The Healing Effects of Music Proven in Tests
Easy listening or classical music has been proven to increase healing rates of convalescing patients, researchers have revealed. Patients taking part in the study at John Radcliffe Hospital Oxford were split into two groups – one group underwent operations under local anesthetic and was played music during the operation, whilst the other group was operated on without music. Levels of anxiety were measured through the patients respiratory rate and asking them to rate their anxiety on a scale. Measurements were taken on the operating table prior to the operation, during the procedure and again at the end whilst still on the operating table.
The results, published in the ‘Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons,’ showed that the patients who were played the music during their operations measured 29% less on anxiety levels and had a lower average breathing rate. The research was the first of its kind as it measured the effect of music on both planned and emergency operations. The music used was classical or easy listening music such as Vivaldi, Beethoven, or Sinatra.
The anxiety before, during, and after an operation can release natural stress hormones that can cause inflammatory responses and therefore slow or prevent healing, leading to longer hospital stays and use of anti-inflammatory drugs.
Is music or sound energy responsible?
The power of music has long been associated with benefits due to releases of stress and the ability to change or enhance moods. Other research has studied whether the actual vibration of the music can have an effect on biological systems; the use of ultrasound on sperm producing capabilities is one of these. One thing that is often disregarded is, just as visible light is only a small fraction of the electromagnetic spectrum, audible sound is only a small fraction of the sound spectrum. The higher and lower frequencies of the sound spectrum such as VLF (very low frequency) and ELF (extremely low frequency) have been proven to be very powerful.
Sound from music played live has a much more dynamic ‘feel’ as the live strings, reeds, drums etc. can vibrate independently in ways that a speaker cone cannot. These instruments emit on frequencies both inside and outside of the audible spectrum, and with a purity of sound that cannot be matched by technology. This is because all electrical devices are only designed to emit sound in the audible range.
Whilst the calming and distracting effects of the music can be translated through speakers, the full effect of the vibrations cannot. This is a very interesting area of research that stirs some interesting questions such as, Are we affected by sounds and vibrations that we cannot hear in music? Are sound vibrations emitted from the earth? And how do they affect us? Are the sound vibrations emitted from electrical appliances (the humming) causing effects on our bodies? And so on.
Calming meditation music is able to create a calming effect, helping the person to relax the parts of the mind that chatter and interrupt. Most of this music is of a kind that uses a multi layered, orchestral or nature based sound, causing the brain to have a kind of thought resonance, allowing the mind to ‘zone out’ the outside world. This is why people use it.
Music has many more wondrous properties and this kind of research is a great start, however it is only scratching the surface of this exciting subject.