29 Aug 2013

Musical Memories

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At Rockaway Care Center we utilize every opportunity to promote health, healing and care. Our activity calendar is chock-full of activities that are so enjoyable that you wouldn’t have guessed that they also have rich health benefits. This month we are highlighting our “Musical Memories” program. 

What is music?

A most difficult question to answer. There are almost as many definitions as there are human beings. The consensus would be: a rendition of organized rhythmic sound. However, even some sound with more cacophony than rhythm may still pass for music to a majority of people. Definition of music, and what would constitute an objectionable variation like noise, is very subjective. Nevertheless, the essence of music in human life is indisputable. Music is important for culture, education, leisure, and yes, for health.

Joachim-Ernst Berendt, in his article: The World is Sound, inadvertently gave an apt definition for music, when he said ” At the root of all power and motion, there is music and rhythm, the play of patterned frequencies against the matrix of time. We know that every particle in the physical universe takes its characteristics from the pitch and pattern and overtones of its particular frequencies, its singing. Before we make music, music makes us.”

Therefore, music can be described as “the play of patterned frequencies against the matrix of time.”

Did you know that Music Can Heal?

Many people appear ignorant of the health benefits of music. Just like a counselor speaks soothing words to your heart and mind which provokes mental healing, so does music. Music speaks to the soul, through the brain, flooding the body with appropriate hormones, creating positive emotions. Music is a form of communication, both in content or form. Singing, a vocal rendition of verbal message(s), can produce a powerful reaction due to its sentimental and emotional connotation. Even pure instrumentation has a significant effect. There is a way the human brain responds/reacts to musical waves.

Red Auerbach , once said, “Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life” and Billy Joel later added,” I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from everyone loves music.” Cervantes , the famous Spanish novelist, playwright,  and poet concluded that ‘He who sings scares away his woes”

What are the Therapeutic Effects of Music?

The therapeutic effect of music is an age-old tradition. Modern medicine now has faculty of music healing, dedicated to studying the different effects of different types of music to patients recovering from different types of ailments and treatments. Historically music was used to hasten recuperation restore health to mental health patients or persons suffering chronic and severely painful infections. Patients also have their suffering softened by soothing music. Today, music is used in a wide range of treatments, including:

  • Autism
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Depression and Anxiety
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Insomnia (lack of sleep)-remember lullabies and sleep for babies?
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Tinnitus
  • In nurseries and neonatal  incubation rooms
  • Stress
  • Patients undergoing treatments with traumatic side effects like chemotherapy, surgery, or spinal injury treatment.

Music therapy involves listening to music, making music (singing and playing instruments) and writing songs. It is now possible to measure actual effect of music on your physical vital signs. For instance, there is type of music that can lower your blood pressure, calm your digestion. This is because music is an immensely powerful natural force with strong primal connections to your mind. For that reason, Dr. Mitchell Gaynor, M.D. in his book, Sounds of Healing, says: You can look at disease as a form of disharmony. And there’s no organ system in the body that’s not affected by sound and music and vibration.

This means music is universal. It can touch all persons of all cultures and ages. You can get better by just playing, making or listening to music.

Musical Memories is scheduled every Sunday at 9:45 AM and Saturday at 10:30 AM in the Dayroom. For our full activity calender click here.


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