Throughout history music has played a part in ceremony and healing. Written references to the powerful force of sound go back to the ancient Greeks and Egyptians. In your own life you may recall a time when a certain musical piece brought you to tears or filled you with inexplicable joy.

Music has a very real and measurable effect upon your physiology. Your heartbeat will synchronize with the beat of external sounds through a phenomenon known as rhythm entrainment. The scary side of this is that most music today has upwards of 100 beats per minute. When your body tries to synchronize with this, it can put a great deal of stress on your system. On the positive side, knowing this, you can choose to use music for healing.

The effects of music on the physical form have been clearly demonstrated in studies with plants. Cleve Baxter and others have shown through controlled experiments how different types of music impact a plants growth. If you are looking for evidence, you can easily reproduce the results in your own home by playing various musical pieces to your plants and noting their growth patterns.

Some of the earliest official studies with humans were undertaken by composer Steven Halpern in his work at the hospital clinic of Dr. Irving Oyle. There he found that music could help speed the recovery time of surgery patients, stop babies from crying and even stop arguing between nurses.

In addition to helping to induce relaxation, certain sounds can help you to work more effectively, increase productivity and enhance your creativity. To learn how music affects you, try the following experiment suggested by Don Campbell, author of ” The Mozart Effect”:

For the next five days, set aside ten minutes of listening time. Select one of your favorite pieces of music that doesn’t have vocals. You will use this same piece throughout the week.

  • On the first day, sit or lie comfortably and close your eyes. Breathe slowly and deeply. Make note of whatever feeling, thoughts or sensations you experience.
  • The second day, listen to the piece while you are doing one of your everyday activities – washing the dishes, going through your mail, etc.
  • On day three pretend you are the conductor of this piece of music.
  • The fourth day, listen to the music while you are eating your meal.
  • On the fifth day, relax as you did on day one. Make note of how your experience or appreciation of the piece has changed since day one.
  • “The power of music to integrate and cure. . . is quite fundamental. It is the profoundest nonchemical medication.” – Oliver Sacks

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