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For Your Health Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Piyoo Kochar, United States Aug 14, 2004
Health   Opinions


For Your Health Music can be defined as "the fine art concerned with the combination of sound with a view to beauty of form and expression of emotion". To me music is, "sounds in melodic or harmonic combination". Music is known to have many effects on the human mind. The one that I want to discuss here is the psychological effect of music; the most pronounced ones are on the behaviour and temperament of the individual. The emotional experience derived from music has a powerful effect on the formation of one’s moral and intellectual outlook. Musical activities often lead to the development of imagination and creative thinking. Music inspires and enthuses both the listener and the performer, thus acting as an important and powerful weapon on the overall emotional well-being of an individual.

Here I wish to talk about the deliberate therapy through music, which has been attributed to Orpheus of Thrace in about 1350BC. His idea was to restore harmony between mankind and the cosmos and so unite living and inorganic matter, an early expression of the holistic philosophy. At the end of the 17th century, John Aubrey commented, “Physicians say that Music conduces to the lengthening of life by stirring and reviving the Spirits, holding a Symphony with them; disposes the Mind to Virtue, especially an Organ well touch'd.”

The therapeutic applications of music can be listed as of five categories: background, contemplative, combined, performing, and creative. Background music has been used in hospital situations, generated by means of radio or television programmes, record players or tapes. Contemplative therapy may be individual or collective, involving sessions of music preceded by information regarding the composer and the work chosen.

Combined therapy is a selection of music which agrees with other therapeutic measures. One example uses hypnosis, where a group of patients suffering from sleep disorders are placed in comfortable surroundings, instructed to close their eyes, and allowed to relax to a melody. Creative music therapy is a form of catharsis. The simplest form is the choral performance, where patients co-operate in making music.

Music therapy has not been regarded as mainstream, traditional medicine. However, it has far-reaching uses and has been used successfully with all ages and disabilities. Even the hearing impaired is known to benefit from the rhythm and vibrations that music produces. Research has proven that music therapy and education can decrease pain perception, anxiety and depression, increase relaxation and immune defences, encourage resolution of grief issues and reduce stress-related cardiovascular and endocrinologic reactions.

In a study performed by several physicians in England on qualified subjects, there was a significantly positive difference between pre and post music therapy intervention. (Gideonse, 1998) It was speculated that music could assist subjects in their recall and reminiscence about a time when they were more satisfied with life.

Music therapy, when individualized, can provide opportunities to socially interact with others, create emotional intimacy, and assist the individual in becoming more aware of self and the surrounding environment.

Other internal rewards of music therapy are that the use of music can reduce loneliness and depression. But music should be suited to the person's era and musical tastes. Music that is too loud may cause sensory overload and agitate the person with dementia. We need to choose music that is soothing. The proverb, "Music soothes the savage beast" really takes on a new meaning in this context.

Music puts more emphasis on lifestyle and cultural factors in maintaining health and quality of life. Therefore the profession of music therapy has been more concerned about health in general in society. According to me music contributes to the quality of life in the following four areas: 1) Music increases our feelings of vitality and awareness of feelings, 2) music provides opportunity for increased sense of agency, 3) music-making provides a sense of belonging and communality, and 4) experiences of music creates a sense of meaning and coherence in life.

To conclude, it is helpful to recollect what Heinrich Heine wrote in 1821: "Music is a strange thing. I would almost say it is a miracle. For it stands halfway between thought and phenomenon, between spirit and matter, a sort of nebulous mediator, like and unlike each of the things it mediates - spirit that requires manifestation in time and matter that can do without space. . . . We do not know what music is." Finally, music is all around us, we have only to reach out and take as much as we need."



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Piyoo Kochar

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never tried it myself but it soudns effective
avril fairclough | Oct 31st, 2004
I agree with the whole concept of music being therapy. It can have an astounding affect on your mood and therefore emotional well-being. i find that it could also put you into a much more superficial mood meaning that you might benefit from it since this is the mood required in order to make a recovery. I find that whenever i play music i am placed in that realm for a short while but it is not truly how i am feeling (or is it?) and it does contribute to life since i walk out feeling in a certain way. i have never had experience form musical therapy but it sounds like an intersting and possibly effective way of solivng cultural and other health problems!

David Martin | Dec 21st, 2004
I can't say that I am in need of attending some sort of music therapy session with a pychological professional, however, I can agree that there is a place for music as therapy in the world. Music is just one of many unique and often overlooked aspects of our daily lives that is theraupuetic (i.e-pets-therapy dogs have been used in nursing homes and similar settings for years to lift spirits of those in need). As I said previously I will probably never attend a music therapy session, but I know first hand that music can help ease the mind and soul. As a musician, playing or writing a piece whether it be a song about love, mourning, or having fun, is one of the best ways to be at peace within.

SASWAT RATH | Mar 20th, 2005
Music and health! Thats what I say 'made for each other'... I beleive music can be very helpful in stress releiving, and could reduce many life stlye diseases. In a fast moving world, if you want to relax - Music does the magic. Piyoo, you have corelated music and health wonderfully.

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