The researchers from the Department of Creative Arts Therapies at Drexel University in Philadelphia searched the literature and reviewed 30 trials with a total of 1,891 cancer patients who went through music therapy as a part of their cancer treatment. Seventeen trials (17) involved medical professionals playing pre-recorded music and thirteen (13) trials involved trained music therapists actively engaging the patient in either listening to live music or patient playing an instrument. They discovered that both interventions appeared to be more affective at reducing anxiety than no music or white sounds or nature sounds delivered through headphones.
Our sound environment has the ability to affect our health. According to physician, Larry Dossey, MD, “ So sensitive are we to sound that noise pollution has been called the most common modern health hazard. High levels of unpleasant sounds cause: the blood vessels to constrict; increase in blood pressure, pulse, and respiratory rates; release extra fats into the blood stream; and cause the blood’s magnesium levels to fall.”
Close your eyes for a minute and just listen to all of the sounds around you. Sometimes we are so busy using our other senses like seeing, feeling, and smelling, that we don’t even realize what we are listening to. Take time to notice how these sounds may or may not affect you on a deeper level. Some scientists believe that sound affects us on all levels of being, physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. How do different sounds affect you?
Our ears are the first organs to develop in utero and the last to leave us when we are about to depart this world. There is evidence that hearing in babies, both before and after birth have a direct effect on brain development. And yet, so many of us do not even stop and take the time to really listen to what we (and our children) are being exposed to on an everyday basis.
Start to notice the sounds around you. Spend some time listening to music that feels soothing and calming. Stay away from sounds that tend to make you feel tense and irritable. One size never fits all, so experiment with music and find what works the best for you.
Notice how music affects your breathing and heart rate. If you find yourself breathing faster and more shallow when listening to a piece of music and you feel your heart beating quickly in your chest, then perhaps you need to look for something else. Music that is most beneficial typically slows down our breathing, and heart rate.
In energy physics, there is a phenomenon called ‘entrainment.’ When we are exposed to energy or vibration that is moving at a certain speed, we tend to biologically adapt to that movement. However, if we want to energetically slow down, playing slow, even tempo music, will help us to do just that. But don’t believe me, try it for yourself!
The next time you feel anxious or experience pain, try putting on soft, slow music and notice how your entire body adapts to the change in environment. Sit quietly and allow yourself to surrender to the gentle tones and rhythms. Notice your breathing, bring awareness to your heartbeat and observe how you feel. By consciously exposing yourself to sounds intended to make you feel less anxious, you will also positively affect every part of your being, mind, body and spirit.
written by Bonnie Berk
- You can learn more about Partners in Wellness in this video and how they're working to empower cancer patients and survivors.
- See how yoga can benefit cancer patients and survivors in this blog.
- Read another blog by Bonnie Berk on practicing a loving kindness meditation practice.
- Learn about practicing surrender during you cancer journey in this blog by Bonnie.
Does music have an affect on you? Do you believe it has increased your quality of life? Please leave a comment below.