Christina Tourin, CTHP, MT – Founder of the International
Harp Therapy Program (1990)

Christina studied the harp since she was 4 years old from
her mother Ruth Hersey, protege of Marcel Grandjany.
Christina continued her performance study at the
Mozarteum in Salzburg and McGill University in Montreal.
She received her Music Education degree from the
University of Vermont and Music Therapy degree from the
Arizona State University under the tutelage of Barbara
Crowe, who was the Director of Music Therapy
Department and past president of the National Association
of Music Therapy and active in the American Music
Therapy Association. In addition, Barbara Crowe is a key
instructor in our International Harp Therapy Program.
Christina created the International Harp Therapy Program
(IHTP) as a result of all those years of study, where she
has guided students from all over the world to work in
healthcare facilities with therapeutic harp playing.

In 1997, the IHTP joined the Complimentary Program at
the San Diego Hospice & Institute for Palliative Medicine.
Along with Massage; Aromatherapy; Reiki; Therapeutic
Touch; 11 other modalities, Harp Therapy received a
special place in the hospice supporting people in their last
phase of life. IHTP became a very sacred and beautiful
offering to the multitude of people who both crossed over
in their compassionate halls and who were able to go
home pain free to their loved ones.
The IHTP is blessed to have graduates and students from
32 countries serving on 5 continents. Today we have
exceptional Certified Therapeutic Harp Leaders who are
carrying forth the work of Christina Tourin as she continues
to direct IHTP, and prepare for retirement. The Affiliate
leaders and their teams are committed to take the IHTP
into the future so that many hospitals, hospices and other
healthcare institutions can integrate this wonderful work.
With many people continuing to benefit from the Sounds of
Music on the Harp, the staff in facilities have also
endorsed the changes in their work days with patients as a
result of beautiful, appropriate, calming music. Especially
noted during the pandemic when loved ones were
sequestered from their families, the presence of harp
music, and its vibrational energy was very powerful and
profound in helping with a sense of connection.

Harp therapy in ancient times

The harp was used in the world for several thousands of
years starting as early as the noticing the vibration from a
plucked sound on a bow by the caveman. Strings were
then added to lyres pulled across tortoise shells to create
music in the Egyptian, Roman and Greek cultures. Ancient
philosophers, Plato (428-348 B.C.) and Pythagoras
(570-500 B.C.), wrote about various modes that were used
for healing. As heard in Plato’s anima mundi, music speaks
to the worlds soul in a unique way that can help us
maintain inner harmony.
The Bible tells the story of King Salomon who is healed
from his depression by the harp playing of David.

During the Medieval ages at the hospice in Cluny, built in
A.D. 910, the harp was used in vigils as people were in the
process of dying. During the Italian Renaissance, the
influential humanist philosopher and priest, Marsilio Ficino
(A.D. 1433-1499), was the first translator of Plato’s
complete extant works into Latin.
In many cultural places we find pictures, statues and
paintings of harps. There are several well-known Greco-
Roman mythic figures related to music, such as Orpheus,
Hermes, Apollo and the Muses.