Sound healing, Kyoto, Japan ©2020, Cyndie Burkhardt.

Hot Health Trends for 2020

Hot Health Trends for 2020 768 1024 Cyndie Burkhardt

One morning I opened my email to find a message from the Global Wellness Institute predicting hot health trends for 2020. I was delighted and amused to see that three of its predictions were things I’d been covering—music as intentional therapy, energy medicine, and J-wellness (all things Japanese).

For the better part of a year I’ve been traveling around the world and writing about wellness specific to different cultures and lifestyles. I’ve experienced temazcal in Mexico, met a curandera in Colombia, and learned meditation from a Buddhist monk in Thailand, among other things.

Sho & Sarah Tomita, Kyoto, Japan ©2020, Cyndie Burkhardt.
“In Japanese culture, people are raised to pay attention to vibration in a room and go with it,” say Sho and Sarah Tomita. “Sound healing is a natural fit with people’s sensitivity to energy and the senses.”

All images ©2020, Cyndie Burkhardt.

Sound healers

As it happens, I met a couple in Kyoto, Japan who are sound healers and their work employs a unique combination of sound/music vibration and energy balancing. Eastern medicine considers mind and body the same when it comes to healing and these modalities go a step further, tapping into consciousness as the space where change happens. This could be the ultimate holistic approach but who seeks sound healing?

I asked Sarah and Sho and their answer reinforced a recurring theme: when people cannot find a medical solution for their diseases and problems, they go to the healers. While the couple shares the same philosophy their clients and tactics differ widely.

Crystal singing bowls

“People come to me not because of physical problems,” Sarah said, “they want to live a better life so they can realize who they truly are and what they came here for—their life’s purpose.” She continued, “A crystal singing bowl and my singing voice can make brain waves relax.” It’s akin to hypnotherapy and enables practitioner and client to go deeper.

“What I’m doing is connecting to source,” she says. Rather than focus on what’s wrong she prefers to “see or feel that person’s vibration at its best.” She then sings at that level and when a client matches with their original, essential vibration that’s when change and healing take place.

Sho Tomita, Kyoto, Japan ©2020, Cyndie Burkhardt.
Sho senses energy and vibration everywhere but maintains healthy boundaries to preserve his inner balance.
Energy dimensions

Sho’s clients range in their physical problems—from back pain to skin issues, headaches, diseases, and even cancer. He’s wholly attuned to the role of consciousness in creating energy fields that affect the body positively or negatively. Using energetic sound he can alter someone’s mind, release tension and blockages, and get to the next level in order to rebuild the body. He says, “It’s more like transformation of their energy.” 

Like Sarah, he feels the energy and guides his clients to their authentic state. To be clear, neither of them claims to cure people but rather to bring about curative change.

A third hand

Sho’s foray into sound healing is an appealing story. He spent many years doing hands-on body work until one day when everything changed. A client had physical pain that originated deep inside their body and he couldn’t access it.

“I remember that moment. It was like, I need to vibrate here, I need a third hand.” He envisioned a hand reaching inside the person and contacting the problem. Quite unexpectedly, a sound came from his throat and then a sensation. “It was like a vibration came through my bones. And then it got deep inside the body and the person started changing.” It was a profound moment.

Singing, combined with keen intuition and acute awareness, are now his primary healing mechanisms.

Sound healing, Kyoto, Japan ©2020, Cyndie Burkhardt.
The Global Wellness Institute cites “wellness” music as a new trend that seeks to create personalized, healing soundscapes.
My concert

My gut said these people didn’t merely perform but actually live and believe in their calling. Their personal energy seemed genuine—magnetic yet grounded, peaceful yet potent. Sitting together in their studio, they suggested a demo. Operating with only four crystal singing bowls and their voices, a musical symphony was created. There was a beautiful fluidity to it all.

Sound and vibration enveloped my head, it was almost too much. Kind of like when you get the front row at a concert—it’s great because you’re totally immersed in the experience but it’s a little overwhelming. Colorful paisley patterns in deep purple, silver, fuchsia, and red swirled inside my mind’s eye. I did a body scan and felt sensations down to my feet. For the simplicity of the setup, it was effective. My whole being was at baseline stillness and I could’ve gone to sleep right there.

All kinds of sound and vibration

Sarah and Sho’s work underscores what the trend report calls “personalized music as precision medicine,” where sound, tone, and emotional connection influence an individual’s brain and body. Combine that with impacting the human “energy body” and it suggests that manipulating the quality and flow of vibrations throughout our bodies can balance the processes within us to generate healing and health. It’s another expression of the mind/body/spirit connection that we in the west are still becoming familiar with.

Sound healing, Kyoto, Japan ©2020, Cyndie Burkhardt.
In the living room a turntable sits on the same shelf as traditional drums and ancient flutes. Although these instruments are not played for client work, sound and its appreciation infiltrate every part of Sho and Sarah’s lives.
Meditating away the cold

I stepped out of the apartment to leave and a few minutes later Sho was behind me in the lobby. As we walked together toward my bus stop I noticed he wasn’t wearing a coat. It was freezing and I asked if he was cold. No, he didn’t need a coat. He keeps warm with his mind, it’s a kind of meditation. Imagine if we could all vibrate like that.

Contact Sarah and Sho Tomita directly for more about sound healing and working with them. Email Sarah and visit Email Sho and visit

1 comment
  • Sarah

    Thank you so much, Cyndie for this beautiful article.
    I’m feeling so much joy and appreciation.
    To connect with people from all over the world through sound and share the joy of life is my dream, so thanks again for supporting our dreams come true with your words and photos which are honest and beautiful.

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