From the dawn of civilization, music has been used successfully to induce states of physical, mental, and emotional relaxation and to promote healing.
The first sound we are ever aware of is the constant rhythm of our mothers’ heartbeats. We are all rhythmic by nature. Our feet will tap naturally to the beat of a rhythm. When we enter a room where music is playing, we walk to the beat of that rhythm, usually without even noticing.
Music evokes memories of times gone by, and the feelings, memories and emotions of that time immediately returns to us, triggering all sorts of emotional and physical sensations such as joy and warmth, or fear and sadness. Music may also be used to create feelings of calmness, tension, excitement, or romance. The way in which we listen to music can increase our ability to receive optimum relaxation and healing benefits.
How to Listen To Music for Relaxation and Healing
- The healing effects of music are cumulative, so it is a good idea to develop a regular routine. Short sessions performed regularly are much more effective than a few longer sessions. 10 to 30 minutes, in the morning and in the evening is very beneficial to the various systems in your body.
- Begin by eliminating as many distractions as possible. Turn off or disconnect the telephone, dim the lights, and start the music. After choosing a comfortable volume, lie down and get as comfortable as you can. Relax. Take a few deep breaths. Let the music embrace and flow over you. After listening for a few minutes, add a relaxation exercise: Starting at your feet, gently tighten, and then relax your muscles.
- Visualize the music working upon your body, affecting the appropriate system, balancing and strengthening it. Imagine the music encircling you, flowing through you and filling you. Do not be concerned if you fall asleep, it is a sign that stress is being released and the music is having other intended effects. When the music ends, take a few moments to relax – no need to get up until you are ready.
According to the American Music Therapy Association the 20th century discipline of Music Therapy began after World War I and World War II when community musicians of all types, went to Veterans hospitals around the country to play for the thousands of veterans suffering both physical and emotional traumas from war. The patients’ notable physical and emotional responses to music led the doctors and nurses to request the hiring of musicians by the hospitals. This then lead to formal studies of music as a healing practice.
Current scientific studies have shown music therapy helps to relieve pain and reduce stress and anxiety for the listener, resulting in physiological changes, including improved respiration, lowered blood pressure, improved cardiac output, reduced heart rate and relaxed muscle tension. Simply listening to music for one hour a day can ease pain levels by up to twenty percent, Cleveland Clinic researchers have recently found. Music can even reduce the need for pain medication. Research has also shown music can stimulate the release of endorphins in the brain, which helps mask pain.
Experiment with different types of music for your own on-going wellness. If a particular song or instrument strikes a relaxation or healing chord, then you have found your own secret!
Jeff Gold composes soulful and spiritual instrumentals which have received the attention of wellness centers, spas and music therapists for their tranquil and healing qualities. His CDs are always in Amazon’s top 10 lists for healing and relaxation music. Jeff composes and arranges his own music, plays the guitars and piano, creating other instrumental sounds with his keyboard and computer. Jeff’s very special nephew, Russell, became a big fan of these soothing instrumentals because they help to calm him and make him feel better. Russell then passed his uncle’s music on to his other friends on the autistic spectrum who also enjoyed it and found it made them feel better too. Jeff has 3 grown children and lives in Northern Los Angeles County with his wife, landscape painter Diane Nelson Gold. Follow Jeff on Twitter or visit Amazon.com to experience his music.