About us

VIBRAC offers training in Vibroacoustic Therapy internationally. VIBRAC was founded in 2012 and the organisation itself is administrated by the Eino Roiha Foundation, Jyväskylä. The centre is organised under the Executive Board, the Core Group, the Advisory Board, and the Scientific Committee.

Research. Training. Application.

Executive Board

The Executive Board consists of Dr. Esa Ala-Ruona, Dr. Marko Punkanen, Executive Manager Jouni Kettunen, and coordinator PhD Elsa Campbell.

Esa Ala-Ruona, PhD

Esa is a music therapist, psychotherapist, psychotherapy trainer (integrative orientation), clinical teacher, supervisor, and senior researcher at the Music Therapy Clinic for Research and Training, at University of Jyväskylä. His areas of expertise lie in psychiatry and neurology, as well as with patients with acute, and chronic pain, and psychosomatic symptoms. He has extensive experience in clinical music therapy in various fields of health care and rehabilitation. His special expertise lies on assessment and evaluation, as well as clinical practice of integrative music psychotherapy, and vibroacoustic therapy. He is a member of the International Music Therapy Assessment Consortium IMTAC.

He is a member of Finnish Centre for Interdisciplinary Music Research, and he has been co-creating clinical models and RCT-studies in music therapy for depression and active music therapy for post-stroke rehabilitation. He is actively involved with the process of professionalization of music therapists and the development of music therapy training.

Esa is co-founder of the VIBRAC Centre. He regularly gives workshops and lectures on music therapy nationally and internationally, and coordinates the VIBRAC training levels with Dr. Marko Punkanen.

Esa Ala-Ruona

Marko Punkanen, PhD

Marko is a music therapist, dance/movement therapist, psychotherapist, psychotherapy trainer, certified sensorimotor psychotherapist® and trainer. He currently works as a music/dance-movement/psychotherapist and supervisor in private practice and as a trauma psychotherapy trainer in University of Oulu, and as a trainer in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute.

He is the founder and director of the Nyanssi Therapy Centre, which offers music therapy, dance-movement therapy, psychotherapy, vibroacoustic therapy (VAT) and supervision services in Lahti, Finland. He is the co-founder of the first extensive VAT/PA-training in Finland, and he has studied for example the possibilities of VAT in drug rehabilitation. He is also one of the founders of the VIBRAC Skille-Lehikoinen Centre for Vibroacoustic Therapy and Research.

From 2007-2011 Marko worked as a researcher at the Finnish Centre of Excellence in Interdisciplinary Music Research, University of Jyväskylä. He was part of the research team which investigated the perception and preferences of emotions in music by depressed patients and the efficacy of improvisational, individual music therapy for depression. He is actively involved with trauma psychotherapy, music therapy and dance/movement therapy training in Finland.

Marko Punkanen

Coordinator – Elsa Campbell, PhD

Elsa is a music therapist and Vibrac-practitioner and has been the coordinator of the Vibrac centre since 2015. Her research has focused on the use of vibroacoustic therapy for managing chronic pain and mood disorders within a rehabilitation setting in Finland. Her previous studies were in music performance and German at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth.

She is currently working as a music therapist and researcher for the Caritas Association for the Karlsruhe Region in Germany. Her work there focuses on the use of active and receptive methods of music therapy for reducing the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia and increasing the quality of life of residents of long-term care homes.

Elsa Campbell

Executive manager – Jouni Kettunen

Jouni is VIBRAC’s executive manager and a music therapist and Vibrac-practitioner. His clinical practice is based in Jyväskylä, Finland and he is the newest addition to the VIBRAC board. He has been involved in an on-going study at the University of Jyväskylä concerning music therapy as a treatment in stroke patients’ rehabilitation.

He gives lectures and workshops on active music therapy, functionally oriented music therapy and vibroacoustic therapy. Jouni is the executive manager of the Eino Roiha Foundation and he coordinates the clinical training programmes of different modalities of arts therapies in the Roiha-institute.

Jouni Kettunen

Core Group

The Core Group includes the Executive Board in addition to Olav Skille and Dr. Med. Ralph Spintge.

Olav Skille

Olav Skille, born 1939 in Norway, studied at Bergen, Lærerhøgskole 1959–1962 to be music teacher. Specialisation studies at the University of Trondheim 1972 included brain injuries. He was a primary school teacher and headmaster at several schools and institutions in Norway, retiring in 2002. He received a scholarship from the Norwegian Department of education to research the therapeutic effects of music education in Norwegian special educational needs schools and a grant from the Nordic Council 1972 to find the prognostic possibilities of The Music Behavior Scale (MUBS) – a Nordic research team that included the Swedish, Danish and Finnish Ministries of Education.

He created the Music Bath which was later renamed Vibroacoustic therapy (VAT). Olav also participated in several international congresses and was invited to lecture on VAT in Singapore, Calcutta, Rome, London, Tallinn, Pescara, Zagreb, Ljubljana, and in the Nordic countries. He is a member of the VIBRAC core group and founder and president of the International Society for VibroAcoustics (ISVA) and a member of the scientific committee of the International Society for Music in Medicine (ISMM). He spends his retirement in Finland and remains active within the VIBRAC centre.

Olav Skille

Ralph Spintge, Dr. Med.

Ralph is the director of the Regional Pain Centre DGS at Sportklinik Hellersen; Luedenscheid, and director of the Institute for Music Research IMUR, Plauen, Germany. Board Certified for Anesthesiology, Painmedicine and Occupational Health, Lifetime Professor for MusicMedicine and lecturer within the Music Therapy Master Course at the Institute for Music Therapy at the University of Music and Drama, Hamburg; former Adjunct Professor at the Institute for Music Research, University of Texas at San Antonio, and Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Journal Music and Medicine IAMM publications.

Beginning in 1977 Spintge conducted a series of psychophysiological studies about the anxioalgolytic effects of music in Surgery, Anaesthesia, PainTherapy, Obstetrics, and Dentistry at various institutions such as the University of Hirosaki, Japan, University of Vienna, Austria, Erasmus University Rotterdam,The Netherlands, New South Wales State Conservatorium of Music Sydney, Australia, and several German university hospitals. He was co-investigator within a 10-year research programme on ”Rhythmicity, Heart Rate Variability and Cardiorespiratory Variability: The Neurovegetative Status in Man” in co-operation with the German Max-Planck-Society, based on a grant from Sporthilfe e.V.

His current research focuses on various medical areas such as chronic pain, stress, dementia, and others. Spintge’s publications comprise numerous articles and 22 books about innovations in anaesthesia and pain medicine, as well as applications of medicofunctional music.

He is a founding member (1982) and currently President of the International Society for Music in Medicine (ISMM), honorary member of The International Association for Music and Medicine (IAMM), member of the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP), the German Society for Medical Psychology, and an Honorary Member of the Music Therapy Association of Catalonia/Spain.

Ralph Spintge

Advisory Board

The Advisory Board consists of the Core Group in addition to Dr. Richard Shusterman, Dr. Ehä Rüütel, Dr. Heidi Ahonen, Dr. Lee Bartel, Dr. Ana Katusic, and Frank Bosco, PhD.

Lee Bartel, PhD

Lee is Professor Emeritus of Music and former Associate Dean of Research at the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto and was founding Director of the Music and Health Research Collaboratory.  He is a former board member of the Collaborative Program in Neuroscience, cross-appointed to the Institute for Life Course and Aging, to the Rehabilitation Science Institute, and a participant in the Collaborative Program in Musculoskeletal Science all at the University of Toronto.

He is the Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee for KKT International with clinics in 13 countries using focused vibroacoustic treatment on orthopaedic spinal conditions. Lee is also Co-Chair of the Board and Chair of the Research and Development Committee for the Room217 Foundation devoted to music care in long-term care contexts.

Lee Bartel

Ana Katušić, PhD

Ana received her Bachelor and Master in Education and Rehabilitation Sciences and her PhD in Neuroscience at the Croatian Institute for Brain Research from the University of Zagreb. Currently she works in the day care Centre for Rehabilitation with neurologically challenged young infants and children.

Her special interest lies in vibroacoustic therapy (VAT) and neurological music therapy (NMT) in sensorimotor rehabilitation and visual attention. She is intensively involved in studying the effects of VAT on motor performance and oculomotor control.

Ana Katušić

Eha Rüütel, PhD

Eha has a PhD in Psychology and is professor of Creative Arts Therapies at Tallinn University, Estonia. In addition to serving on several boards (incl. The Board of the school of Natural Sciences and Health at TU; Representative of Tallinn University in ECArTE [European Consortium for Arts Therapies Education]) and being the former editor of the scientific journal Res Artis of the Institute of Fine Arts of Tallinn University, her research focus lies in Culture and Society, Psychology, Body image and dissatisfaction, therapeutic use of arts, and relationship between health and artistic and creative activities among others.

Eha Rüütel

Heidi Ahonen, PhD

Heidi has been a Professor of Music Therapy at Wilfred Laurier University (CAN) since 2001 and director of the Manfred and Penny Conrad Institute for Music Therapy Research since 2003. She has worked in the North Karelia Polytechnic in Finland and established their music therapy programme there. She also trained music therapists at the Sibelius Academy, Finland, and psychotherapists at the Finnish Mental Health Association, Psychotherapy Institute.

Heidi has lectured and conducted experimental workshops in the health care community and various universities both in Europe and North America. Her research interests include group analytic music therapy, clinical improvisation, and evidence-based Music Medicine research, i.e. low-frequency sound wave research.

Heidi Ahonen

Frank Bosco, PhD

Frank works in private practice as a body-oriented music psychotherapist. As such he is constantly attending to the interaction between thought and sensation in his client’s process. His work is a synthesis of theories and methods from various approaches to mental and physical health drawn from three fields: psychotherapy (mainly the gestalt therapy approach), music therapy, and body-oriented therapy.

The foundation of his approach rests in philosophical, scientific, and metaphysical understandings that support the notion that life energy is a vibratory phenomenon that correlates to music and sound.

Frank Bosco

Richard Shusterman, PhD

Richard Shusterman is the Dorothy F. Schmidt Eminent Scholar in the Humanities at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) and director of the FAU Center for Body, Mind, and Culture. He was educated at Jerusalem and Oxford and was chair of the Temple University Philosophy Department before coming to FAU in 2005. He has held academic appointments in Paris, Berlin, Shanghai, and Hiroshima, and was awarded senior research Fulbright and NEH fellowships. Since 2002, he has been a certified Feldenkrais somatic practitioner.

Shusterman’s widely translated works cover topics in the human and social sciences with particular emphasis on questions of philosophy, aesthetics, culture, language, identity, and embodiment and he has authored several books including T.S. Eliot and the Philosophy of Criticism (Columbia), Practicing Philosophy (Routledge), Performing Live (Cornell), Surface and Depth (Cornell), Pragmatist Aesthetics (Blackwell, 2nd ed. Rowman & Littlefield, and translated into 14 languages), and Body Consciousness (Cambridge University Press) and Thinking through the Body (Cambridge University Press).

His non-technical essays have been published in The Nation and The Chronicle of Higher Education and in various art reviews and catalogues, such as Artpress and Dokumenta. His illustrated novella, The Adventures of the Man in Gold, was published by Hachette in 2017.

Richard Shusterman

Scientific Committee

The Scientific Committee includes Dr. Joanne Loewy and Dr. Teppo Särkämö.

Joanne Loewy, PhD

Joanne is the director of the Louis Armstrong Center for Music and Medicine and is an Associate Clinical Professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Her work in hospitals and clinics ranges from premature birth through end of life and her clinical areas of expertise vary among many populations, including musicians (performers, music therapists, educators) and their unique ailments such as chronic fatigue, chemical dependency, performance anxiety and overuse. She oversees the Louis Armstrong Department of Music Therapy that she built at Beth Israel in 1994.

Joanne Loewy

Teppo Särkämö, PhD

Teppo is an Associate Professor of Neuropsychology at the Cognitive Brain Research Unit (Department of Psychology and Logopedics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki).

His work focuses on the neural mechanisms of music and speech perception and production (and their disorders, namely amusia and aphasia), neuroplasticity of auditory and cognitive functions, and the use of music-based interventions in various neurological illnesses (e.g., stroke, traumatic brain injury, and dementia).

Teppo Särkämö