Music Therapy

There are many healers on this Earth.

We tend to sway towards mass made big pharma products over those that are freely, and naturally available to us.

But actually the Earth is abundant with natural remedies and medicines and they don’t always take the forms that you might expect.

Music, is a healer.

A proven remedy and aid for a multitude of mental and physical illnesses.

Because of this, it is a recognised institution and profession across the World.

The BAMT is the British Association for music Therapy, and they are the professional body for music therapy in the UK, providing both practitioners and non-practitioners with information, professional support and training opportunities.

So how does it work?

BAMT explain it as “using the qualities and musical components of rhythm, melody and tonality to provide a means of relating within a therapeutic relationship”.

That’s a little simply put though, so let’s dive deeper.

It’s believed that music is a core function of our brain. Infants as young as a day old have shown response to change in rhythmic patterns. Globally, mothers and fathers rock their children to sleep and sing lullabies to sooth them.

From an evolutionary standpoint, music precedes language.

Music is also memory, by association. Therapy has proven successful many times in those suffering from Dementia and Alzheimer’s where music therapy has triggered memories, even if only momentarily and sometimes long term.

Music can also be used as a form of expression, a useful tool for those with conditions like Autism and Asperger’s. We use rhythm, sound, tone, pitch etc as we speak, so using music to communicate or express ourselves is rooted within our basic code, which is why the practise of Therapy through Music is highly successful.

Music is also predictable and structured (most of the time) even soundwaves and chords are organized into ratios that the human brain finds easy to break down.

Using structure, repetition and logic are all useful tools in therapy even when used to treat emotionally triggered conditions, where often logic doesn’t take place.

 

The Remo drum company invented a round instrument that mimics the sound of the womb and when tested on premature babies proved to sooth them and slow their heart rate.

Listening and playing music increases the bodies production of the antibody Immunoglobulin A which helps fight off viruses and boosts the immune system so it is understandable why it is used widely across many medical fields.

In fact, music as treatment is so effective, that in 2013 Trends in Cognitive Sciences published that listening to music was more effective than prescription drugs in reducing anxiety.

So when we break the science of music medicine down even further, we can begin to apply it’s potential in helping and even curing other illnesses.

Music is sound, and sound is vibration, very simply.

Currently being researched by Lee Bartel, PhD of University of Toronto is the use of vibration to ease the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, Fibromyalgia and Depression. It is known as Vibroacoustic Therapy and is the treatment of using low frequency sounds applied directly to the body.

The goal of such research is to develop music as therapy and medicine that serve specific neurological functions and attend to deficits so that music is not only viewed as a cultural phenomenon, but as a vibratory and therapeutic stimulus that has cognitive and memory dimensions.

And whilst therapy through music in the modern World is advancing, these practices have been around for some time.

In ancient China, physicians developed a systematic approach of incorporating musical notes into the healing process.

It is called the Five Element theory which is foundational to traditional Chinese medicine.

Each organ is given an association to one of the elements; Earth, Water, Fire, Metal and Wood and each element has a note or sound derived from Classical Chinese music – jiao, zhi, gong, shang, and yu.

The system is as follows:

Jiao (E) – Wood Element – Influences the Liver

Zhi (G) – Fire Element – Influences the Heart

Gong (C.) – Earth Element – Influences the Spleen

Shang (D) – Metal Element – Influences the Lung

Yu (A) – Water Element – Influences the Kidney

Practise has proven successful many times with the use of the Five Element Theory reducing stress, anxiety and assisting in the recovery of many patients but no scientific validation can actually be accredited to the association of particular keys healing specific organs.

So is there room for Music in the medical field?

If anything it seems common sense to assume that something that generates an emotion could have the potential to generate a physical reaction, as it already does. We already dance, we already use music to study, we already sooth our children to sleep with lullabies, so why should it seem so far fetched that music could be used to rehabilitate someone with dementia or aid someone through physical therapy?

There is absolute truth in natural cures and musical therapies and thankfully, the World is beginning to take notice.

 

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