Music has always been a great healer. In the Bible, we learn about how David played the harp to help ease his severe depression of King Saul . Music is a significant mood-changer and reliever of stress, working on many levels at once.
Many experts suggest that it is the rhythm of the music or the beat that has the calming effect on us although we may not be very conscious about it. They point out that when we were a baby in our mother's womb, we probably were influenced by the heart beat of our mother. We respond to the soothing music at later stages in life, perhaps associating it with the safe, relaxing, protective environment provided by our mother.
Music can be one of the most soothing or nerve wracking experiences available. Choosing what will work for any individual is difficult, most will choose something they 'like' instead of what might be beneficial. In doing extensive research on what any given piece of music produces in the physiological response system many unexpected things were found.
Many of the so-called Meditation and Relaxation recordings actually produced adverse EEG patterns, just as bad as Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. The surprising thing was many selections of Celtic, Native American as well as various music containing loud drums or flute were extremely soothing. The most profound finding was Any music Performed Live and even at moderately loud volumes even if it was somewhat discordant had very a beneficial response.
Whenever the proper sounds were experienced an amazing right/left brain hemisphere synchronization occurred. The normal voltage spiking pattern changed to a smooth sinusoidal waveform and the usual voltage differential equalized. The entire human energetic system is extremely influenced by sounds, the physical body and chakra centers respond specifically to certain tones and frequencies. Special consideration should be given to the positive effects of one actually playing or creating music themselves.
Music / Singing
Play a tune on the guitar and sing along. That works even in the worst of times. By the time I'm done with the song, I've breathed deep, I've controlled myself to some degree to be able to sing on key :-), and I've come back into myself, and more into the real time moment.
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- Among the first stress-fighting changes that take place when we hear a tune is an increase in deep breathing. The body's production of serotonin also accelerates.
- Music was found to reduce the pain during dental procedures.
- Playing music in the background while we are working, seemingly unaware of the music itself, has been found to reduce the stress.
- Music was found to reduce heart rates and to promote higher body temperature - an indication of the onset of relaxation. Combining music with relaxation therapy was more effective than doing relaxation therapy alone.
Maximizing With Music Therapy
As we mentioned before, there is not a single music that is good for everyone. People have different tastes. It is important that you like the music being played. The following are general guidelines to maximize the effectiveness of the music.
To wash away stress, try taking a 20-minute "sound bath." Put some relaxing music on your stereo, then lie in a comfortable position on a couch or on the floor near the speakers.
For a deeper experience, you can wear headphones to focus your attention and to avoid distraction.
Choose music with a slow rhythm - slower than the natural heart beat which is about 72 beats per minute. Music that has repeating or cyclical pattern is found to be effective in most people.
As the music plays, allow it to wash over you, rinsing off the stress from the day. Focus on your breathing, letting it deepen, slow and become regular.
Concentrate on the silence between the notes in the music; this keeps you from analyzing the music and makes relaxation more complete.
If you need stimulation after a day of work, go for a faster music rather than slow calming music. When going gets tough, go for a music you are familiar with - such as a childhood favorite or favorite oldies. Familiarity often breeds calmness.
Take walks with your favorite music playing on the walkman. Inhale and exhale in tune with the music. Let the music take you. This is a great stress reliever by combining exercise (brisk walk), imagery and music.
Listening to the sounds of nature, such as ocean waves or the calm of a deep forest, can reduce stress. Try taking a 15- to 20-minute walk if you're near the seashore or a quiet patch of woods. If not, you can buy tapes of these sounds in many music stores.