May 06
HEALING WITH MUSIC by Alex J. Socorro  |  Posted in Articles  |  on Wed, May 6, 2009

“Maghapon ang Chopin dyan,” says a movie director while pointing to his cd player. Like others who drink to relax, this director takes up classical music seriously, not just for relaxation but also for rejuvenation. “Don’t you know that music can uplift the spirits and (probably) heal the body?”

In these times of so many products with no approved therapeutic claims, adding one more will not aggravate the situation. But it’s not herbal and not visual either. It’s just audio this time.

Vera Brandes, the self-acclaimed first musical pharmacologist, is the director of the research program in music and medicine at Paracelsus Private Medical University in Salzburg, Austria. She is also co-founder of Sanoson, a company that designs customized music for medical facilities. (Customized music is more of a piped-in design for soothing environmental effects in convalescent clinics.)

Presently, Vera and her associates are developing a type of prescription—music – which will serve as the therapeutic medication. They carefully sort out the music in trying to concoct the right blend for balanced medicinal compounds. Their music mixing is different from the DJ’s music remixing because the therapeutic medication is meant not only for the ear but also for the entire body of the listener. The approach is for a holistic (or wholistic) cure.

The process of diagnosis is not very clear yet although there is a claim that it is not a hit or miss scheme. The patient is actually analyzed for his background, likes and dislikes and, of course, the complaints are listed. Preference for music depends on the type of person, i.e., his inclination to a certain type of music.

And once a diagnosis is reached, the patient is prescribed a listening regimen much like that stored in Ipods. With the blended music, the package includes the schedule when the patient should listen. The timing of listening is very critical to the efficacy of the therapy. Music can be soothing, calming or even annoying depending on when and what one is listening to.

For the effective timing, the circadian cycle is taken into consideration. A circadian rhythm, according to Wikipedia, is a roughly-24-hour cycle in the biochemical, physiological or behavioral processes of living beings, including animals and plants. This is much like the person’s bio-rhythm which gained popularity in the 1980s.

The forte of Musical Pharmacologists is focused on psychosomatic illnesses and pain management. The list includes insomnia, anxiety, depression of any kind and certain types of arrhythmia (any condition in which there is abnormal electric activity in the heart—the heart beat may be too fast or too slow, and may be regular or irregular). But there are also claims they can cure some form of cancer.

Last year, Vera and her associates earned a citation at the annual scientific meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society in Baltimore, Maryland. It was for investigating the direct effects of music on patients suffering from hyper-tensions for which no organic cause can be found. It is said that beta blockers can suppress symptoms and, like beta blockers, properly blended music can address the psychosomatic root causes.

Further, the study showed significant improvement in the heart rate variability of patients after listening to 30 minutes of music every day. The innovative therapy, which was used in informal clinical trials, was mostly of mixed music and songs.

The prescription of a Musical Pharmacology is very similar to Sound Therapy where the energy is magnified by altering the frequency patterns of an individual. This frequency pattern is very much like the circadian cycle or bio-rhythm of a person.

The focal point of the application is on how to reap the effects of low frequency sound and vibration that affects human health and wellness. It’s actually like conditioning one’s mind for a better disposition that will lead to better health.

Since music is a natural stimulant, the individual is greatly affected by what music he hears. Imagine if you hear your favorite dancing tune, you may be unconsciously dancing along or simply moving to the rhythm. And there are times that you are unconsciously humming or mouthing the lyrics of a song that you hear.

In Sound Therapy, vibration is the basis for existence of anything in the physical, mental, emotional and even spiritual realms. The healing of the body is greatly influenced by somehow altering its frequency resonance.

Bio-resonance Therapy is a non-invasive therapy which utilizes the low frequency waveforms. The waveform is analyzed for stress frequency and once identified, the individual is prescribed a regimen consisting of music and light which can correct the nutritional imbalance in the body. And without taking any pill or tablet, detoxification results and balance is restored.

Unlike a Musical Pharmacologist who prescribes purely music, a Bio-resonance Therapist focuses on audio and visual features of the medication. Low-frequency sound plays a big role in the audio part while light is the focus of visual. Of course, color is a natural factor of light since visual’s primary flavor is the color.

In a sample prescription, a set of sounds (not necessarily music) is issued to the patient with the proper listening schedule plus the prescribed colors and lighting of the room. Setting the proper mood affects the person’s disposition and thereby invigorates the body. The prescription is to activate vitamins, minerals and other favorable substances that are present in the body that will eventually suppress the negative forces that cause ill health and imbalance.

Even in earlier times, there were already practitioners who harness good sound properties for health purposes. The healing technique employs the good effects of sound vibrations to counter the imbalances and deficiencies present in the body. “Oohm… oohm…” the yogi is one such practitioner.

It is a fact that our environment is a big contributory factor to our health. Dirty, noisy and disorderly surroundings can breed bad disposition thereby leading to mental, emotional and eventually physical ailments.. So maybe the others were right in saying that music can negate the pervading negatives in the environment.

Sa pagkatao mo ang awit ay tatagos
At sa kaluluwa ito ay hahaplos.
Sakdal na unawa ay makakamit
Sa dulot na ligaya ng aking awit.

So goes the refrain of the song Aking Awit…for music is the language of the soul and music can also be a salve for physical ailments.

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