Music and Healing
A Sampling from Chapter 7
Dr. Oliver Sacks, a neurologist who has written many professional papers and books, and done studies on Parkinson's Disease, Tourette's Syndrome, and Alzheimer's has said, "Whenever I get a book on neurology or psychology, the first thing I look up in the index is music; and if it's not there, I close the book."
Countless research studies have been done on the healing benefits of music. In fact, there are over 900,000 references on music and healing. Raymond Barr, head of the Coronary Care unit at Baltimore's St. Agnes Hospital says, "For adult patients, half an hour of music produces the same effect as ten milligrams of Valium."
We now know that music affects the EEG in the entire cortex, and not, as once thought, in just a part of the brain.
What Kind of Music?
So we know that music can promote healing - but what kind of music is best? There is research to prove that listening to Mozart's compositions raised IQs and improved attention and behavior in children. But clearly, not everyone responds to music in the same way.
What ultimately works in choosing music for healing is to select what pleases you and also achieves the mood or balance that you want. Mozart, baroque, or any evenly paced classical music can help to steady your conscious awareness and increase your mental organization. For loosening up, listen to romantic, jazz, or classical music from the Romantic period.
When you want to relax or slow down your pace, start with music at a moderate or faster tempo to match your metabolism, and then gradually switch to slower and slower music. When you want to wake up or have more energy, start with slow, quiet music and then gradually switch over to louder pieces with a faster tempo.
Normalize Your EEG with Music
Music played at a moderate or moderately fast tempo, without too many abrupt changes in dynamics (loud and soft) helps to normalize the EEG. In Concertos, Sonatas and Symphonies, look for tempo markings or sections titled "Andante, Allegretto, or Allegro."
For best results, do not listen to music for more than three hours at one time. If you find that you've had music playing for more than three hours, turn it off and take a break. The brain responds to variety and too much of any one stimulus produces a kind of fatigue and even irritation.
You are unique. Experiment with different types of music, and be aware of the effects each style of music has upon your mental, emotional and physical well-being. Listen to yourself. You are the ultimate guide and healer.
Visit my Harp Website to learn more about music and healing - including samples from my CD of specially chosen healing music.
The Mozart Effect
is a phenomenal music healing resource center, very well known in the field of music therapy. Here you can experience the Mozart Effect for yourself.
Four Gates Music Therapy
offers an in-depth look at many aspects of the relationship between music and healing. Our music is not just a pleasant entertainment — it is also our medicine.
Healing Bibliography represents the passion of pianist and composer Shirley Kaiser. She is involved with ongoing research into the healing and spiritual aspects of music. Her recommendations for further resources are well worth the time.
What Is Healing? Amrita Catrell has written a very good summary of exactly how music is healing. Her site also lists good references and books.
"Sally Fletcher demystifies this
- American Library