How do you feel music?
We have long known the power (creative and destructive) of music. It evokes and brings forth so many emotions from deep within us. It nourishes and cradles us. It excites us and strengthens us. The “right” music can also incite us into a frenzy, to purge, to release, to move that energy through.
We play different music to relax or sleep, to psyche ourselves up, to focus and increase productivity, and to connect spiritually, or when we work out, celebrate, take a road trip, and nurse a broken heart. Music is everywhere – at home, elevators, malls, operating theatres, recovery rooms, schools, our iPod or phone…In therapy, sound is used to clear, entrain, give emotional support, help dogs with thunderstorm and fireworks phobias, and so much more. (We use music from Through a Dog’s Ear.)
In The Power of Sound, author Joshua Leeds shares intriguing information about the ear and the body. Most cranial nerves lead to the ear, and the vagus nerve is no different and there, it attaches to the inner and outer eardrum.
Called the Wanderer, the vagus nerve goes down the body to the thorax and abdomen and regulates an impressive number of organs.
What does this mean? Joshua Leeds writes –
This vagus nerve-acoustic interaction means that mixed into the parasympathetic instructions to our major organs are vibrations from the eardrum…The ear brings in energy that touches us from top to bottom. Sound is not just vibrating the eardrum. It is actually resonating the entire being.1
The research by Fabien Maman, founder of Tama Do, on the effects of sound frequencies on the energy fields of cells shows that “the color and shape of each cell and its subtle energy field (Aura) changed according to the pitch and timbre of each musical note” and that unhealthy cells would be destroyed with the healthy ones being energized.2
In this study on auditory processing, the researchers “demonstrated that the sleeping brain is able to process auditory stimuli” which further underscores the impact of sounds on our biology, even when we are unaware. It is not only sudden sounds and also the constant humming of common household appliances.
The importance of our soundscape to our health and well-being cannot be understated. Have you noticed that when you are stressed, tired, or have a migraine, your tolerance of certain noises is reduced? Many kids on the spectrum and those who suffer from trauma are also hypersensitive to sound. That’s a macrostate, with many underlying microstates.
Let’s not forget our super-eared animal companions.
Music as Healing
Hal A Lingerman, in The Healing Energies of Music, presents a very interesting perspective on using music for different purposes – activating the physical body, release emotions creatively, and increasing clarity and mental power for yourself and family. He goes through how different types of music help and gives suggestions for composers, arrangements, music scores, etc.
Anyone interested in working with the elements will find this book a fantastic resource. Even though much of the music included is classical and Western, he does include a few international pieces, further suggesting the Nonesuch Explorer series of recordings to experience music from around the world. (The appendix runs from page 150 to page 190 with even more selections, along what they are good for, eg. emotional cleansing, meditative, activates both physical and emotional natures.)
Love Shubert? Hal A Lingerman sees this great composer’s music as “the wanderer in eternity, never at home on earth, yet warm and good-hearted while passing through” and that Ave Maria is “music of unconditional love, devotion, and surrender that transmutes sorrow.”3
Music opens doors and portals, to hearts, and as Richard Wagner said, “music is the universal language.”
The universe is a tonal harmony of many sounds – many lives interacting and vibrating together as they fill the great silence.
Hal A Lingerman4
Music to Energize the Physical Body
Based on the numerous suggestions given in The Healing Energies of Music, below are three pieces of music for activating the physical body. According to Hal A Lingerman, brass, percussion, heavy sounds of bass notes, and (most of) electronic music are good for this purpose.
The next time you feel you need more physical energy, try listening to marches, overtures, epic soundtracks, and lively songs. He shares that when he played Pomp and Circumstance by Sir Edward Elgar at a nursing home for a music therapy class, “the entire atmosphere was changed. The nurses smiled at each other, the spirits of the patients were uplifted, and for some time afterwards their conversations became far more animated. Their faces looked less aimless and more focused.”5
Because this music can be so powerful, he reminds the listener to take care with the volume, intensity, and frequency and for overtures, to only play two or three at the most in one sitting.
1 Leeds, Joshua. The Power of Sounds | How to Manage Your Personal Soundscape for a Vital, Productive, and Healthy Life. Healing Arts Press, 2001. p32.
2 Sound Cellular Research www.Tama-Do.com.
3 Lingerman, Hal A. The Healing Energies of Music. Theosophical Publishing House, 1983. p122.
4 Lingerman, p1.
5 Lingerman, p16.