Resonant Silence Technique (RST) is a therapeutic and rehabilitative treatment approach for individuals with dementia.
Research shows that high levels of sensory stimuli negatively affects people with dementia.
RST is based on the observation that reducing stimulus levels helps those with dementia.
In RST, we follow gentle sound into silence. After sound, we share periods of intentional group silence together.
These silent periods help to significantly reduce sensory stimuli and bring calming peace.
This quiet and peaceful atmosphere allows individuals with dementia to relax and begin to cope again.
As they relax, they return to fuller consciousness and higher functionality.
RST is also a Path to Peace
Resonant Silence Technique (RST) is also a path to new consciousness. Peace and serenity flower as we practice RST.
It takes time for our minds to clear of the many thoughts we have. But, with the RST exercises shared here, our minds clear, and we gradually experience peace and, at times, even, bliss.
I am currently writing a book about RST which will be published soon.
The book tells how my life experiences, and influences, prepared me to awaken to the unique healing qualities of silence, and how I came to create RST.
I include my own journey to silence, so that you can find similar experiences in your own life, that have led you to your own awakening to the calm and peaceful light, that silence provides.
The book is a journey into stillness from several different cultural and faith traditions. It is also a guide to the practice of RST and in it, I have included over 20 exercises to help us understand and experience the serenity of silence.
I choose the name 'resonant silence' because when I experienced a deep sense of silence, the silence seemed to echo back to me, or, in other words, the silence resonated.
I choose the acronym RST or rest, because of the profound relaxation and rest that I saw in my patient's eyes, and how I saw their bodies relax, during and after sharing RST. I wanted the name to reflect the experience that I observed.
The RST exercises shared here, come from my over 20 years of using RST with those with dementia, Parkinson's, autism and other cognitive and neurological conditions.
The exercises also come from my on-going work with my patients as a Clinical Musician for the Hospice of the Northwest.
In RST, I have found that saying sounds silently, is as effective in quieting our mind, as saying them aloud.
Now, we begin our exercises. As an introduction to RST, I will share the three exercises that make up what I call, RST 3.
I share these three exercises, for they are fundamental to RST, and give you a lovely taste of the stillness, that can come by combining breathing, sound and silence. Each element of these exercises is equally important.
Remember to honor the silence at the end of each exercise. In silence, the brain integrates what it is exposed to and, thus, silence, provides the space where true change takes place.
Here is RST 1.
1. Please sit quietly, with our eyes closed, and our back gently straight.
2. Breathe in for four slow counts.
3. Now, breathe out for five, even slower seconds.
4. And, now, having exhaled all our breath, continue to breathe normally, and sit in silence for 10 seconds.
Here is RST 2
1. As with all RST exercises, we begin again, by sitting quietly with our eyes closed, and our back gently upright.
2. Now, we breathe in for four slow counts.
3. As we exhale, say "Sh" out loud, or to ourselves, for a total of four seconds, allowing this sound or the thought of this sound, to begin to fade by the end of the third second, so that by the end of the fourth second, the sound or the thought of the sound, has faded completely.
4. Continue to exhale the rest of our breath.
5. Then, continuing to breathe normally, sit in silence for 10 seconds.
Here is RST 3
1. Please sit quietly, with your back gently upright and your eyes closed.
2. Breathe in for four slow counts.
3. Now, as you exhale, think the "Sh" sound for three seconds, allowing the thought of the sound to fade and disappear from your mind by the end of the fourth second.
4. Continue to exhale all your breath
5. Now, breathing normally, in a relaxed way, sit in silence for 10 seconds.
How do you feel? Calmer, quieter? Are there less thoughts in your mind, and more peacefulness within you? Good. This is the beginning of the RST process to inner peace for us, and for those with dementia.
When I do this last exercise, I have the sense that the thought of the sound, brings me deeper into my center, allowing me to feel a more profound stillness.
I have shared these three exercises with the folks in my RST Therapeutic Dementia Groups and, most recently, with a private client with dementia.
She has responded beautifully, learning how to use the RST sounds to enter silence, to calm herself, and manage her dementia symptoms.
You can read my published article on Resonant Silence Technique at the NIH or National Institute of Health website.
This website is a worldwide source, of the most up-to-date and innovative health care approaches available.
You can read my entire article on the NIH website at this address: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7088230/
The use of a quieting environment, subtle sound and intentional silence is reported to help people with dementia feel less anxious, more relaxed and cooperative, emotionally appreciative, empathetic and to improve eye contact, concentration and communication.
Silence has been scientifically shown to be relaxing and therapeutic, restoring body equilibrium and reducing brain wave frequency while lowering blood pressure, heart and respiratory rates.
Aspects of sound called vibrato and harmonics have also been scientifically shown to reduce brain wave frequency.
Cedar and bamboo flute, guitar and voice, singing bowl and Tibetan ting-shas (small, rounded chimes) all produce easily heard vibrato and harmonics and this is why they are chosen for RST.
Miriam Fein is the creator of Resonant Silence Technique (RST). She holds a Bachelor of Sacred Music (BSM) from The Jewish Theological Seminary and is a certified Cantor/Minister/Educator. She is a Certified Music Practitioner as well as a Clinical Musician for Hospice of the Northwest. More about Miriam Fein