The Healing Power of Music

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Usually, when one considers what they can do to fight off a cold, relieve pain, or alleviate mental illness, the first things that comes to mind may be to take over-the-counter drugs or prescribed medications. However, the cure to these and many other infirmities may be found within your own ipod. Music, in its many forms, can and should be used as a healing instrument. While it may not completely alleviate the need for drugs, it's possible that music therapy could accompany medical drug use in order to lessen the amount of potentially harmful medications often consumed by patients.

In order to understand how music can affect the body and mind, one needs to understand the composition of sound itself. Don Campbell describes it by saying “sound is energy that can be organized into shapes, patterns, figures, and mathematical proportions, as well as into music, speech, and utterances of agony and bliss.” He goes on to say that “sound travels in waves through the air and... is measured in hertz, [which is] the number of cycles per second at which the wave vibrates” (1).

Although we cannot see it, we can often feel the energy of sound. It affects us physically and mentally in both large and small ways, whether causing our bodies to move to the beat, or bringing about hearing itself by causing the bones in our ears to resonate at the same vibrations of the sounds being made.

The activity of singing is therapeutic in and of itself. More specifically, singing in a group can positively affect one's well-being and increase sociability. To quote Feder, “In almost any gathering of people in which it is important to arouse a sense of community, of congeniality, or of spirit, we are likely to find music” (5). The action of sing...

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...s the ability to “improve your concentration”(1). This boost of brain power is credited to the complex, harmonic, and organized symphonies of classical music, which, consequently, stimulates the listener in such a way that their mind begins orchestrating thoughts in a similar fashion.

Overall, music is a great mental, emotional, and physical galvanizer. It can heal people and restore their love of life, and give them a means of expression. Music therapy has the potential to improve modern medicine and it even offers ways to enhance our thinking ability. Perhaps the most obvious reason we should embrace the healing power of music is because we have such an abundant supply. Today, our culture glorifies music, whether it is in our cars, on television, in the elevator, or in our ipods. Music is all around us, and it could be a key to promoting our overall health.
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