Inquisitive

Proof that listening to music really can heal you from inside out!

Sound medicine dates back to Egyptians

Whacking on your favourite Spotify playlist and prancing round the room may be helpful to unwind, if you need distracting, or if you just want to sing along.

But turns out it could actually help you heal too.

Now, we’re not quite sure if Little Mix’s Shout Out To My Ex or Wham!’s Last Christmas has the power to cure illness, but there is evidence to show how music has therapeutic benefits.

We need to take a detour back in time, towards the end of the 19th century to be precise.

[Credit: Jefferson Santos]

It was during this era that researchers discovered how music can affect the body’s physiological responses, whereby we adapt physically to the mental challenges of everyday life.

The study, carried out in Paris, examined how patients responded to live musicians playing at their bedside, specifically looking at cardiac output, respiratory rate, and blood pressure.

Remarkably, it was discovered that music does heal by lowering blood pressure and heart rate, while aiding the workings of the parasympathetic system.

This system is responsible for functions that occur with the body at rest i.e. digesting after eating.  

[Credit: Marius Masalar]

Time-travelling even further back through history, the Egyptians believed that music and the sound of vowels generating vibrations held powerful healing properties.

While they did not have the science to support their claims, they were convinced by its force and built structures to capture these vibrations to host events inside, such as religious ceremonies.

Even the almighty pyramids were created with these acoustics, with The King’s Chamber in the Great Pyramid of Giza designed to reverberate, so that sound energy from chanting is increased.

Today, we see the rise in popularity of gongs, tuning forks, and singing bowls all booming in the wellbeing world, yet their origin dates back thousands of years too to 4,000 B.C.

[Credit: Mohammad Metri]

Just like the Egyptians, the ancient Greeks used music to heal and cure mental disorders, also believing that the vibrations of these instruments is what achieved a calmer state.

Now, with advanced neuroscience knowledge, we recognise that even a simple rhythmic sound such as clapping can help the brain’s frequency regulate to stabilise mood and mindset.

So, maybe those gong baths aren’t so ‘hippy dippy’ after all.

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