What is it and what is Music Therapy for?
Although music is in itself a true therapy for body and soul, music therapy, seeks to identify the ways in which, a certain harmonic sound can transmit some kind of effect to our organism.
Music therapy, also called Sound Therapy, is a discipline that uses the properties of sound and its vibration to alleviate or cure certain psychophysical dysfunctions, as our ancestors did.
The basic principle of sound healing is the concept of resonance, which is the vibrational frequency of an object.
Harmonic and melodic sounds are beneficial, while the annoying sounds, can create important pathologies if they are heard with a certain frequency.
As a result, they can not only affect the inner ear, but can have a negative effect on the behavior of people.
In fact, it is proven that noise causes aggression, instead a harmonious and cheerful melody favors optimism. The perfect resonance frequency has the ability to change our physical, emotional or mental states.
How does music affect our body and our mind?
Jordi Jauset, author of the book Music Therapy and Neuroscience, explains both the mechanisms at the brain level that trigger music, and the main applications of music therapy. Not only in the field of everyday life, but also, as regards the field of certain physical and mental illnesses.
On the scientific basis of Neuroscience, Jordi Jauset develops in his book the relationship between it, and music, to talk about the fundamentals, effects and therapeutic applications of music therapy.
Basically Neuroscience explains how the brain reacts to musical stimuli, from which a series of neurotransmitters and hormones that generate certain sensations are activated.
Since ancient times, music has been used to counteract the symptoms of certain diseases or conditions. According to Dr. Jauset, there are documents related to the effects of music on the body dating from 1800 BC.
The human body tends to synchronize with the rhythm of the music it listens to. For this reason, music therapy has been used both during pregnancy and to work with young children, for example.
Music Therapy as a complementary treatments in case of illness
Music, as a method of therapy, has been used to treat depression, drug addiction, alcoholism, obsessive behaviors and deficiencies in the therapeutic-pedagogical field, among others.
In the United States, France and Switzerland, for example, music therapy is used as a complementary treatment specialized in disorders such as autism, Alzheimer’s, psychosis, stuttering, language and learning disorders and psychomotor and sensory alterations.
Additionally, research has been done on the impact of music in other areas of medicine, such as the positive influence on the immune system, high blood pressure, cardiovascular and respiratory pulse and the perception of pain.
Historical facts of Music Therapy
The Egyptians used vases that contained water at different levels of filling. With this method, they created harmonic notes in their surgical interventions, in order to activate the endorphins, hormones that secrete a sedative or natural tranquilizer.
How did the current Music Therapy originate?
During the Second World War music was used in field hospitals, for cases in which there was no anesthesia. It was then, when a group of musicians offered to play to distract the wounded soldiers.
The results were surprising: Cases of depression decreased, the relationship between patients increased, the mood improved and the soldiers were prevented from losing contact with reality.
Nowadays, more and more hospitals are using the sounds in order to relax the patient. With children, especially, the effects are surprising, it has been proven that by using music therapy, they need lower doses of anesthesia.
It has also been found that playing music in the delivery room favors the birth. This therapy is used mostly in the treatment of serious diseases or for detoxification due to drug dependence.
The Sounds of Nature as a Music Therapy
Nature has a wide musical range, a large number of harmonious sounds that often escape our senses or we do not take the time to listen to them.
“Nothing is immobile; everything moves; everything vibrates”, one of the universal principles that today quantum physics endorses, and constantly studies.
This is the reason why music heals us, through the specific vibration that achieves harmony for our cells in conflict.
It is enough to find the appropriate frequency for our affections, thus achieving that our organism vibrate harmonically, finding the balance that it had lost, and consequently, the healing.
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That is also why, when we approach nature in a state of mindfulness, submerging ourselves in its harmony for a few minutes, we automatically feel relaxed, vigorous and with a sensation of incredible comfort.
Music Therapy is not just about listening to a song by our favorite singer or some special melody. We can enjoy the music of nature through the song of the birds, the wind moving the leaves of the trees, the water of the sea hitting the rocks or the flow of a river.
There are basically four types of primal sounds: Fire, air, sounds of water and earth sounds.
Natural sounds belong to the key of Fa and artificial sounds, such as a siren or telephone, are given in the key of La.
How should Music Therapy be applied?
The sounds that come from acoustic instruments it is used in conjunction with applying a massage.
For example, Tibetan bowls rebalance the cerebral hemispheres and stimulate the endocrine and immune systems.
Tibetan bowls serve as a meditation tool, as well as the modern handpan or tongue drum instrument.
The Tongue Drum, currently, is highly used in guided meditation sessions and even in yoga classes. On the other hand, it has become the favorite medium for those people who have difficulty when reaching a meditative state.
Through this instrument, you can easily connect to your inner self through the harmonic notes produced by the Tongue Drum.
There are other types of sounds, the supra-sounds or infra-sounds that are artificially created and applied in some hospitals to undo gallstones and kidney stones. The “good sounds” are a source of energy, of potentialities and balance.
A person stressed or distressed, sad or depressed will not accept the same sounds as a healthy, cheerful, expansive person. It is therefore very important to know what to listen and when to do it.
Sound of running water will calm a stressed person who has spent a lot of energy. While, the sound of the heart beats will help someone lost, cardiac coherence, etc.
Listening to our own breathing, activating states of alpha awareness, relaxes and lowers the level of inner agitation.
The crackling of the flames unconsciously activates the will; the sound of the air stimulates creativity. These are small examples of how sounds can influence us.
Sessions of meditation with music therapy create the propitious environment to disconnect the mind and distract the emotions, because to get to meditate with the blank mind requires a very intense and specific level of learning that not everyone easily achieves.
The singing of harmonics is a technique that is resurging strongly. It comes from Central Asia and was usually practiced by the Mongol and Tuvan races.
By using this song that consists of singing simultaneously several musical notes with their own voice, to put themselves in resonance with the spirit of nature imitating different sounds, like those of animals, wind, birds, etc.
They are pure sounds, which imitate flutes above the voice of the singer. This technique has an extraordinary result in the therapies of healing and transmutation of depressive states.
Lamas of Tibet, who also possess the gift of the wisdom of sound, use the harmonics to intone their prayers. These are the so-called “Chants of the deep voice”. With them they emit very powerful sound waves, capable of triggering vibratory processes of important effects in human nature.
Lyre: Instrument of magic attributions and celestial sound immortalized in the legend of Orpheus and its 7 strings tuned to the compass of the planets.
Harp: It evokes the sound cascades that, as a bridge, connect the earthly with the celestial.
Bells: These, awaken the conscience. That is why they are used as religious conveners. Tibetan bells induce introspection.
Zither: Hindu instrument of unmistakable sound that has sedative properties and activates consciousness to reach higher spiritual states.
Flute: It is an instrument that transports us to a celestial journey, to the abode of the eternal.
Bagpipe: The ancient Celts used it to induce certain states of exaltation. It is antidepressant. It is said that pipers used it on battlefields to give bravery to warriors.
Drums: The percussion transport the mind to other planes of consciousness. The African tribes use them to strengthen the spirit and make it more resistant to the trials of life.
The violin, the violoncello and the oboe: Classical instruments of clear divine inspiration. These have the ability to transport the listener to harmonic planes of consciousness, although more structured and solid.
The most used instruments for meditation today
Tibetan bowls: For centuries, the lamas and magicians of Tibet have manufactured and used special metal bowls to induce mental states of deep well-being, relaxation and meditation, as well as to treat certain ailments of body and mind.
To achieve the desired effects, the monks of the Roof of the World hit and rub them with a wooden stick similar to the classic mortar pestle.
Handled with mastery and according to ancient rites, the bowls produce a range of harmonic sounds, or enveloping overtones, that are kept in the atmosphere of the room for a period of time.
The sounds vary depending on how the stick is handled and the shape, thickness and metal composition of the container.
Handmade, the Tibetan bowls, also called singers, are almost always made from the alloy of seven metals, each of which symbolizes the following: gold (Sun), silver (Moon), mercury (Mercury), iron (Mars), lead (Saturn), tin (Jupiter) and copper (Venus).
Since a few decades ago, these bowls, as well as the so-called Tibetan bells, are used in alternative medicine with pseudoscientific basis to reduce stress, balance the so-called chakras (vital centers of the organism), increase body energy, achieve a sense of well-being physical and mental, and fight certain diseases.
The Hang, handpan or tongue drum: It is a 21st century instrument. It is a metallic disc composed of two hemispheres joined by the ding, the upper and the cu, the lower.
It houses 8 musical tones. It is played with the hands and gives off a celestial music. Many people use it in therapy because it creates really special and cosmic vibrations, as some of the people who use it would say.
Philosophy, Mathematics and Music
“Without music, life would be a mistake”. A great truth that the German philosopher Frederich Nietzsche left reflected in history.
Science has rediscovered the therapeutic power that makes music a true ally for our health. And it is not for less, since music accompanies us since the world is world.
In definitive, the music is mathematics that is interpreted by musical notes to create the harmonic vibration that reaches our senses through sound, and then, be transported to each corner of our body in a vibrational healing way.
It was Pythagoras who discovered that there was a numerical relationship between tones that sounded “harmonic” and was the first to realize that music, being one of the essential means of communication and pleasure, could be measured by integer ratios.
We know that the sound produced when playing a string depends on the length, thickness and tension of it. We understand that any of these variables affects the vibration frequency of the string. What Pythagoras discovered is that by dividing the string in certain proportions he was able to produce pleasant sounds in the ear. That was a wonderful confirmation of his theory: Numbers and beauty are one.
The physical and emotional world could be described with simple numbers and there was a harmonious relationship between all perceptible phenomena.
Pythagoras knew nothing about harmonics. He only knew that the length of the string with the ratios 1:2 and 2:3 produced pleasant combinations of sounds and built a scale from these proportions.
In his experiments, Pythagoras discovered three intervals he considered consonants: the tuning fork, the diapente, and the diathesis. We call them the octave, the fifth and the fourth because they correspond to the eighth, fourth and fifth sounds of what we know as the diatonic Pythagorean scale. We call it fifth because it corresponds to the fifth note of the scale.
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In addition, Pythagoras associated the golden ratio or number of gold to their combinations. This knowledge was later applied in some masterpieces by Mozart, Beethoven, Bartok and even the contemporary band Radiohead (in Rainbows).
Effects of Music Therapy on our Health
It is said that the cure through vibration will be the medicine of tomorrow, which does not seem at all far-fetched. We hope that science will investigate more about it, so that this technique may one day be disseminated as a viable cure for those who inhabit the planet. Would be wonderful!
Meanwhile, through music therapy, some curative effects have been proven, these are the following:
Calms anxiety and the cardiac respiratory rate
In a study carried out on 40 cardiac patients, they were asked to listen to soft music. Then, the heart rate was measured and their anxiety status was evaluated. The results obtained have allowed to affirm that music can be an effective way to reduce high levels of anxiety among cardiac patients.
A great ally to reduce heart complications
Observations made about patients admitted to a coronary care unit after having suffered a heart attack, could confirm that those who had listened to music for 2 days had fewer complications than those who did not.
Helps reduce blood pressure
According to a study carried out in 1989, it was possible to reduce the blood pressure of 9 people after they listened to a disc of piano songs. The heart rate was reduced between 4 and 5 beats per minute.
Reduce stress hormones
A study conducted by German doctors states that patients who listened to music chosen by them during a surgical intervention, showed lower levels of stress-related hormones: cortisol and ACTH.
Increase natural opiates
In a study conducted in California, in which volunteers were asked to listen to different styles of music, a percentage recognized having felt euphoria during the auditions. The researchers determined that this joy could only be measured by endorphins, the hormones that act as natural analgesics of the brain.
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Strengthens the immune system
After different studies, it has been concluded that the favorite music of a person, can create a deep and positive emotional experience, capable of dissipating the hormones that contribute to increase the processes of a disease.
It is beneficial in emotional unblocking treatments
The music of the German composer Mozart is widely used in autism treatments, learning disabilities, vocal or auditory problems and brain injuries.
Now that you know the importance of music for our health, enjoy it, pay more attention and soak up the melodies that make you feel good. Surely, it is a sign that you are harmonizing with it.