Music Therapy

Let our heartbeats, brainwaves and gastrointestinal motility dance with music. By Li Rulan
Music Therapy

Many medical experts have long tried to use music as a therapy method and they have seen surprising effects using this innovative way of healing

The Beth Israel Medical Center in New York has done a medical experiment. Andrea Zalkin hummed a lullaby for her 13-week baby of premature birth and found that her baby’s heartbeats gradually turned gentle and regular and oxyhemoglobin saturation increased during the process. In the experiment, musicians adapted the parents’ favorite tunes into lullabies and sang for the prematurely-born babies. Amazingly, the music was found to be helpful for the premature infants in achieving normal development process.


The Human Body has Vibrating Systems Similar to Musical Rhythms

Music therapy is also effective to adults. Scientists have discovered that the human body has vibrating systems similar to musical rhythms including heartbeats and pulse, brain waves and gastrointestinal motility. When the vibrational frequency of the music and human inner organs achieve consistency, a pleasant sensation will be aroused. In fact, very often people resort to music therapy unconsciously. For example, they will select the type of music fit for their mood to get some comfort. This also proves music’s power to adjust the conditions of body and heart.

The melody and rhythm of music can stimulate patients’ brain cells, autonomic nerves and body response, as well as helping with recovery and re-establishment of mentality, mood and social behaviors.


Cure Depression and Alleviate Chemotherapy Pain

A study conducted in Finland has found that music therapy proves to be more effective than traditional method in curing patients with depressions. Seventy-nine patients have joined the experiment. All of them received traditional therapy while 33 of them also received music therapy at the same time. Three months later, the 33 patients who received music therapy have much improvement in their conditions. Professor Christian Gold from University of Jyväskylä explains that when patients fail to find proper language to express their inner feelings, music is a good channel for them to express it non-verbally.

Music is also proven to be able to alleviate the pains of cancer patients. The American Cancer Society published articles to show that music therapy is often used in cancer cure to alleviate patients’ pain, anxiety and nausea after chemotherapy. Although there is no evidence showing that music therapy can directly cure cancer, it can indeed provide some assistance in improving the life quality of cancer patients.

The proven curative effect of music therapy include healing children with developmental delay, autism, Down syndrome and somatopsychic disturbance; as well as adults with long-term insomnia, high pressure, nerve injury or Alzheimer’s disease.


Fuel the Body During Exercise

Music therapy can also be applied to sports to realize a higher efficient usage of physical power. With the help of music, the body is able to more easily to achieve balance and harmony without too much move adjustments. Scientific American once published an article to discuss the amazing relation between music and the human body. The article explains that when people are doing exercise, music with proper frequency can relieve fatigue. Like a metronome, music helps people stay with stable pace and run longer while running by reducing physical output.


Classical Music is More Effective than Rock

Studies show that infants, animals and plants all prefer classical music to other types. Psychologist Dr. Adrian North from University of Leicester and his colleague Liam MacKenzie found that when they played soothing classical music to cows, their milk yield was much improved. However, noisy music gave no help.

Spanish scientists further discovered that the foetus also shows likes and dislikes to music types even though they are still in the womb. A foetus who is 12 weeks away from expected date especially loves gentle, melodious and highly harmonious classic music of Mozart and Verdi, yet rejects heavy metal music a lot.

Mozart’s music not only endures but also features various amazing effects. According to professional analysis, the Mozart Effect lies in the fact that its melody conforms to the operation mode of the human brain. The Mozart Effect was firstly proposed on the authoritative scientific journal NATURE in 1993. Two professors from University of California carried out experiments to prove that 10 minutes immersion into Mozart Sonata can improve intelligence.


Five Notes and Five Elements

The Five Notes Healing theory was already put forward over two thousand years ago in China’s most ancient medical classic Huangdi Neijing (The Inner Canon of Huangdi). In traditional Chinese characters, “music”(乐) is very similar to “medicine/herb”(药), with the former lacking only a character radical (“艹”meaning herb) to the latter, which subtly imply the relation between the two. It is true that music therapy and music wellness practice are often applied to China’s ancient medical science.

Traditional Chinese Medicine is convinced of the relations among five notes, five organs and five elements theory, believing that five notes gong shang jue zhi yu, known as do re mi so la today, can nurse and bring benefits to the five inner organs of human body – heart, liver, spleen, lung and kidney. Although there is no specific counterpart between each five, there is no doubt that music can generally benefit human health.