Music — A doorway to the soul and a harmonic path to healing

“All the tragedy in the world, in the individual and in the multitude, comes from lack of harmony. And harmony is best given by producing harmony in one’s own life.” — Hazrat Inayat Khan, The Music of Life

by Dudley Evenson — 

All cultures on every part of the planet, from ancient times to this day, have used music in some way to lift the spirit and to enhance the healing process. Music, because of its nature, is a link between the external and internal worlds, a bridge to the spirit and a doorway to the soul.

Sound affects the vibratory rate of every part of the body and directly impacts the mental processes, muscles, nervous system, digestive system and circulatory system. No wonder both mainstream and alternative healthcare practitioners have discovered the benefits of using music as a support for the healing process.

Why do music and healing work so well together? In addition to the pleasant environment music provides, there are many reasons music actually supports and extends the benefits of the healing process. In his landmark book, The Mozart Effect, Don Campbell states that “by listening to music with longer, slower sounds, one can usually deepen and slow the breath, allowing the mind to calm down. As with breathing rates, a lower heartbeat creates less physical tension and stress, calms the mind, and helps the body heal itself. Music is a natural pacemaker.”

Stress. The American Institute for Preventative Medicine cites it as a key player and contributing factor in both heart disease and cancer, two leading causes of death in the United States. Best-selling author and physician, Dr. Andrew Weil, concurs, saying, “I am convinced that stress is the primary cause or aggravating cause of the majority of illness.” Tension in the mind translates into tension in the body and can cause a state of dis-ease in the body’s organs and systems.

How exactly does music support health and well-being? Healing music, as we have discovered, is much more than just slow music with nature sounds. Research has identified multiple reasons for the music’s positive effect. A few are listed below.

  • Slow rhythms entrain bodily systems (heartbeat, pulse, digestive system, respiration, muscles) to a more natural rhythm.
  • Natural sounds, if present, provide a sense of peace.
  • Tones are nurturing, clear, warm and gentle.
  • A slow pace creates a sense of joy and beauty.
  • Music without words does not have hooks or repeated refrains that engage the mind.
  • Its feeling is natural and flowing.
  • Sub-audio frequencies, if present, entrain brainwaves to the alpha or theta state.

A relaxed body and sense of inner calm are beneficial for restoring health and maintaining balance in the face of disease. Often, the mind needs an extra tool to assist it in releasing disturbing or repetitive thoughts. Music has the ability to give the mind another focus and helps lower stress levels which, in turn, helps strengthen the immune system.

Healing is about realigning the body with its own innate blueprint and returning it to a dynamic state of balance from a temporary state of imbalance. A primary way sound heals is through physical and emotional resonance, which occurs when two energy systems vibrate at the same frequency. Certain music will cause the body and its systems to resonate with it and help the body return to a state of balance.

Another aspect of healing with sound involves slowing down the brainwaves. Our brains emit a continuous and often varying vibration, reflecting the state of our consciousness and attention. When we are in a peaceful, calm and meditative state, our brains emit alpha waves (7 to 14 hertz or cycles per second) and we are more receptive to healing. Theta brainwaves (4 to 7 hertz) are emitted in an even deeper, more dreamlike state.

Music with very slow sub-audio frequencies can help entrain the brain to reach the desired states. Music containing very low frequencies under its mix can extend the healing effect of a practitioner’s work and support self-healing.

The level of healing gained through any musical piece is a function of the balance between intention, harmony, resonance, frequency, rhythm and entrainment. Because music is an art form, there are also creative and artistic levels to consider.

More morose and moody slow music will not have as positive an effect on the healing process as joyful, uplifting music that carries a sense of beauty and spirituality. The good news is that lots of healing music is available today to support the healing process and help the individual return to a state of wholeness and harmony with oneself.

 

Dudley Evenson and her husband, Dean, are sound healing pioneers with more than 50 albums for yoga, meditation and healing. Their music is being used at Walter Reed Army Medical Center to help wounded American troops. www.soundings.com or 1-800-93-PEACE.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 26, Number 2, April/May 2007.

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