Bitterroot

Good vibrations

| May 05, 2011

The bi-annual Hamilton Psychic Fair at the spiritual boutique Between The Worlds promises to be a scene of candlelit lavender walls, salt lamps, and sconces this weekend, if local holistic healer Chuck Hossfeld's predictions pan out. Tarot readers, palmists, energy healers, and astrologists from around the state plan to attend, drawn by the psychic arts and a call to raise funds for nonprofit Montana Integrative Therapies.

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One of the star attractions doesn't deal with mysticism. Rather, his line of healing builds on good vibrations—the kind emanating from clients' iPods. Dustin Fox, 67, is credited as the creator of acoustical massage therapy. "It's like a deep tissue massage," he says, "without the pain."

Fox's technique works like this: You pick the music, he puts it on, and speakers attached to the massage table send the vibrations into your body while Fox conducts a symphony of massage strokes.

Fox dreamt up the idea, he says, after talking to a buddy about sonar during his Navy years. "I had a feeling in my military days that if the right sound could touch people emotionally...then maybe that would affect the physiology...and the cellular structure of the body in a positive way."

Fox experimented with the concept and perfected it throughout the '80s, developing what he calls the Fox Acoustical Therapy System. He relocated his practice to Livingston in 2003, and now has satellite offices in Helena and Sheridan, Wyo. It's an unconventional therapy, he says, one that calls on the client to participate in his or her own healing. He knows of only 10 others in the state—former students—who practice it.

There are some rules to Fox's technique. He's skeptical about grunge, heavy metal, hip-hop, and rap, much of which he believes is "negative to the spiritual intent of every human being." Most of his Montana clients prefer country standards, smooth jazz like Kenny G, or rock classics like Santana. But he has performed a massage to Iron Butterfly's "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida." His most memorable request? "Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock."

"I was at Woodstock personally," Fox says. "So when she asked, 'Can you play Jimi Hendrix?' I was like, 'Oh my god.'"

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