Healing music for your body & soul

By Sergio González | 11:25

Music is a power tool to make us feel happy

It’s amazing that 2,500 years ago the Greek philosopher Socrates realized that the more he learnt, the more he learnt how little he knew. We look back at Ancient History and learn it as if it were actual history but the truth is we know so little about our ancestors’ world that we tend to think they did too.

We look at music therapy -the art of keeping or improving our health by listening to certain music- as another cool features of modern life, though the healing power of music was discovered long time ago. Hippocrates -father of Western medicine- and Aristotle recommended ‘long sessions in the music-room’ for recovering patients as early as 400 BC but using rhythmic sounds and music for healing is way older. Archaeologists have found remains and representations of these healing ceremonies, for body injures as well as for spirit aches, all along the planet. Last year, a 40,000 years old caveman flute was found in Southern Germany.We created instruments and learnt how to play them much before we learnt agriculture or writing. 

Remember that scene in Avatar when the Na’vi gather around to be n’sync and sing magically to heal Sigourney Weaver? That’s pretty much it. It may seem like a naive scene -‘oh, come here, I shall cure you with my music’- but it’s a fact we are re-discovering it now. Take out the blue body painting and the gigantism of Pandora’s people and that’s how we first healed with music and how many people still do it nowadays.

19th century explorers found the earliest examples of healing music ceremonies all along Africa, from Ethiopia to Zimbabwe, but we approached them from anthropology and they were understood as just a colourful part of their culture. Lately, it’s medical researchers who are digging into music therapy oldest ways to see if they can learn something from the past.

University of California (UCLA) conducted a study on healing ceremonies of the Ashanti people in Ghana and discovered that the rhythms they played were not only interesting as part of their folklore but also pretty accurate for mind healing. Music and our brain both work in waves and adjusting their frequency to different match levels -synchronizing Hz- works wonders for our health. Actually, the magic is performed by inaudible high frequency sound waves, ultrasounds between 800,000 Hz and 2 million Hz, perfect for skin recovery and damaged tissue growth. The ideal chemical free and a non-invasive treatment. According to Dr. Concetta M. Tomaino, music therapy expert and founder of Institute for Music and Neurologic Function, listening to music has many more medical applications. It releases endorphins lowering stress and pain but it’s also capable of triggering memories, provide motivation and promote learning.

‘Music is my medicine’

Scientists keep on working to reveal the most hidden secrets of music as a healing tool but it’s something we all know and feel by heart. Many of us use music to help concentrate when studying or working or to help keeping up the rhythm when working out but certain songs trigger emotions on us the second they start playing and we go to them whenever we are blue or in a mood.

One thing we all should keep in mind before going back home to play sad music to help us get out our inner feelings of anger or powerlessness is that our brain is n’sync with music. In simple words, sound works in Hz and so does our brain, so be careful what you feed him. It’s not a bad idea to play several I-hate-the-world songs when life kicks you in the ass -psychologists always recommend to express out our feelings- but make sure they’re followed by some let-it-gos to finally end up with tons of fun grooves and uplifting melodies.

This is one pattern of music therapy but you should find yours. But remember the goal is to get out happier and relaxed not sadder than when you began. If you want to boast its healing effects 100%, gather your best friends and hit a Nhow hotel where music is cherished to elevate your stay.

 photo credit: JD Hancock

photo credit: shankar, siv

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