Whether you are listening to it, creating it, or playing it, music has the ability to connect you to mind, body and spiritual wellbeing.
Music influences the way we feel and affects our Mind, Body, and Spiritual wellbeing. We have all experienced the emotional shift that occurs while listening to music. The enjoyment of music appears to involve the same pleasure center in the brain as other forms of pleasure, such as food, sex, and drugs. Evidence shows that an aesthetic stimulus, such as music, can naturally target the dopamine systems of the brain that are typically involved in highly reinforcing behaviors.
Here’s Why We Are Naturally Drawn To Listening To Music
Music is a part of the cycle of natural life. Music is based on rhythm and harmony. Human life is based on rhythm. Day and night, seasonal changes, and all physiological and biological functions are rhythmic. We inhale and exhale, our hearts beat in systole (contraction) and diastole (expansion or relaxation.) Sleeping, eating, menstrual cycles, walking, talking, and other, if not all, functions of life are rhythmic.
History Of Music Therapy
Since ancient times, music has been recognized for its therapeutic value. Greek physicians used flutes, lyres, and zitters to heal their patients. They used vibration to aid in digestion, treat mental disturbance, and induce sleep. Aristotle (323–373 BCE), in his famous book De Anima, wrote that flute music could arouse strong emotions and purify the soul. Ancient Egyptians describe musical incantations for healing the sick.
Pythagoras, Aristotle, and Plato were some of the earliest philosophers to approach the healing and transformative power of music. Pythagoras came to believe that music was not only linked to mathematics but also that it was an expression of something deeper. These Greek Philosophers developed a system of thought that identified four ends of music. These ends were:
- Moving or imitating emotions
- Giving pleasure
- Disposing toward moral virtue
- Fostering intellectual advancement.
Plato believed that music is “directed principally towards the soul” and that the first end of music is to educate “through habits, by imparting by the melody a certain harmony of spirit that is not science, and by rhythm, measure and grace.”
Not unlike Greek philosophers, Native Americans believe in harmony between mind and body and spirit and the connection with music. Tribes in Native American cultures believed that health was an expression of the spirit, mind and body. If anything was off, illness and harm would come their way. Only when harmony was achieved could health be restored.
Healing practices of Native Americans go back thousands of years and differ slightly between tribes. Many not only used herbs, roots and plants to create remedies for medical problems, but also believed in certain ceremonies and rituals to cure the ill. In addition to herbal remedies, the tribe would often come together to help the sick through ceremonies, dances, prayer and chanting.
Symbolic healing rituals and ceremonies were often held to bring participants into harmony with themselves, their tribe, and their environment. Ceremonies were used to help groups of people return to harmony; but, large ceremonies were generally not used for individual healing. Varying widely from tribe to tribe, some tribes, such as the Sioux and Navajo used a medicine wheel, a sacred hoop, and would sing and dance in ceremonies that might last for days.
Music therapy in the 20th Century began to be more widely used and accepted in both World War I and World War II. Professional and volunteer musicians would offer their services to wounded, sick, or mentally ill soldiers suffering from trauma . The patients’ physical and emotional responses to music were extreme and notable, and led the doctors and nurses to continue requesting musicians’ presence in hospitals.
5 Ways Music Tunes Into Mind, Body, and Spiritual Wellbeing
- It Help With Your Fitness Routine: Several studies claim the ability of music to kill pain! The same neural pathways that process pain also happen to process music. When you are deep into a tune and even humming along, it uses up some of the “bandwidth” that the pain would usually occupy, which can make your workouts longer and more enjoyable.
- It Boosts Your Immune System: McGill University in Montreal studied 400 research papers regarding the neurochemistry of music, and found many benefits including a boosted immune system. The findings from the university included that music increase levels of immunoglobulin A that helps your body fend off viruses. It also boosts antibodies responsible for destroying bacteria that slips past your body’s security systems.
- It Helps With Your Memory: Scientists found that music induces a state of meditation and relaxes the brain. Thus, the effect of music on memory is that it allows our brains to become more disengaged, or more free of “debris” which hinders proper functions.
- It Reduces Your Anxiety and Stress: Several studies have shown that when people undergoing surgery hear calming music, they have lower blood pressure and need less pain medication than those who don’t listen to soothing music.You don’t have to be preparing for surgery to calm yourself with music, though. Simply listening to music can decrease your blood pressure, lower your levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and reduce your heart rate.
- It Connects You To Your Higher Self: Music can play a central role in the spiritual life of a person or community. Music has a transcendent property that can connect you to something greater than yourself and has been proven to positively affect spirituality and quality of life.
Whether you are listening to it, creating it, or playing it, music has the ability to connect you to mind, body and spiritual wellbeing. Allow yourself to be free and feel the healing that comes from turning on to the many vibrations of music.