MUSIC THERAPY: CAN IT CHANGE THE STRUCTURE OF YOUR BODY?
People have long used music for many purposes, including relaxation, healing rituals, and spiritual inspiration. Music reduces stress and stimulates creativity. It can provoke all the emotions and assist us in grieving, or provoke ecstasy and dance.
Healing sounds focus on the ability of harmonics to create vibrational changes. These changes occur in the physical body, or in the mind, emotional and etheric bodies which can initiate transformation and healing.
THE MIND/BODY CONNECTION
Increasing scientific evidence supports the powerful communication between the mind and body. It is a widely accepted belief that medical treatment is effective only when the whole person is treated body, mind and spirit. Music has been referred to as a universal language. It crosses culture and historical backgrounds. Its use in therapy with profoundly handicapped patients suggests that music is an effective means of communication when other means fail. Music is believed by many to be an important asset in creating healing environments.
Dr. Alfred Tomatis, a surgeon in the specialty of Ear, Nose and Throat and who later in Applied Psychology, has conducted many research studies about hearing. Our sense of hearing is one of the first that is developed and activated, in utero. For each of us, the first sounds we ever knew, were the sounds of our mother’s heartbeat (approx. 50 – 60 beats/minute); the soft whooshing sound of our mother’s breath in and out, much like the sound of distant surf coming in and going out (12-15 cycles / minute), the tone of our mother’s voice, muted and high pitched resembling the sound of a dolphin. These were the first sounds that connected us to our bodies and the world around us.
We are rhythmic creatures. Inasmuch as all matter is vibrating, our bodies are a series of overlapping rhythmic patterns: heartbeat, pulse(s), brainwave activity, electrical currents from our muscles, etc. When we speak, the variations of pitch, tone, volume and rhythm, are responsible for communication.
Sound is an extremely powerful tool for healing, personal growth, and spiritual transformation. For centuries, sound has been used successfully to induce states of physical, mental, and emotional relaxation.
HISTORY OF SOUND IN MUSIC
History tells us of the value music has as a therapeutic tool. From the dawn of civilization music was used to heal. In ancient Greece, Apollo was both the god of music and medicine. The ancient Greeks said “Music is an art imbued with power to penetrate into the very depth of the soul.” In the mystery schools of Egypt and Greece, healing through sound was considered a highly developed sacred science. In ancient Egypt, the professions of musicians and physicians were combined. Around 4000BC, Plato shared this profound belief, “Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, gaiety and life to everything. It is the essence of order, and leads to all that is good, just and beautiful, of which it is the invisible, but nevertheless dazzling, passionate and eternal form.”
HOW DOES SOUND AND MUSIC HEAL?
Studies show that music helps to increase the serotonin and growth hormone levels as well as the ACTH or stress hormones. Music can transport people from a Beta (waking) brain state to Alpha (deep meditative) brain state, while remaining awake. Music can affect blood pressure, pulse rate, circulation, brain wave activity, metabolism, and countless other physical and emotional responses. It is also during the theta state when people are the most receptive to healing.
Researchers believe that the brain either contains specific circuits or specific chemistries that, when touched by the sound of music, come alive in a way to make us feel emotional. They can measure these changes by utilizing a variety of imaging techniques such as PET (Positive Emission Tomography) and EEG’s (electro-encephalogram) to look inside the brain to see how it perceives music. In a more practical way, we can play a variety of music and observe our physical and emotional responses. The music we listen to will resonate inside our head, and trigger any number of emotional and physical sensations such as peace or fear, joy or sadness, warmth or chills. It is a defining human experience, and one which science is only beginning to understand. Eventually, researchers hope to find out exactly how the brain interprets emotions from sound.
HISTORICAL EXPERIMENTS WITH SOUND
In the early 1800’s Ernst Chladni demonstrated the affects of sound vibration on matter. Chladni has since been called the father of acoustics. He was a seventeenth-century German scientist and amateur musician who, in 1809, hypothesized that sound could move matter. He proved this theory through a series of dramatic demonstrations utilizing sand sprinkled on a plate that was affixed to a pedestal. He then drew the bow of a violin around the circumference of the plate. Astonishingly, the sand rearranged itself into intricate geometric designs that changed as the sound changed.
The scientific study of sound and matter was continued by the late Hans Jenny, a Swiss doctor, artist, and researcher, who published the book Cymatics – The Structure and Dynamics of Waves and Vibrations in 1967. In his studies, Jenny showed what happened when he took various materials like sand, spores, iron filings, water, and liquid substances, and placed them on vibrating metal plates. Astonishing shapes and patterns appeared that resembled many of the geometric shapes in nature. Jenny utilized crystal oscillators and an invention he called the “tonoscope” in order to vibrate the plates. His work became known as Cymatics, which comes from the Greek word kyma or wave. Cymatics has been interpreted as the study of wave form phenomena, or how vibrations, in the broad sense, generate and influence patterns, shapes, and moving processes.
In his research, Jenny noticed that when the vowels of the ancient languages of Hebrew and Sanskrit were pronounced, the sand took the shape of the written symbols for these vowels, while our modern languages, on the other hand, did not generate the same result! Jenny questioned how this was possible. Did the ancient Hebrews and Indians understand what seemed a mystery to us? Is there something to the concept of “sacred languages”? What qualities do these “sacred languages” possess? Do they have the power to influence and transform physical reality, to create things through their inherent power, or, to take a concrete example, through the recitation or singing of sacred texts, to heal a person who has gone “out of tune?”
Fabien Maman explored and documented the influence of sound waves on the cells of the body. He was fascinated with energetic healing techniques, and wondered if we are really touched or even changed by music? If so, how deeply does sound travel into our bodies? He began a year-and-a-half study joined by Helene Grimal, a biologist and musician, at the FrenchNationalCenter for Scientific Research in Paris. Together they studied the effect of low volume (30-40 decibels) sound on human cells.
They mounted a camera on a microscope where they had placed slides of human uterine cancer cells. They proceeded to play various acoustical instruments (guitar, gong, xylophone as well as voice) for periods of twenty-minute duration, while they observed the affect on the cells. The most dramatic influence on the cells came from the human voice, when Maman sang a series of scales into the cells. “The structure quickly disorganized. The human voice carries something in its vibration that makes it more powerful than any musical instrument: consciousness…. It appeared that the cancer cells were not able to support a progressive accumulation of vibratory frequencies.”
His findings in the laboratory setting urged Maman to continue his study, but this time he chose to work with two breast cancer patients. Each woman committed to tone for three-and-a-half hours per day over a period of a month. In one case, the tumor vanished completely. The second woman underwent surgery to remove the tumor. Her surgeon reported that the tumor had reduced in size considerably, and had literally dried up. She recovered fully from the surgery and remains healthy.
Maman’s explanation for this incredible phenomenon was substantiated by the photographs he had taken during his case studies. He says, “the cancer cells show evidence of cell nuclei incapable of maintaining their structure as the sound wave frequencies attack the cytoplasmic and nuclear membranes.” The vibration of sound literally transforms the cell structure. As the voice intensifies and time passes with no break in sound, the vibratory rate becomes too powerful, and the cells cannot adapt or stabilize themselves. Therefore, the cell dies because it is not able to accommodate its structure and synchronize with the collection of sound.
MUSIC’S VIBRATIONAL EFFECTS
From Mr. Emoto’s work we are provided with factual evidence, that human vibrational energy, thoughts, words, ideas and music, affect the molecular structure of water, the very same water that comprises over seventy percent of a mature human body and covers the same amount of our planet.
Water is the very source of all life on this planet, the quality and integrity are vitally important to all forms of life. The body is very much like a sponge and is composed of trillions of chambers called cells that hold liquid – each cell is made up of about 65% water. The quality of our life is directly connected to the quality of our water.
Water is a very malleable substance. Its physical shape easily adapts to whatever environment is present. But its physical appearance is not the only thing that changes, the molecular shape also changes. The energy or vibrations of the environment will change the molecular shape of water. In this sense water not only has the ability to visually reflect the environment but it also molecularly reflects the environment.
Mr. Emoto has been visually documenting these molecular changes in water by means of his photographic techniques. He freezes droplets of water and then examines them under a dark field microscope that has photographic capabilities. His work clearly demonstrates the diversity of the molecular structure of water and the effect of the environment upon the structure of the water. With the recent popularity in music therapy, Mr. Emoto decided to see what effects music has on the structuring of water. He placed distilled water between two speakers for several hours and then photographed the crystals that formed after the water was frozen.
For each piece of music that he played to the water, the crystalline structure was different. Most of the classical music composers such as Bach, Vivaldi, Chopin, Mozart and others produced beautiful, geometric crystals, but playing Heavy Metal rock music made the crystal completely disintegrate!
(You can see the full images at https://www.naturaltherapycenter.com/main.php?name=article_436)
This technique of “Visual Medicine” that Mr. Emoto has developed and refined certainly has opened our eyes to the effects of vibrations that we normally cannot see – however, seeing his photos certainly validates the consequences of these vibrational forces on water and us. He even wrote words on the glass of water and photographed the water – again this clearly demonstrates the negative impact that these words can have on us – words such as “you make me sick, I will kill you” and “Adolph Hitler.” However, nice words such as “love and appreciation” and “thank you” brought up beautiful, geometric crystals. Remember this next time you are shouting at someone!
Music therapy is one of the newest and most encouraging forms of complementary treatment. Listening to music and allowing it to take over the body can help to provide physical and emotional relief in a sensory way It is a powerful form of healing, which I hope many people in the healing professions will embrace. So, pull out your favourite records and play some music for an hour – it will uplift you emotionally, psychologically and Spiritually, and most likely improve your immune system, digestion, circulation and brain functioning.
Bonny, H.L. Ph.D., McCarron, N., CRNA, “Music as an adjunct to anesthesia in operative procedures”, Journal of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, (February, 1984) 55-57. Krippner, S., The Highest State of Consciousness, (New York: Doubleday & Co., 1972)
Bonny, Helen, Savary, Louis, Music and Your Mind, (Harper & Row, 1973
Campbell, Don, The Mozart Effect: Tapping the Power of Music to Heal the Body, Strengthen the Mind, and Unlock the Creative Spirit (New York, NY: Avon Books, 1997)
Gaynor, Mitchell L., Sounds of Healing: A Physician Reveals the Therapeutic Power of Sound and Music, Broadway Books, 1999
Gerber, MD, Richard, Vibrational Medicine, Bear & Company, 1988.
Goldman, Jonathan, Healing Sounds: The Power of Harmonics, Element Books, 1992
Golman, D., Gurin, J., Mind Body Medicine. (Yonkers, NY: Consumer Reports Books, 1993).
Harvey, Arthur, Ph.D., “Healing and Music”, Open Ear: Music for Health Services Foundation (Spring, 1995)
Keyes, L.E., Toning: The Creative Power of the Voice (Marina delRey, California: Devorss and Co., 1973)
Maman, Fabien, The Role of Music in the Twenty-first Century (Redondo Beach, California: Tama-Do Press, 1997)
National Cancer Institute and American Cancer Society,
Masuro Emoto – http://www.masaru-emoto.net/english/entop.html