We have come a long way from the time man first learned to make music using a primitive, home made drum or hollow stem cut from a tree. Today, it could be said that making music is a high-tech industry where digital, even computerised instruments of one sort or another, form a large part of the scene.
From the days of primitive man our emotions have been influenced by musical rhythms, an exhilarating beat makes us tap our feet or encourages us to dance or move in some other way to the rhythm. We feel happy and uplifted, our worries and cares seemingly washed away by the ebb and flow of the sounds. Although you may not realise it, music has power – the often irresistible power to dominate our thoughts and the way we behave!
Scientifically, ongoing research has found that music can stimulate lethargic brain function, encourage the will to exercise after some major operations, help treat depression, stress, and some mental conditions. It is also being used to clinically treat insomnia. heart palpitations, hyperactivity and some psychological problems, to name but a few.
Based on the concept that music can conduct and move energy in the body (very similar to the principles of acupuncture without needles), an innovative form of musical therapy has been developed by Janalea Hoffman, an expert in the musical therapy field. According to Ms Hoffman, beautiful music composed at exactly 50 beats per minute has proven to be particularly effective for chronic pain such as arthritis, back pain, headaches, and as an aid to relaxation.
Although scientific research into the manner in which music affects the workings of the mind and body (psychoacoustics) is relatively recent and ongoing, findings to date suggest that there is, indeed, evidence to show that music has various physiological effects. For example, it has been found that certain types of music can excite the peptides in the brain and stimulate pain-killing endorphins, natural opiates secreted by the hypothalamus. Such being the case, these findings could be said to echo those of pioneering musical therapists, to date.
As a practising psychologist, I am convinced that music has a profound therapeutic effect on the mind and body. Indeed, I have used gentle, soothing, non-obtrusive background music for some years to great effect when treating patients. I also find that many patients using specially selected musical therapy CD’s at home between consultations, even after treatment is finished, derive great benefits, both in physical and mental health. .
If you believe, as I do, that “prevention is better than cure”, musical therapy can help you keep a calm mind, aid relaxation and positive thinking. It is also known that many chronic aliments are psychosomatic by nature, such as arthritis, rheumatism, asthma and some chronic skin problems and ailments.
Even if you think that musical therapy is far too simple a remedy, my honest advice is….think again. Try it for yourself, you may be pleasantly surprised – indeed, thankful!
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