identity, in part 3, you’ll read about the health benefits of having sex (with whoever rocks your boat). There’s also sage infor- mation about sexually transmitted diseases and how to identify any residual sexual hang-ups you may have so you can fully enjoy and benefit from the experience that love-making was meant to be.

Maybe your love life has gone from a sizzle to a fizzle, you have trouble achieving orgasm, or you experience pain with intercourse. Or perhaps you’re wondering if male enhancement medica- tions work in women or how you can possibly en- joy sex in a day of rampant sexually transmitted diseases and men “on the down-low.” Fret not; you’ve come to the right place! I give you tips on how to boost your sex life and get or keep the passion going with your sweetie. I also offer you advice on how to address these intimate issues (including sexual dysfunction) with your doctor.

And last, in part 4, I round out the call for total wellness with information on relationships, love, beauty, mental health, mindfulness, and financial well-being. I also provide a checklist for you to take stock of your health to identify the specific areas that require your medical attention.

To find happiness in a world of frequent, near-daily rejection, it is important to have inner strength, self-assurance, emotional balance, and reliable friends and family. Part 4 will give you useful tips to achieve inner peace, to keep your brain active and alert, and to avoid toxic people. It will advise you on how to capitalize on your best traits and, if needed, minimize those traits you find less desirable or that impede your personal or professional goals.

Proper diet and physical activity for increasing the secretion of endorphins—the “feel good” body chemicals—will be addressed, and tips for hair and skin care will be presented. Lastly, unique medical “pearls of wisdom” will help you improve your interpersonal relationships. Along the way, I will share a few anecdotes of my life’s journey; perhaps they will encourage you to keep moving forward when you feel you just can’t take another step.

I am excited for you and me. Despite the doom and gloom of the past, it is possible for Black women to achieve medical parity and live the best, healthiest life possible in the 21st century. We need not give up hope, for there have been and will continue to be victories and successes in the lives of women whose skin has been bountifully kissed by the sun. As never before, the 21st century presents a new day and an exciting time in health-care technology, research education, and improved medical outcomes, and no woman—whether Asian, Hispanic, Native American, White, or Black—should be left behind. Not anymore. This can yet be our time to shine, as many of us are living well past the statistical projections of life and death . . . and doing so in healthy, fine, fun, and sexy style!

Total wellness and phenomenal living are aspirations many Black women enjoy and others seek to attain. It can be done; the journey begins with just one step. Black Women’s Wellness may prove to be the long-needed source that can encourage, educate, comfort, and celebrate you, me, and Black women everywhere. With the information in this book, the evergreen list of resources I’ve provided at the end, and an “I’ve got this!” determination, your 21st-century journey to total wellness, physical health, and phenomenal living can begin right now. Let’s get started!

Melody T. McCloud, MD, is an obstetrician-gynecologist-surgeon, media consultant, public speaker, and author. She lectures nationwide on women’s health, sex, and social issues and has served on an advisory council of the CDC. Affiliated with Emory University Hospital Midtown, Dr. McCloud was honored as one of the 25 most influential doctors in Atlanta and named Physician of the Year by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. She has appeared on CNN, ABC, NBC, Court TV, and in the New York Times, USA Today, the Washington Post, Parade, the New England Journal of Medicine, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and more.

  • Joe D says:

    Vibrational Healing Music by Marjorie de Muynck. It is one of my choice migraine remedies. And what’s great is that, at least for me, I can just play it in the background and let it do its thing while I continue doing whatever it is I’m up to. In other words, you don’t have to sit in silence in my opinion for the benefit. I second your motion for the iAwake music. My son and I have been using that music for a few weeks now at nighttime for unwinding and getting ready to transition to sleep. Quite effective.

    • Andrew Young says:

      I am embarrassed to say that I’ve not sampled any of Marjorie de Muynck’s om-fequency-tuned music. It’s not too “new agey?”

      • Jennifer says:

        Marjorie was a jazz musician before she became a sound healing pioneer. She also is the only sound healing artist I know who has made effective and beautiful use of the banjo on her recordings!

      • Joe D says:

        I don’t think there’s an ounce of cheese in the recording, if that’s what you mean!

  • Michael Boxer says:

    Chick Corea Piano Improv # 1, Pink Martini Sympatetique, Nanci Griffith One Fair Summer Evening, Puccini La Boehem, Cocteau Twins Aikea Guniea.

    • Andrew Young says:

      Ha, thx for the recos, Michael. The Cocteau Twins’ “Treasure” is definitely in my top 20 for this list, as well as Alla’s “Fundou de Bechar” improvisatioal oud gem. I recently bought a fresh, fairly clean used vinyl LP pressing of the Chick Corea Piano Improvs Vol. 1 myself and it’s sublime….

  • Joanne W. says:

    I love anything by Tom Kenyon. A few favorites are Imaginarium, Sacred Chants, and City of Hymns. I play these for myself and when giving energy healing treatments! LOVE ’em!

    • Andrew Young says:

      These are great recos as well, thanks for mentioning Tom Kenyon’s resonant work. Sounds True had the privilege of hearing his amazing voice right here in the office entryway atrium a few years ago. Wow.

  • Jennifer says:

    Victorialand by the Cocteau Twins

    • Andrew Young says:

      This is so cool—I had no idea there were so many people who consider the Cocteau Twins to be relaxing or healing music. I wonder if Elizabeth Fraser and/or Simon Raymonde would ever consider doing a meditation-oriented or therapeutic music album? I’d definitely order it in a heartbeat!

  • Akaisha Kaderli says:

    I like Alex Theory Music (Air, Earth Water, Light) and also Sacred Accoustics Foundation Series (OM, Earth, Blue, Portal) http://www.sacredacoustics.com

    • Andrew Young says:

      Thanks, great recos, Akaisha. I actually wanted to list Alex Theory’s “Water,” but I made myself stick to just five. I may have to do a “Part II” post! 🙂

  • Serge Lanoë says:

    * Yi-Ching Music For Health (5 CD’s : Water, Wood, Fire, Earth, Regimen)

    * Chinese “Five Tones” Healing Music (5 CD’s : Jyy Tone, Yu Tone, Kung Tone, Chueh Tone, Regimen-Chi Circulation)

    * Music for Beauty (4 CD’s : Day, Night, Spring & Summer, Autumn & Winter)

  • Cierra says:

    Temple by Thomas Barquee. As a massage therapist I could (and did!) play this CD for hours, for days, and for weeks without ever getting tired of it. Absolutely beautiful!

    • Andrew Young says:

      Aha, I’ve never heard anything by Thomas Barquee. I’m going to search for a sample track of “Temple” right now. Thanks for the tip!

  • Michael Boxer says:

    Andrew, I have to admit that I have had my creative spirit COMPLETELY raised in the last 4 days by listening to Schoenberg’s “Les Miserbales” I have now seen it 8 times in 4 days and have been listening to the influence of Sondheim which is SO deep. As a projection, I have been comforted by musical theatre and opera from my youth. I know you have a hard time with lyrics, but the music is absolutely powerful!

  • cindy says:

    Prayer circle by Jonathan Elia which is the most beautiful piece of music that I’ve ever heard.

    Anything off of the only two albums by Stephen Walters.

    Migration by R Carlos Nakai

    All beautiful.

    • Andrew Young says:

      Wow, thanks Cindy for these recommendations. I found a Jonathan Elia album titled “Prayer Cycle”—with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Alanis Morissette, & others. Not sure if this is the one you mention or another…but it’s really cool. “Migration” by R. Carlos Nakai and Peter Kater is quite beautiful; Peter’s style reminds me of of Keith Jarrett’s sublime “Koln Concert” album (which is definitely in my top 10 for creativity sparking CDs). Stephen Walters I could not find but will continue to look. Thx again!

  • Grayson Towler says:

    For creativity, Jeff Strong’s percussion music from “Brain Shift Collection” is my go-to. This is something you can put on soft in the background in an office situation and not bother anyone, but you still get a good effect.

    I also find for creativity that you can’t really go wrong with the classics. Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Rachmaninoff… maybe it sounds cliche, but they always do the trick.

    In terms of healing, my own experience (confession time here…) is that merely listening to music creates the weakest result. For me, singing and sometimes dancing are the things that really kick musical healing energy into gear. So I get more mileage out of something like the soundtrack to Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog than I do from any kind of instrumental music for healing, no matter if it’s supposed to be intentional or bioacoustic or whatever.

    • Andrew Young says:

      ALL of Mozart’s piano sonatas I would put in my top 10 for both de-stressing, creativity, and sheer pleasure…but I didn’t want to sound like too much of a fuddy duddy. 😉 I mean, when I was raving about Mozart to my 85-year-old NYC uncle, he said that I had the musical tastes of an old man and that I needed to get hip to Amy Winehouse and Ricky Martin. Seriously! Re: Jeff Strong’s super-quiet entrainment tracks—definitely a thumbs up from me, I’ll prob list his “attention and focus” CD if I do a “Part II” post of this thread. Trueski fans, here’s a link to Jeff’s amazing stuff: http://www.soundstrue.com/shop/authors/Jeff_Strong

  • […] to Andrew at Sounds True for his kind review of my Aural Resonance CD, I appreciate it! More info about the magical sounds of Aural Resonance […]

  • Elisa Brown Music says:

    I am SO pleased that Sounds True recommends Simeon Hein’s Aural Resonance CD. This simple, elegant and highly effective mediation CD is a mainstay in my relaxation mediation CD collection. With this terrific review in Sounds True, I hope it becomes a Go-To CD for all your readers, too!

    • Opening Minds Music says:

      Thanks Elisa, it’s available now both as a CD and download at http://AuralResonance.com .

      • Andrew Young says:

        Thx for finding this page, O.M., I couldn’t find a download source on google. ST Blog readers: As with the Tryshe Dhevney, don’t “re-rip” this music to make it smaller—you’ll want highest sound quality to experience its effects fully!

      • Simeon says:

        That’s right Andrew, the high-frequency harmonics won’t appear in your room with a lower-quality version. You have to have the full-spectrum sound to get the complete effect. It’s like a sparkling timbre that appears about 10-15 minutes after you start playing Aural Resonance. The longer you leave it on, the stronger it can get.

      • Andrew Young says:

        Thanks for chiming in, Simeon, and for this amazing recording. I’ve always wondered if those really high overtones were intentional—now I know that they are! ST blog readers: Simeon Hein is the creator of this awesome CD.

    • Andrew Young says:

      Thanks for chiming in, Elisa. I should probably tell blog readers here that these are my personal favorites, not “official” Sounds True recommendations. I’m glad that you also give it a “thumbs up” too—it’s one of those largely unknown recordings that everyone should try at least once. Cheers! – Andrew

  • Heather says:

    Jennifer Berezan and friends have sustained me over the past few years… In These Arms, or Praises for the World, or Returning… All of her albums are both grounded and sublime. No ickiness, and deeply connective. Check out http://edgeofwonder.com/

  • Eric Carr says:

    Thank you for this! Tryshe Dhevney’s Crystal Bowl Sound Healing is one of my top album choices as well, so I’ll have to check out the others listed here. I’m always looking for healing music. Dhevney also has another album that she did as part of the Lapis Ensemble that I have on near constant rotation even after three or four years since it came out, and I’ve had myriad clients ask about it when it plays. Shi De by Dechen Shak Dagsay, and Sei He Ki by Weave are probably the only other albums that my clients or friends outright ask about, but Tryshe Dhevney’s are by far the most popular (and my favorites).

    • Andrew Young says:

      Thanks for your recos, Eric. Are you a massage/bodywork therapist, energy healer, or other type of therapist? I ask because I have several massage-physical therapy friends who want my recommendations. I’m now searching for music by Shi De by Dechen Shak Dagsay and Sei He Ki. Cool, more possibilities that I have never heard of! Blog readers: The Tryshe Dhevney/Lapis Ensemble collaboration is titled “Lapis Ensemble” and is on iTunes and CDbaby.com I’m listening to samples now….

  • Ira Liss says:

    When I took Simeon’s resonant viewing (RV) class several years ago, he played the Aural Resonance Astral Harmony (“the perfect fifth”) CD in the background. Learning and doing RV can be challenging so having this simple calming, serenity-inducing sound in the room was helpful. I learned it’s available here, http://mountbaldy.com/store/index.php?content=music

    • Andrew Young says:

      Resonant viewing, cool, I need to check out Simeon’s workshops. Funny you should mention this type of practice because I didn’t mention in my post that I find this CD superb for traditional shamanic journey practice when combined with Sandra Ingerman’s drumming tracks.

  • Patrece says:

    I have enjoyed Tryshe Dhveney’s Crystal Bowls Sound Healing CD as have many of my friends. Because of that CD, I try to attend as many of her workshops as I can. She’s a true inspiration and has made a huge difference in my life. Thanks for this opportunity for me to share how special her CD is to me.

    • Andrew Young says:

      I didn’t know that Tryshe teaches regular workshops, thanks for the heads up, Patrece. At this year’s Wake Up Festival, she treated us to an opening ritual that was just amazing on a somatic-energetic level. It kinda flipped me out (in a good way)!

  • Patrece says:

    Tryshe Dhevney’s Crystal Bowl Sounds Healing CD tops my list of favorites. I do hope to make it to one of her workshops soon but, until then, I treasure the recording. How she uses sound is truly amazing.

    • Andrew Young says:

      Does Tryshe teach workshop attendees how to actually PLAY the crystal bowls? I would love to give it a try myself.

      • Kate says:

        She does do workshops on how to play the bowls along with workshops on using the voice and bowls for healing and other workshops. See her website, http://www.soundshifting.com. Also, her voice is extraordinary and combine that with the bowls and you go off into other places/dimensions.

  • Beate Nilsen says:

    “For sparking my creativity” David Ison has had remarkable success w/ getting writer’s block dissipated Pronto: from the last chapter of a book to the last link in a sequence for a computer game on a deadline of TOMORROW.

    Try the Chakra Sound System;-)

    • Andrew says:

      Thx for the comment, Beate. I also vote for David Ison’s “magnum opus” Chakra Sound System as the best full-throttle experience of his work. I was also going to include the “Chakra Illumination” music CD within the big CSS program but had to keep my list to just five picks.

      ST blog readers: I’m not really into chakra energy healing, but you don’t need to be to benefit from Ison’s work. Here’s the link to the epic CSS program:

      …and a link to just the harmonizer CD set “extracted” from the CSS (one music-only CD one CD with music + spoken-word guided meditations by David):

  • Janet Sussman says:

    I am a fan of David Ison’s and have been for twenty-five years or so. The consciousness that is embedded in the music is the main thing. The techniques are great, but it is what the intentionality speaks to that makes his material really work.

    • Andrew says:

      Yes, Janet, that is a great way of describing the healing source of the Ison Method music—I mean, he can use a conventional acoustic guitar (like on “Relax”) to produce such powerful effects. Thanks for your comment!

  • Noah C says:

    Here’s a few I love. These are my go to, over and over, keep ’em on repeat because they keep me in the zone I love to be in.

    1. Heart Sutra chant of the Dalai Lama for the president of the united states. This is one of the most heart-full expansive courageously peaceful chants I have ever heard.
    2 Relax. David Ison does something different than most: he plays real music, only it does something to me that first relaxes me deeply, but then I start feeling very creative. It’s like a 1-2 heart punch of peacefulness!
    3. Sounds of the Soul, Sheila G. Sterling. This is great if you want to just go out there and fully immerse into loving bliss consciousness. I can’t get any work done with this one, but its epic for visualizations and midafternoon reset sessions.

    • Andrew Young says:

      Thanks for these recos, Noah. I’m going to search for the Dalai Lama Heart Sutra chant now, as well as the Sheil G. Sterling CD. I’m glad you posted this one that is “non-background” music—”loving bliss consciousness…I can’t get any work done with this one” LOL! :O

  • Kate says:

    I’m a hugh fan of Tryshe Dhevney’s music too. Her bowl work is always beautiful and when you add in her voice….it’s extraordinary! I love playing her cd’s in the background as I go about doing things in my home. It keeps me settled. And, when I sit quietly and use her music to meditate by, I can feel the energy moving inter-dimensionally. She is seriously gifted and shares all that so lovingly.

    • Andrew Young says:

      Thanks, Kate, for mentioning Tryshe Dhevney’s amazing voice. It’s not on the Crystal Bowl Sound Healing CD but I was deeply moved when I heard her “tuvan” inspired overtone voicings at this year’s Wake Up Festival.

  • Diana says:

    #4 is wonderful and soul nurturing. It taught me how to mediatate, forgive and free myself. It’s also used by some of our Fortune 100 clients. They listen to segments of it on their lunch breaks

  • Mica says:

    There is only one way to go on the Science of Sound…true healing….anything David Ison….

  • linnaea b says:

    David Ison’s Chakra Illumination is the best I have heard in the 14+ years I have used music as background for massage. The composition entrains the breath and then the mind. Clients go “deep” without any effort. When I use it four or five times a day, it is as if I have been meditating for days.

    I never used music as background to craniosacral work, as music tended to take people out of cranial space. However, David’s Chakra Illumination helps them stay in cranial space.

    Before I bought Chakra Illumination, I used Theta by Steven Halpern for massage. That is also good, as it encourages people to go into a theta state.

    • Andrew Young says:

      Thanks for your insights on Chakra Illumination for craniosacral work. A friend of mine in Utah is training in this modality now and I will recommend it to him.

  • Foster Brashear says:

    For about 10 years, I have been affiliated with a group of people, mostly musicians, who record amazing ethereal music in a huge water tank in Rangely Colorado. In fact, recently a KickStarter campaign raised a lot of money to refurbish “The Tank” and turn it into a more formal recording venue. I was introduced to The Tank by my friend Michael Stanwood, and was privileged to be present for part of the recording of his CD “PORTAL” at The Tank. I think much of the music recorder there fits your request. You can hear (or buy) PORTAL at this link: http://www.pansyproductions.com/
    Partly because of the recent campaign, there are actually many wonderful and inspiring recordings all over the net if you search for “The Tank.”

  • ezio says:

    I like Joanne Shenandoah, and the Elemental songs on Jeff’s Strong’s BrainShift Collection. I also love the wood flute- whether shakuhachi, Nawang Khechog’s tibetan flute, or the Native flute of Carlos Nakai.

    • Andrew Young says:

      Thx for the recos, ezio. I especially enjoy listening to Nawang Khechog’s music outside on my headphones while sitting on the grass (or even lying on moist earth as I look up at the clouds) 😉

  • Cyn says:

    Wow. Thanks everyone for all the new ideas. Checking out my iTunes meditation playlist – one of my favorites for just chilling and meditating is a group called Shaman’s Dream – lots of sitar, running water – lovely. Or anything by Nawang Khechog. Andew Weil has a program in vibrational healing that is outstanding – this must be Sounds True, but I can’t tell since I’m looking at iTunes. Christine Tulis for harp – she’s through Sound Temple recordings, and then there is Stevin McNamara’s Yoguitar from Etherean music.I love any Gregorian chant for creativity. For high-energy creativity, Beth Quist, who has an amazing voice and plays a variety of strange instruments to create otherworldly soundscapes. Find her at home.earthlink.net/~quistian/ oops, I think I’m over the limit.

  • katherine harris says:

    Anything by David Ison – takes me just where I need to be.

  • Susan T says:

    Relish the lovely tones that David Ison comes up with on his album, RELAX. He conveys deep code that travels through your body and soul as you listen.

  • cathy jo says:

    I listen to DeStress, Focus, and Inspiration classical recordings from Advanced Brain Technologies, and find them very effective. (ABT’S THE LISTENING PROGRAM helped me recuperate from a stroke.)
    I also listen a great deal to the wonderful Tryshe Dhevney CD–and you are so right about needing to keep the high quality for the best response. I’m hoping Sounds True will be putting out another CD from Tryshe soon!

    • Andrew Young says:

      Thanks, Cathy. I’m reading about ABT’s research studies now and it’s very encouraging work.

      If Sounds True releases another Tryshe Dhevney album, I am going to suggest that it includes her voice as well, as so many of us love that dimension of her work.

  • Vivian Blaxell says:

    Ludovico Einaudi “In a Time Lapse”

    • Andrew Young says:

      Thanks Vivian, I’m listening to his YouTube post as I type this. ST blog readers: this is a solo piano piece that evokes in me the emotional palettes of Chopin, Debussy, Keith Jarrett, the soundscapes of Hayao Miyazaki’s animated films, and Einaudi’s own unique style and feeling. Beautiful.

  • Susan says:

    Aural Resonance is the only CD I play every night before I go to sleep. It masks sounds from my noisy neighbors and creates a deep relaxing feeling. It’s the only way to get a great night’s rest.

    • Andrew Young says:

      Yes, for me too. In fact, I take it with me whenever I have to stay in a hotel room or other new place to help me sleep. Thx for confirming that it works in this way for more than just me!

      • Susan says:

        Hi Andrew
        Glad to know I’m not the only one as well! For some reason it works better than nature sounds, which i’ve tried many times. I love nature sounds but Aural Resonance has an added layer of calm. Sometimes I use both.

  • Lisa G says:

    Crystal Bowl Sound Healing – Tryshe Dhevney
    Tryshe’s unique sound is soothing, awakens the mind/spirit
    transporting you to a unique dimension of healing organic harmonies embracing
    calm and peace.

  • Wendy P says:

    Jonathan Goldman- Ultimate Om

    I play this song on repeat and I swear even the birds and animals outside our home camp out at our house enjoying it. Very soothing and great background music when relaxing. Not distracting at all.

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