Fred Andresen demonstrates one of his sound therapy techniques by rubbing small mallets on a Chinese gong, creating soothing whale sounds at the Temple Harmonics studio.
by NATHANIEL NELSON
Tucked away in an unassuming brick building on the west side of town, a small studio sits idly by. Inside, dozens of gongs, singing bowls, flutes and other instruments wait in a dimly-lit room for local residents to stop in, sit in an anti-gravity chair and be serenaded into a world of serenity.
Frank Andresen is the owner and brainchild of Temple Harmonics, a rock shop and sound therapy studio that is moving into its fourth year. Andresen is an active practitioner of Reiki, a healing technique based on channelling energy into a patient to restore physical and emotional well-being. Those energies are what brought him to be interested in sound therapy to help Winona residents and beyond find relaxation through sound.
“In day-to-day life, people are always on the Internet or on their phones, and society is too stressed out to take time to sit down and relax,” Andresen said. “That relaxed space, that’s where the magic happens.”
Andresen performs sound therapy through monthly sound sessions, when interested individuals come to the studio to listen to an hour-long journey through song. These sound sessions are performed with various instruments, including Himalayan singing bowls, gongs, flutes and other calming tones. While the sounds are the same, individuals will experience each tone and instrument differently, he explained, allowing them to drift into a meditative state.
“It’s about using sound as an energy to help your body heal itself,” Andresen said.
He also travels frequently to festivals and conferences, bringing his sound therapy to people across the country, something he used to do for 40 years as the keyboardist of a cover band. Andresen first became interested in sound therapy seven years ago when he attended a show in Rochester, Minn., and met a man named Frank DiCristina, who taught him about the different tones and energies behind instruments.
“I eventually bought two gongs, and then several bowls, and from there it just really took off,” Andresen said.
Today, Andresen owns more than 80 singing bowls, 11 gongs, four flutes and dozens of other soundmakers that have found their home in the Temple Harmonics studio. Pieces range in price from $30 to several thousand dollars, including a set of 300-year old Himalayan bowls that had traveled in Tibet for decades.
Andresen explained that he heard about several bowls hitting the market, and to keep them out of a museum, he purchased six of them on the spot.
“If you think of where these have gone and who they’ve been heard by, putting them in a museum would be a crime,” he explained. “You’re a keeper of history. They would have been locked up and never heard from again.”
The studio acts as one half of the Temple Harmonics space. On the other is a large library and rock shop, focusing on spiritual and holistic healing. Andresen explained that the library contains hundreds of different books about health and wellness, from physical and spiritual health to chakras and meditation. Customers are welcome to come and look through the books and find information that can help them with their troubles.
“It’s all about making that connection and putting them on that path,” Andresen said.
The rock shop sells various types of stones, lamps, flags and other objects designed to help guide people on their spiritual journey, Andresen said. The rock shop wasn’t the first thing on his mind when he was opening Temple Harmonics –– his initial goal was to move his sessions from his cramped home to a more comfortable space –– but as he kept coming across more things to add to the store, the building was open for business. “It all just started falling together,” Andresen said.
Today, Andresen hosts his monthly sound sessions in the space on every third Thursday of the month, with as many as 40 people coming at a time. He explained that over the past four years, attendance has continued to grow through advertising and word-of-mouth, and he’s hoping to expand the stage and space in the next few years to continue moving people through sound.
“That’s what does it for me –– seeing the reactions from people when they are in this space. I never see this not being fun,” Andresen said.
Temple Harmonics LLC is located at 370 West Third Street in Winona. For more information, contact Andresen at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 507-450-2986.