It’s never been more important than now to harness the healing powers of music to help us attain and maintain our health and well being. The sound and music in your life can have an enormous impact on your immune system and on your ability to reduce stress. But some music can do just the opposite – it can actually increase your stress, make your nervous system more nervous, and undermine your immune system. How can you choose the right music?”
The first factor is to understand that your “human instrument” is a self-healing organism – if given the chance.
Thesecond fundamental principleis that healing occurs most readily when we are in a state of deep relaxation.
The third principle involves the fact that your heartbeat and breathing rate respond involuntarily to the speed of an external rhythmic speed. This means that any music with a fast beat automatically causes your heart to beat faster. It is not a matter of personal choice!
Let’s return for a moment to the concept of relaxation, and why relaxation is so important. When your body relaxes, a specific set of physiological and psychological changes occur that empower the body to bring itself back into balance and heal itself. Relaxation can help prevent many stress-related diseases such as migraine, heart disease, hypertension and irritability as well as enhance the function of you immune system. When it comes to relaxation, there are few therapies more enjoyable than listening to music. But only certain, kinds of music are effective in evoking your relaxation response.
How to Create an Oasis of Serenity with Sound
Most music is composed as ‘entertainment’, and is simply too fast to allow your heart to beat slow enough to enter “the relaxation zone.’ This is true for most pop and rock music, and even most classical music. From Bach to Rock, most music acts as “sonic caffeine: and, as such, is an ineffective choice for these purposes. When the prescription calls for relaxation, you need music that is composed in accord with the biological needs of the “body/mind.” Such music should be composed with a therapeutic, healing intent, which adds a dimension of consciousness to the tones themselves, and thus enhances the overall benefit.
You won’t find such music on the radio or on the top forty charts. But it is available more easily than ever before. A growing number of musicians have focused on serving their listeners in this manner, and their CD’s and cassettes should be part of any holistic healing environment. For over 25 years, I have been researching and composing this kind of music. It was motivated by my own need to handle my own stress. I wanted something that could produce predictable, positive results, and produce them repeatedly, effortlessly, and enjoyably.
What I discovered in 1969 opened up a whole new field of music. I was able to identify combinations of tones, instruments and rhythmic context that played the listener’s ‘human instrument’ in a more harmonious and healing fashion than most music is capable of doing. This music has no hard edges or jagged rhythms. Rather, the actual textures of the instruments themselves are chosen to allow your body to open up to receive these vibrational nutrients.
In contrast, for many people, the sound of a violin, oboe, or even some overly-brittle pianos evoke a reaction similar to scratching nails across a blackboard. This is not to say that these aren’t wonderful instruments, or that music played with these instruments may not be wonderful for other reasons. There is a great deal of magnificent classical music that you may find appropriate for other purposes. That’s not the issue here. It is also not enough to say merely, “Listen to some music by Mozart.” That’s like saying, “East some food.” Are we talking processed junk food and saturated fats or living foods?
There is a great deal of recorded music, for example, that qualifies as “musical junk food.” Dr. John Diamond, in his landmark book, “Your body doesn’t lie”’ demonstrates with muscle testing (behavioral kinesiology) that who performs the music has an enormous effect on how you respond to a particular piece of music. Not only that – most of Mozart’s music, as most Baroque music, was composed at tempos faster than that of a relaxed heartbeat. So, when you read a headline that suggests “Listen to Mozart for a migraine” or something to that effect, Know that they are more interested in selling you something than telling you the truth.
Pay attention to your own responses, and you will know if the music is right for you. With respect to evoking a relaxation response, for instance, if the music makes your heartbeat speed up, choose something else. If you notice a pain in your neck or tightness in your chest area, know that the response may indeed be related to the music you are listening to.
Know too, that your reaction may be different from your friends. And your own reaction may also change from day to day. Trust yourself to know what’s right for you. When you find music that helps you attain and maintain a healthful relaxation state, use it consciously, and often. The more you surround yourself with vibrations of harmony, the more you will be supporting your own body’s recuperative processes and enhancing your own healing.
For more information of Steven Halpern’s INNER PEACE music, a free newsletter and brochure about his work, call: 1-800-909-0707, or visit him at www.stevenhalpern.com
Vol 16 Issue 4 page 1