Music as medicine

Music is received by the body through the ear and the bones usually act like a tuning fork which in turn stimulates the neurological fields. This indicates that even individuals with disability can receive these healing effects of music. Although individuals have autonomous responses, it has been established that they are affected by music. It is however important to note that music played at higher register increases tension while that played at lower register reduces tension. This is directly linked to the way the brain responds to music.

One can experience music by: analyzing its structure which comprises of the melody, form, tone, harmony and rhythm; feeling it; realizing the effect on the pulse rate or the spirituality. When used as medicine, music is usually applied in a manner that affects the health of the client directly. Music is, in this case, used to reduce pain and therefore affects the outcome of the treatment. Vibrational therapy classes bring about various physiological changes for instance they may reduce the muscle tension, pulse rate and even blood pressure.

Studies have also established that music applied as medicine reduces stress hormones and consequently increasing the immune hormones. Music helps us deal with different types of emotions and feelings which eventually lead to healing. It has been established that when we ignore our feelings either consciously or unconsciously, they tend to pile up inside. Music and sound form the main tools for dealing with the feelings that are deeply rooted inside the body, soul and mind. It is therefore time that we viewed music as a powerful source of healing for both communal and individual diseases.

It is also important to know the type of music that we will consider healing. Many will perceive healing music as one that makes them relax. This forms only one of the types of music that is healing. However, when choosing the type of music that is healing, one must be aware of the required outcomes then decide one that suits this situation. For instance, if an individual is feeling low or depressed, music that contains fast rhythms may be considered appropriate for this situation. This indicates that there are elements that should be put into consideration when deciding on music for healing.

These elements include; lyrics, melody and harmony, complexity, speed, rhythm, volume pitch and tone as well as instrument selection. (Le M, Katherine C, 1994) • Lyrics From the words in any given piece of music and therefore determine whether music will be healing or not. This implies that music that contains words that are full of hate is not healing because healing music must contain lyrics with loving or uplifting words. • Melody and harmony Harmony is created when two or more musical notes being played appear like they go together and at times compliment each other.

Music that is sung in minor key is usually seen to be more emotional or moving and can be used for medication or emotional healing. Melody on the other hand, is the line in music that that we usually find ourselves singing or even humming along with. This is because the listener usually associates the tune with something similar in the past or probably by listening to it previously. While a simple melody is seen to be relaxing, a difficult or complex melody can be very simulating. In medical situations however, music that has definite melody is used for deep relaxation which leads to pain management.

This is because the brain, in this situation, cannot think ahead and anticipate but rather tends to disconnect the urge to consciously listen and therefore tends to relax in it. • Complexity In orchestra warming up, any given instrument usually plays good short music with each performer playing a different piece of music. This music appears crazy and therefore the brain becomes so uncomfortable because it is seeking to find order. This calls for one to choose what harmony to be listened. Complex music is usually is more simulating and therefore used for medication purposes.

• Speed This phenomenon involves the number of beats per minute (BPM) of any given music. A benchmark of 80 BPM can be used in determining the speed of any given piece of music. Music that picks a speed of 80 BPM or less leads to relation while a speed of 80 BPM or more is usually stimulating. The natural beat of the meditative kind of music is usually difficult to establish although it below 80BPM. • Rhythm This is involves the length and accent of the sounds and as established earlier, the more complex the rhythm the more stimulating the music is to the listener.

Slower or simpler rhythms bring a relaxing feeling to the listener. The loud booming sounds are usually over-stimulating to the nervous system and consequently used for healing but may also damage one’s health. • Volume Electrical pulse in ears is usually caused by sound waves and therefore the higher the volume results to more pressure. This implies that lower volume relaxes while higher volume stimulates. As stated earlier, the anticipated outcome determines the kind of music that should be played. The outcome expected tells us whether the music played need be loud or soft.

Softer music is therefore used for pain relief and relaxation in meditative processes. • Pitch and Tone Instruments and voices are usually analyzed by studying their pitch and tone. It has been found that music that contains narrow range of pitch and tone tends to sooth while that with varied tone and pitch is stimulating. • Instrument selection Instruments play an important role in the way in which music affects our body, mind and soul. All types of instrumentation can be healing in many ways but the medication is brought about by the combined effect of all the factors mentioned above.

(Le M, Katherine C, 1994) Conclusion This paper has discussed the healing and restorative powers of music. It is evident that music plays a significant role in the society when it comes to healing people. This mainly achieved through musical therapy (diversion and entrainment) as well as music when it is used as medicine. When choosing the type of music that is healing, one must be aware of the required outcomes then decide one that suits the situation. Reference: Le M, Katherine C (1994) The Origins, Form, Practice, and Healing Power of Gregorian Chant

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