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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Let the Healing Music Wash Over Me

"Soothe me baby, soothe me
Soothe me with your kindness
For you know your powerful love is
Soothin' to me"
-"Soothe Me," Sam Cooke

Recorded music can be strong therapy. Musical healing is used to help treat different physical, mental, and emotional problems. It has been proven to be effective because people have definite, measurable responses to certain sounds and tones. Music can induce states of relaxation and increased well-being, which practitioners believe makes both the mind and body more receptive to recovery.

Music therapy has gained credibility in the medical community due to a large amount of supporting research. This alternative therapy may help those who suffer from these conditions:

* Depression

* Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

* Substance Addiction

* The Need For L-O-V-E  (Dr. Thompson and Sam Cooke)

"Getting the "Vibe" or the "Groove"

We all have experienced the power of music while listening to recordings, attending concerts, or hearing an artist perform in church or in some other public ceremony. The music we heard did "something" to us that we didn't really understand. It elicited immediate emotions, yet, somehow, it struck deeper chords inside our bodies.

Did you ever consider that the music we hear may be "pleasing" to our bodies as well as to our spirits? 

Healing with sound is related to the effects of sound vibration. Research of the connections between the brain and immune system has shown that the nervous system provides a definite connection between emotional responses and immune function. When sound waves travel through the ear canals to the brain, these waves are converted to different frequencies of electrical energy. These enervated frequencies then move down the spinal cord and are picked up by the nerve fibers of the autonomic nervous system.

Music can be a healer as it produces marked changes in the body's vital signs. These include respiration, blood pressure, heart beat, and muscle contraction. Melodic, soothing tones from a harp or piano have been shown to relax certain muscles and lower blood pressure, which can have the positive effects of reducing mental anxiety and speeding up the physical healing process.
(Angela Farrer, "What Is Musical Healing," WiseGeek, 2003)

“There is something about music that evolves over time, as do emotions. When we hear the song, we re-live the emotional sequence that happened when we first heard it,” says Professor John Sloboda of Keele University and author of Music and Emotion, “that’s why music is more powerful than, for example, smell or painting, it draws you into a sequence of re-lived experience.”
You can actually "anchor" emotional states to particular songs.

Stanley Jordan, in An Introduction to Neuro-Linguistic Programming for Music Therapists says “Internal states are essentially feeling and emotional states and when these states become conditioned responses to stimuli, the stimuli are called anchors and these anchors can be used to gain access to these emotional states”

Jordan goes on to explain that "setting" an anchor means forming the association and "firing" an anchor means recreating the stimuli to elicit the emotional response.

(John Slobada, Music and Emotion: Theory and Research, Oxford University Press, 2001)

Here are some examples of recordings that might help you set various emotion anchors:

Gloria Gaynor: "I Will Survive" (strength and resilience)

James Taylor: "You’ve Got A Friend" (reassurance and companionship)

Nat King Cole: "When I Fall In Love" (relaxation and tenderness)

Listen to These Songs and See If You Experience a Unique Emotional Response

Anchors aweigh!

Jeff Buckley  "Hallelujah"

Van Morrison  "Into the Mystic"

Simon and Garfunkel  "Sounds of Silence"

Uncle Cracker  "Follow Me"

Eva Cassidy  "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"

The Impressions   "People Get Ready"

“What seems to happen is that a piece of familiar music serves as a soundtrack for a mental movie that starts playing in our head. It calls back memories of a particular person or place, and you might all of a sudden see that person’s face in your mind’s eye. Now we can see the association between those two things—music and memory.”
--Petr Janata
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