Years ago as a single mom of three, I experienced firsthand the dramatic effect of music. As I stood at my kitchen sink in a highly agitated state, beautiful piano music filled the room. I literally felt the stress leave my body as the healing power of the music surrounded me. The music was coming from my tenant, who had permission to walk in my house and play the piano. He had no idea I was home.
The effect on me was immediate, whereas if I had taken a pill to calm down it would have taken time, not to mention the possibility of adverse side effects.
Music heals. It improves moods, creating a more positive state of mind that can help keep depression at bay. It stimulates brain cells, resulting in sharper concentration and more alert thinking.
Music can reduce your heart rate and blood pressure, thus lowering your risk of stroke and other related health problems. While negative emotions may trigger our pain response, music taps into the neurochemical pathways of healing, releasing endorphins that act as natural painkillers.
According to a study published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing, listening to music daily can reduce chronic pain by up to 21 percent. The study also revealed that listening to music allowed people to feel more in control of their pain, thus less disabled by their condition. (1)
Music evokes strong emotions and can alter how we perceive the world around us. It can stimulate certain areas of the brain, speed healing, decrease anxiety and increase optimism. Is there a drug on the market that can claim to do the same without potentially harmful side effects?
Why does music heal? Very little is known about why it has such healing properties. However, there is an ancient philosophical concept, commonly referred to as the harmony of the spheres. Pythagoras believed that the sun, moon and planets all emit their own unique hum based on their orbital revolution and that the quality of life on Earth reflects the tenor of celestial sounds that are physically imperceptible to the human ear.
For me, that is exactly why music is such a powerful force. It has the ability to touch us at a deep level, ever-reminding us that we are a part of a greater whole, which operates in perfect harmony. It reminds us that our natural state of being is harmonious and helps us realign when we’re stressed and in a state of discordance.
Below is an excerpt from an article called “Music in the Nursery” by Kate Mucci that elegantly describes the miraculous healing power of music.
A tiny infant lies in a neonatal ward. The heat of an incubator replaces the warmth of her mother’s arms; tubes filled with nutrients replace her mother’s milk. Every breath is a struggle. Her underdeveloped heart beats erratically. All around her are other infants in distress — the monitors attached to them bleep in time with their struggle to live. Fear is on the faces of anxious parents hovering as close as possible. Nurses scurry to and fro, dealing with crises every moment…
In the midst of this, a harpist enters the ward. She begins to softly play an ancient lullaby. After a few moments, the monitors steady. Nearly all of the infants breathe more easily; their heart rates steady, and they rest. Many of them fall into deep sleep — the first they have had since the harpist last was here. The nurses relax, and smiles of relief grace the faces of the parents when they see the tiny souls absorbing the healing power of this beautiful music.
Yes, what the world needs now is simply more and more beautiful music.
1. Siedlecki, Sandra L. and Good, Marion. “Effect of music on power, pain, depression and disability.” Journal of Advanced Nursing Vol. 54.5. June, 2006: 553-562.
Journal of Advanced Nursing Press Release, 5/24/06
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