5/6/2022 6:47:03 PM
Music: The Healer
“Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life.”
- Ludwig Van Beethoven.
MUSIC is an element that has captured our lives in multiple shapes and forms; some make music, some play it, some dance to it and some just enjoy listening to it; anyhow, there is no one in this world that can claim to have never listened to music. Even Adam and Eve enjoyed the sound of the waves hitting the sands and the blowing wind through the brakes!
Our bodies need air, water and food to survive, while I believe the air that our soul breathes along with the water and food it needs, is music indeed; and perhaps so does Da Vinci, as he says: “Do you know that our soul is composed of harmony?”.
As Montinari et al. mentioned in their article: “Contrary to what is commonly believed, music therapy is an old cure, the use of which is lost in the mists of time. Music always has been perceived to have particular healing powers. It seems that the adoption of music for therapeutic purposes harks back to a distant past, probably since the Paleolithic period: it was believed that listening to music could affect the behavior of human beings. In later centuries, the concept of “musical organ-tropism” was born and developed, because according to the type of music, one may affect the cardiovascular, respiratory, and neuroendocrine systems.” (1)
This was only an example of many articles mentioning the history of music and its healing power, therefore it’s not surprising that music has therapeutic effects on our physical and psychological well-being.
Despite the ancient belief in the healing powers of music, music therapy is a relatively new research field whose formalization of education and research started only a few decades ago. (2) The reason is most likely understandable. Music is connected to our brains with invisible strings, which leaves us with a mysterious side to study this field.
As cognitive neuroscience has emerged as a promising scientific field, a visible bridge was certainly created to lead us to the other invisible half of music effects which were believed but not proven.
As Andrade et al. mentioned in their article, since the 2000s the advancement of neuroimaging tools provided better perspectives on neural principals of both listening and engaging with music. Various mechanisms of the brain are involved in the neural processing of music like, perception, cognition (i.e., short and long-term memory mechanisms, language, visuospatial processing, sequential processing and prediction, etc.), motor skills, and sensory-motor integration (2).
According to this new finding, researchers figured that music could heal the brain’s damaged neural pathways. For instance, regarding a review study done by Thaut et al., “a large number of clinical studies have researched the effectiveness of rhythm and music to produce a functional change in motor therapy for stroke, Parkinson's disease, traumatic brain injury, and other conditions. Results have been strong in favor of rhythmic auditory stimulation (RAS) to significantly improve gait and upper extremity function. Comparative studies also have shown RAS to be more effective than other sensory cues and other techniques in physical rehabilitation.” (3)
Montinari et al. worked-on music therapy and its contemporary applications in cardiovascular diseases and their findings show that music produces activity changes in brain structures (amygdala, hypothalamus, insular and orbitofrontal cortex) known to modulate heart function. (1)
While the effect of music on our physical aspect is about to be proven, the effects of music on our spiritual aspect have been more recognizable even though no clear explanation is available or this phenomenon!
There is much research proving the healing power of music on our souls and behavior. For example, in a review study done by Solanki et al., it is reported that music can be beneficial to individuals with autism in increasing social behavior and reducing avoidant behavior (4).
Another review study conducted by Geretsegger et al. reported some moderate to low-quality evidence of music therapy as a complementary therapeutic method to amend the global and the mental states, social functioning and the quality of life of the schizophrenic and schizophrenic-like patients (5).
Medically, it is impossible to find one medication for all kinds of diseases, disorders and disabilities. But let me stop you here and give you a minute to think.
Is it really that impossible to find a universal medication for all situations?
Perhaps not! Perhaps you have underestimated the power of music!
Although it is incredible how music can help every patient in any condition, let’s not exaggerate much! Music is apparently a powerful factor but our high technology therapy strategies are needed indeed; as we mentioned before, many studies used this power of music in addition to the already existing therapies.
All of these above were only a slight peak on what is out there about a miracle called MUSIC and as you already know there is more to it.
I personally need music in my life as much as I need the oxygen that I breathe. I believe that music is something that plays a great role in our lives whereas we do not pay much attention to it!
This UQR was aimed to remind you of one of the many powers of music: healing; therefore, I believe you’ll choose your playlists more carefully from now on!
Happy listening everyone!
Written By: Kimia Taslimi
Poster Design: Alireza Bagheri
1.Montinari MR, Giardina S, Minelli P, Minelli S. History of Music Therapy and Its Contemporary Applications in Cardiovascular Diseases. South Med J. 2018;111(2):98-102.
2.Andrade PE, Bhattacharya J. Not Cure But Heal: Music and Medicine. Adv Neurobiol. 2018;21:283-307.
3.Thaut MH, Abiru M. Rhythmic Auditory Stimulation in Rehabilitation of Movement Disorders: A Review Of Current Research. Music Perception. 2010;27(4):263-9.
4.Solanki MS, Zafar M, Rastogi R. Music as a therapy: Role in psychiatry. Asian Journal of Psychiatry. 2013;6(3):193-9.
5.Geretsegger M, Mössler KA, Bieleninik Ł, Chen XJ, Heldal TO, Gold C. Music therapy for people with schizophrenia and schizophrenia-like disorders. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2017;5(5):Cd004025.