Music: The Language of Healing
Music is a universal language. That’s because rhythm and harmony are more than musical elements – they are the energetic foundation of life, nature, our universe. Their vibrations have the power to expand the heart, transform the mind and heal. In fact, music is the earliest form of medicine, dating back tens of thousands of years to the first shamanic drums and songs. Today, song-healings are practiced throughout the world as more health seekers learn that singing, playing an instrument or listening to certain music can bring deep healing, peace of mind, spiritual growth and a greater connection to nature.
As an integrative physician and traditional Chinese medicine practitioner, the healing power of music has always been an important part of my practice and family life. Harmony and tempo help synchronize the rhythms of the natural world with the “music of the heart” – each person’s individual energetic pattern, expressed in their pulse. The heart pattern is best understood through the lens of traditional Chinese medicine, which teaches the diagnostic qualities of different pulse patterns in analyzing health and disease. And music may have the power to influence these biological rhythms more than any other factor.
The Power of Music
That’s why I’m so inspired by my daughter, Amity who has been creating original music since she was young, and just recently released her powerful, uplifting song and video called “Me and My Guitar”. In it, Amity tells a beautiful story of the healing power of music to help express your inner nature and find your spirit’s truth beneath the layers of obstructions. Amity is dedicated to sharing her talents for the benefit of others. When she performs, people express just how uplifting her music is, particularly when she’s played for chronically ill people who are often deeply touched by her inspiring songs of healing and transformation. Needless to say, as her father and as a healer, I am beyond proud of her.
You can watch the beautiful new music video “Me and My Guitar” on YouTube here:
Music in Medicine
What’s also exciting is that science has begun to explore these ancient rhythmic connections which have stood at the heart of culture, spirituality, and healing for millennia. Today, the study of music in medicine is a rapidly expanding field which is taking it beyond complementary, supportive therapy. A growing number of published studies show that music can play an active role in health and disease. An even larger number of books have been written for general readers, highlighting the numerous and remarkable benefits of music and sound. From increased healing, spirituality and personal growth – to better cognitive ability to greater emotional stability, music and sound therapy can make a powerful difference in people’s lives.
An interesting review of recent clinical studies on music and physiology was published this year in the journal, Nutrition. The article, titled “The Impact of Music on Metabolism,” explores the ways that music can affect various physiological and metabolic pathways to improve cardiovascular health, pain management, post-operative recovery, gastrointestinal health, metabolic health, vital energy, exercise recovery time and more. Listening to music was shown to increase growth hormone levels, decrease cortisol and inflammation markers, and regulate adrenal pathways to improve responses to stress. In one study reviewed, music therapy reduced the occurrence of acute and congestive heart failure events in cardiovascular disease patients. In another study, pre-term infants exposed to music therapy showed numerous benefits including improved respiration and oxygenation, increased weight gain, reduced pain, greater nutrition intake and reduced hospital stay. Other studies of music’s effects on gastrointestinal health and metabolism showed that music therapy improved digestive function and efficiency, increased metabolism, and may support healthy weight. Studies on music and athletic performance showed that listening to music while exercising may help to improve cholesterol and total lipid profiles as well as total body fat ratio.
Modern science has just begun to scratch the surface of music and sound in terms of healing potential. However, traditional medical systems from around the world have long revered the beneficial vibrations of music, harmony and rhythm for health and vitality. The effects are instant and tangible, but they are also powerful and long lasting.
So make a cup of tea, sit back and relax, and play some music you love. It may be one of the best things you can do for your health.
To watch Amity’s moving music video and song, click here, and enjoy!
Best of Health and Happy Holidays,
Isaac Eliaz, M.D., L.Ac.