Music Can Heal: From Ancient Times to Modern Science
You may have seen this more and more: music therapy. Research has shown that music has a profound effect on your body and psyche. And those who practice music therapy are finding a benefit in using music to help cancer patients, aid therapy for children with ADD and others, and even hospitals are beginning to use music to help with pain management, ward off depression, promote movement, calm patients and ease muscle tension.
If you have ever listened to a song that felt like it was moving through your body, then this is not surprising to you.
Ancients have used music to heal for centuries.
The Aboriginal people of Australia healed with sound. Their ‘yidaki’ (modern name of this instrument is the didgeridoo) has been used as a healing tool for at least 40,000 years. The Aborigines have been said to heal broken bones, muscle tears and illnesses of every kind using their enigmatic musical instrument. Interestingly, the sounds emitted by the yidaki are in alignment with modern sound healing technology. It is becoming apparent that the wisdom of the ancients was based on ‘sound’ principles. Other cultures that healed with sound include the ancient chants of Egypt, the gong of Tibet and healing sounds to corresponding organs of ancient Chinese medicine.
Modern science has now been discovering the benefits of music therapy. Here are the ways research proves it’s efficacy:
1. Brain Waves: Research has shown that music with a strong beat can stimulate brainwaves to resonate in sync with the beat, with faster beats bringing sharper concentration and more alert thinking, and a slower tempo promoting a calm, meditative state. Also, research has found that the change in brainwave activity levels that music can bring can also enable the brain to shift speeds more easily on its own as needed. What this means is that music can bring lasting benefits to your state of mind, even after you’ve stopped listening.
2. Breathing and Heart Rate: Alterations in brainwaves have an impact in other bodily functions. Those governed by the autonomic nervous system, like breathing and heart rate are altered by the changes music can bring, as well. This can mean slower breathing, slower heart rate and an activation of the relaxation response. This is why music can help counteract or prevent the damaging effects of chronic stress, greatly promoting not only the feel good of relaxation, but actual health. People have been incorporating binaural beats to their meditations which has a powerful effect on the brain.
How do these beats work?
Binaural beats are created by playing two loud tones in each ear that are very close in frequency. The brain processes this by filling in the difference and creating a third tone that is roughly the difference of the two, creating an effect on the brain. This effect was discovered in 1839 by Heinrich Wilhelm Dove and earned greater public awareness in the late 20th century that binaural beats could help induce relaxation, meditation, creativity and other desirable mental states.
3. State of Mind: It’s been found that music can also be used to bring a more positive state of mind, helping to decrease depression and anxiety. This can help prevent the stress response from wrecking the body, and can help keep creativity and optimism levels higher, bringing about so many other benefits.
4. Other Amazing Health Benefits: Music has also been found as beneficial in other ways like lowering blood pressure, (which can also reduce the risk of stroke over time), boost immunity and ease muscle tension. With so many profound findings, it’s no surprise that so many are seeing music as an important tool to help stay healthy.
So kick back and listen to some tunes today, your ears won’t be the only part of your body to thank you!
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