“My heart, which is so full to overflowing, has often been solaced and refreshed by music when sick and weary,” said Martin Luther
Music has been around for centuries, entwined with our very existence for long as we know. Found not just in the rhythm of our heart but also in nature, in the pitter patter of raindrops, in the rustle of the autumn leaves and the bird songs.
Every culture, every civilization has patronized its music and musicians for time immemorial. From Mozart to Michael Jackson, from Mian Tansen to Pt. Bhimsen Joshi, music has always managed to transcend boundaries, bringing us closer, despite our differences.
It is no surprise then that we gravitate towards it both in times of despair and hope.
A couple of years back one of the radio stations, introduced a new program called, Music Healers, across Metro cities, wherein people could volunteer as Music Healers every fortnight and spend time playing music for the elderly living in old age homes. Initially, many assumed it was an initiative which helped people spend some quality time with the aging generation often forgotten by their young. Adding a spark to their lonely lives, give them something to look forward to, new friends, some fun conversations over some soothing music. What got overlooked was that music was a key ingredient of these sessions for a different reason, it helped the elderly members of the old age homes, cope with loneliness, depression and even physical pain.
Isn’t that amazing how music can heal not just the soul but the mind and body too.
According to Dr. Sara Ahmed, a general practitioner and a Huffington Post columnist, “Evidence has shown that our brains perceive music as a ‘reward’. Listening to our favourite songs results in a rise in dopamine levels, just as some antidepressant medications aim to do. This reward occurs in the parts of the brain that are thought to be linked to the regulation of physiological responses to emotional stimuli. The therapeutic effects of music are currently being researched. It is well known that it can be successful in stimulating memories in dementia. There is some evidence to suggest it can be used to improve well-being in anxiety and depression.”
“Waveforms and frequencies permeate everything from the smallest sub-atomic particles to the largest structures – through solid objects and energy fields – even our thoughts and emotions. When we are feeling good, all aspects of our being can be said to be in harmony. When we are experiencing discomfort on any level, or sickness occurs, the vibrations of certain sounds can help bring us back to a harmonic, healthy state,” states Paul Lenda, author of “The Creation of a Consciousness Shift“
Today the healing powers of music are being used in all kinds of medical procedures, from helping people recovering from a Stroke, restore speech, to aiding pain relief and side effects of cancer therapy.
In a study conducted by Hans-Joachim Trappe und Gabriele Volt of Ruhr University Bochum, on the effect of different musical genres on the cardiovascular system, he found that Classical music by Mozart and Strauss notably lowered blood pressure and heart rate, whereas no substantial effect was seen for the songs of ABBA and all musical genres resulted in notably lower cortisol (stress causing hormone) concentrations.
There is a reason why children are raised to lullabies and we turn to music to mend our broken hearts; why we find expression in music when words fail us.
So go on, give your body, mind and soul the food it craves, press play and let the music flow..