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From this article you can learn how music influences us, and how music can reduce pain and anxiety. And about the great mystery of music and how it is connected to the soul:
"It is not merely a combination and succession of sounds, but a mysterious something which has exercised a powerful influence throughout the ages."
"There is no doubt that music can have powerful effects on the human body."

The Effect of Music on Physiology

Everything in our universe is in a sense of vibration. Matter is made up of certain types of waves or pulsing vibration. Chemistry expert Dr. Donald Hatch Andrews puts it, “we are finding that the universe is composed not of matter but of music”.

Why is it that when we listen to certain types of music we respond with goose-pimples and others we simply “turn off'? The elicitation of limbic function by the abstract sounds of music somehow relates to the human brains capability of processing operations even if they are of no immediate need or survival value (but crucial to overall human performance).

The limbic system is a phylogenetically old part of the brain, which comprises several structures (hippocampus amygdala, several thalamic nuclei and others). In conjunction with the hypothalamus the limbic system policies sensorial input, selectively directs memory storage according to the relevance of the information, and mobilizes motor output with the specific function of ensuring a response that is most beneficial for the self preservation of the organism to the environment.

Body Responses to Music
In a study by Updike et al investigating the physiological and emotional responses of patients awaiting an elective plastic surgery procedure to a 30 minute taped music program, several variables were measured. Systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, pulse rate, mean arterial pressure and a double product index (DPI) were obtained before and after the music listening. Every variable decreased markedly and the most significant emotional effect appeared to be an experience shift in patients awareness towards a more relaxed calm state.
This was supported by Zakharova' in a study of Conservatory students showing that music exerpted complex influences on the CNS, manifested in changes of a number of neurophysiological reactions attesting changes in the flow of excitations in the cortico-thalmic and cortico-limbic circles. He found that listening to music is accompanied with a partial replacement of the dominating alpha-rhythm by activity in the frequency range of beta-, theta-, and delta-waves and with a change of some vegetative reactions.
Two studies conducted to examine the effects of music on analogued labour pain using nulliparious subjects also revealed significant decreases to heart rate, systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Metera et al compared the effect of soothing and exciting music on the respiratory function in man, and particularly on minute oxygen consumption and basal metabolic rate. Soothing music decreased minute ventilation, minute oxygen consumption and basal metabolic rate. He found exciting music slightly increased these parameters.
Some empirical evidence concerning the relation between music and digestion comes from the eminent Russian physiologist Ivan P Pavlov whose earlier studies were concerned with the digestive process. He discovered the conditioned reflex whereby music that aroused pleasurable emotions promotes the flow of gastric juices.
Sugarman later confirmed this in a paper entitled, "Music Therapy in Psychosomatic disturbances"

The Effect of Music on Pain
As Chiropractors it is easy to forget that many patients in the waiting room may be in pain. Music has been used in hospitals for years often as an adjunct to local anaesthesia. In 1930 McGlinn found it especially useful during spinal anaesthesia because it reduced the possibility of complete loss of conciousness. It also masked noises in the operating mom but did not interfere with the operating technique.
In the Chiropractic office this concept of blocking out adjusting room sounds, e.g. the sound of a Thompson table, for anxious patients in the reception or changing rooms has a lot of validity.
Rusca fitted his patients with a set of ear phones during spinal anaesthesia. Thus the patient heard only music chosen to suit his tastes. Not only was the operation painless, but it became associated with a pleasurable experience.
Burdick' found that if music is played during the induction of anaesthesia, it is accomplished with less resistance.
A 1990 study into the effect of music on infantile colic showed that all infants showed a substantial decrease in excessive crying of about 75% of the initial baseline.
A favourable study supporting the use of music in pain control was conducted by Loczin. The study investigated the effect of music (musical preference of subjects) on the pain of selected post-operative patients during the first 48 hours. The conceptual framework of the study was based on distraction following the 'Gate control theory' of pain as developed by Meizack and Wall (1965).
Significant differences were found between the groups of post-operative patients in their musculoskeletal and verbal pain reactions during the first 58 hours at the 0.05 level. Interestingly, the raw data on pain relieving medications received by the sample indicated a difference, but this was not statistically significant.

Many studies have supported the concept of the effect of music on anxiety and some work has been done in the dental setting.
A 1989 French study of Electro-physiologic recordings of certain neurovegetative manifestations produced by a sonic environment in the dental office, demonstrated and evaluated the stressing and relaxing power of music or noise. The high speed drill and the telephone represent the most stressing elements in the dental office and show an intense electrodermal activity and respiratory disturbances. On the contrary, slow, regular, melodious and harmonious music such as J.S. Bach's Aria, induce a subjective and relaxing climate with neurovegetative reaction characteristic of a state of physiological relaxation.
Cherry and Pallin used popular classical sections in their dental office and demonstrated decreased anxiety. Music included Beethoven's Moonlightsonata, Wagner's Evening Star and Debussey's Clair de la Lune.

What Music Do You Play?
A few minutes a day of listening to Baroque music and listeners in Lozanov's “superlearning classes” began to report not only expanded awareness and better memory but also a repertoire of health benefits. They felt refreshed, energized and centred. Tension and stress disappeared. Headaches and pain went. Their physiological variables also improved: lowered blood pressure, reduced muscle tension, and slower pulse.
Composers of Baroque music were trained and made to use particular numbers and patterns for harmony, counterpoint, rhythm and tempo in music. This mathematical Baroque music was supposed to affect us by aligning, harmonizing and sychronising our minds and bodies to more harmonious patterns.
There is much variation in sound system quality in the Chiropractic office. A percentage of the population suffer progressive hearing loss (particularly the aged) and thus lose their high frequency range of hearing first. This is due to these nerve cells being closest to the external ear.
Therefore to be as effective as possible and reaching the hearing impaired, practitioners should choose a sound system with a good bass response.
In summation the type of music to play in the Chiropractic office to enhance our care, make patients feel more relaxed, and have a positive effect on the patients nervous system (and therefore physiology) may include the following criteria;
• Baroque music
• Tempo at approx 60 beats/min
• Volume to be at a level that a) attempts to block out other office noises, and b) is not at a volume that would distract the patients who don't have an affinity for that type.

Mystery of Music
Life is mystery to those who think about it, but merely a fact to those who do not; the same may be said of music. It is not merely a combination and succession of sounds, but a mysterious something which has exercised a powerful influence throughout the ages.
By the term "pure music" we do not, of course refer to a type which migh be of special interest to moralists, but to that form which makes an exclusively musical appeal, or is colloquially described as "music pure and simple".
It is stating the obvious to say that star-soloists draw the largest and most mixed audiences, but the members of those audiences themselves are for the most part, unaware of the reason - namely. that the enjoyment they derive is not wholly a musical one: it is in part the result of seeing a given person make a successful effort.

Music and the Soul
Four months before his death, Brahms, ..... made the confession that when composing, he felt himself to be inspired by a power external to himself. Believing as he did in One Supreme Spirit, he maintained that only when the creative artist was receptive to that spirt could he and did he write immortal works,not other wise. .........When Brahms made this confession, he stipulated that it should not be published till fifty years after his death.
It has been proved that sound can be both constructive and destructive: it can create forms, it can also destroy forms. From a chaotic sprinkling of sand on a glass plate, geometrical patterns may be formed with the aid of a violin bow drawn across the edge of the plate; a fact which does to prove the constructive efect of sound vibrations. Conversley, the sound of the human voice may be employed to shatter a tumbler or wine-glass to atoms.

'Musical training,' writes Plato,' is a more potent instrument than any other,because rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul, on which they mightily fasten, imparting grace, and making the soul of him who is rightly educated,graceful.'
Aristotle undoubtedly shared his opinion when he wrote......"emotions of any kind are produced by melody and rhythm; therefore by music a man becomes accustomed to feeling the right emotions; music thus has the power to form character, and the various kinds of music based on the various modes, may be distinguished by their effects upon character - one, for example, working in the direction of melancholy,another of effiminancy; one encouraging abandonment, another self control, another enthusiasm, and so on through the series."

Music effects the minds and emotions of mankind. It effects them either consciously or subconsciously, or both. It effects them through the medium of suggestion and re-iteration. It effects them either directly or indirectly, or both.

Great Composers
George Friedrich Handel and to the influence of his music that we largely owe the characteristics of the Victorian era. It was in fact his exalted mission to revolutionise the state of English morals; it was he who came to be responsible for the swing of the moral pendulum from the one extreme of laxity to the other of undue constraint.

Johann Sebastian Bach has been termed "the father of the whole of our modern music," and that his name is the symbol of the "completion and perfection of Christian tonal art during the middle ages and the reformation". He is even credited with the entire enfranchisement of music, for by his creativeness in the field of purely instrumental composition,"the final,full and complete impress of liberty was forever set to the tonal art...." From a dependant vassal Bach elevated it into the proud position of a queen, responsible to herself alone.
Had Johann Sebastian Bach appeared earlier on the scene, with the full array of his very daring harmonies and his masterly counterpoint, it si believed that the characteristics of the Victorain era would have been, if not entirely different,greatly modified.

The influence of Ludwig van Beethoven's music may be placed under two headings:
(1) it induced Sympathy on a scale hitherto unknown;
(2) it made possible the introduction later on of the science of Psycho-analysis to a baffled and horrified public; it was, in fact fore-runner of this therapeutic science. Furthermore it was the tolerance inspiring effect of Beethoven's music which gave rise to the writings of Havelock Ellis,Forel, Krafft-Ebbing,Bloch and others - those painstaking and self-sacrificing investigators of sexual psychology.
Czerny has written relative to Beethhoven and his improvisations that "in whatever company he might chance to be, he knew how to produce such an effect upon every hearer that frequently not an eye remained dry, while many persons would break out into loud sobs; for there was something wonderful in his expression, in addition to the beauty and originality of his ideas...."

There could hardly have existed two more diametrically opposed characters than those of Mendelssohn and Beethoven; yet strangely enough the two men were,however unconsciously, working to the same end - the instilment of Sympathy in to the human soul. But their methds were as divergent as their characters;Beethoven,metaphorically speaking, showed one side of the picture, Mendelssohn the other.
In his biography on Mendelssohn Dr Hiller wrote: "Gifts of genius were in him united to the most careful culture,tenderness of heart to sharpness of understanding,playful facility in everything he attempted to powerful energy for the highest tasks". The gentle sweetness of so many of his melodies, combined with the happy but never boisterous elements in his more vivacious passages, could not but fail to effect mankind - it brought home to them the beauty of sympathy in itself.

There is no doubt that music can have powerful effects on the human body.
This literature review has revealed positive effects of soothing music via the limbic system on many neurophysiological reactions.
Obviously the research to date is still in its infancy stages however, I believe we can enhance the experience of patients in our office and thus aid our care. I am not proposing this as a ”music therapy” as an adjunct to our treatment for example as ultrasound may be used, but that the music patients and staff hear (whether conscious or subconsciously) will not only make people feel good — it will be good for them.

John Fielder


Also read the book
Music: its secret influence throughout the ages, by Cyril Scott
(that the article is partly adapted from.)

Continue to Natural Hygiene, Nature Cure & Naturopathy by Dr. Fielder


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