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Article: The healing power of vibrations: Music as the key to health

Die heilende Kraft der Schwingungen: Musik als Schlüssel zur Gesundheit

The healing power of vibrations: Music as the key to health

Music can relax, cheer us up, heal us and transport us to heavenly realms. These positive aspects of music are increasingly the subject of research.

Beautiful music can move an audience to tears, while a high-pitched tone can shatter glass. According to scientists, the vibrations and frequencies that make up sound have a powerful effect on the human body and mind.

The right music has been shown to reduce stress, aid recovery after surgery, help Alzheimer's patients and increase IQ. It can also promote the healing of the brain in neurological disorders.

Music and healing

"Music is a uniquely effective tool for treating neurological disorders because it addresses almost all regions of the brain," according to a scientific article published in 2015.

In their article, the study authors described the story of eleven-year-old Laurel, who suffered permanent brain damage after a stroke. She was unable to communicate clearly, but her understanding of speech was completely intact.

With the help of melodic intonation therapy, the researchers were able to establish a connection between the auditory and speech regions in Laurel's right hemisphere. This connection bridged the speech pathways on the left side of her brain, which were severely damaged.

"At the end of the 15-week treatment, she was able to speak in sentences of five to eight words, sometimes more," said the authors.

When the study was published, eight years had passed since Laurel's accident. She now works as a motivational speaker to inspire stroke survivors.

Laurel's healing through singing is being practiced more and more frequently. There are choirs all over the world whose members are stroke surv ivors who communicate again through music.

Music as medicine

Music has been used to improve health in many different cultures throughout history. "Shamans in the tropical highland forests of Peru use singing as the main means of healing, and the Ashanti people of Ghana accompany healing ceremonies with drums," the above-mentioned article continues.

In addition, frescoes in Egypt show how music was used to improve fertility in women. Modern medicine confirms this effect. According to one study, music can actually increase the rate of successful pregnancies in women undergoing artificial insemination by five percent.

Music as a holistic remedy in ancient China

Traditional Chinese medicine has also used music for healing for thousands of years. There, the musical scale consists of five tones that are associated with the five main organs spleen, lungs, liver, heart and kidneys as well as the five elements wood, fire, earth, metal and water. In a 2017 scientific article, authors Hui Zhang and Han Lai refer to this as 'five-phase music therapy'.

When a part of the body hurts, listening to the sound that corresponds to that organ can help alleviate the problems there, according to the researchers.

Music supports recovery after surgery

Harvard physicians have also investigated the healing effects of music, including in patients recovering from surgery and in patients with Alzheimer's or other diseases. A 2015 article states that music cannot cure Alzheimer's disease, but it can alleviate patients' confusion and anxiety.

Some hospitals also use music before, during and after surgery. This is because music can reduce anxiety and stress in patients and doctors, relieve pain and aid recovery.

Music and concentration

Modern research is also investigating the effect of music on concentration and intelligence. In a 1993 study, researchers at the University of California in Irvine asked three groups of college students to listen to music for ten minutes before an IQ test on visual-spatial processing ability. The first group listened to Mozart, the second to relaxing music and the third to silence.

The group that listened to Mozart performed consistently better than the others. However, it is important to note that this result was only temporary and performance did not differ by many points. The IQ of those who listened to Mozart only increased by eight to nine points, and only for 15 minutes.

When Harvard repeated this experiment, the researchers found an even smaller improvement of two IQ points.

Music and water

In 1992, Dr. Masaru Emoto began a series of experiments with water crystals. He found that water exposed to positive words such as "hope" and "love" formed beautiful whole water crystals. Words like "ugly", on the other hand, formed discolored, misshapen masses that did not look like crystals.

He also played different music, from Vivaldi to "Imagine" by John Lennon to heavy metal, to see what effect it had on the water. While classical music and "Imagine" produced whole water crystals, heavy metal produced a mass of vibrations with no recognizable order.

Scientists criticized Emoto's methodology. They also criticized the fact that his experiment was difficult to reproduce. But if his findings are correct, it should not be forgotten that water makes up around 60 percent of the human body, depending on age and gender.

The expressive power of different musical styles

In addition, James O. Young, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Victoria, compared classical and popular music in a study.

He examined the use of chords and musical means of expression as well as the range of rhythms and so on. He found that classical music performs much better than pop, rock or other modern genres in the use of these musical components.

"Popular music has difficulty achieving a precision of expression that can lead to profundity," he wrote. Classical music, on the other hand, "can achieve a fine-grained express iveness that is difficult to achieve in popular music."


Maria Han

This article originally appeared on under the title: "Studies Explore the Healing Power of Music". (edited as).

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