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Healing through Music -1

by - Dr. T V Sairam

Recent years have witnessed an explosion of information relating to the effects of various forms of sound and music on body and mind and on their beneficial impact on various ailments ranging from autism to hypertension, arthritis to depression.

Sophisticated gadgets such as biomagnesonic transducers, vibroacoustic and vibrotacticle platforms, couches and other myriads of gadgets and tools are increasingly being advertised, promising relief from various conditions and symptoms.

Although the exact mechanism of healing is still a mystery, it is often speculated that entrainment or synchronization of vibrations could be the reason.

Music is a special form of flexible abstract thinking. It enables us to move along with it in all kinds of situations that we face in life – happiness or sorrow, eerie or enjoyable

Rhythm is the first organizing structure in the infant's experience. Modern science acknowledges that pulse and rhythmic patterns found in our heartbeat, in our breathing and in our body movements are just a few indicators of rhythms with which all our life-processes are intrinsically linked. There is an rhythm inherent everywhere – in and around us. With a little focused attention, we can get in touch with our body rhythms. We can then recognize how our breathing cycles, heart beats and our bio-receptor feedback loops are made of resonance and rhythms, which simply go on and on, till death deprives us of them.

Melody is in-build in our laughter, cries, screams or songs – and they all follow a fixed, rhythmic pattern. A whole range of emotions can be captured and communicated through a wide range of rhythms, tones and melodies drawn from diverse cultural milieux and musical styles, schools and systems.

As in the case of any biological system, Nature too, is made of cycles and rhythms. Seasons change in cyclic manner and life functions in a cycle of births, growth and death. A cycle without a start or an end. Within the human body itself, life-processes are carried out in a purely rhythmic fashion. Various kinds of rhythms viz., endogenous rhythm, muscular rhythm, pain wave rhythm, pulse-breath frequency, rhythms involved in the processes relating to blood circulation, digestion, respiration, sleep etc., are well known to the world of Science and Medicine.

All biological processes including breathing, food-intake and excretion, energy exchange, metabolism, circulation, action of nerves, reproduction – all follow a basic pattern in an orchestrated manner. It is interesting to note that scientists have discovered a musical symphony in the process, by which chromosomes condense and segregate during mitosis (nuclear division). It is likened to a musical symphony produced by an orchestra in which several instruments working individually or in unison, make an attempt to produce a collective piece of elegance and beauty – as one may come across in a Bach or a Beethoven, in a Mozart or a Mendelssohn. Just as a conductor ensures that each musical instrument enters the symphony at the appropriate time, with a wave of the baton so the conductors of the so-called mitotic symphony called 'checkpoints' prevent errors in chromosome segregation that can lead to disease such as Down's syndrome or cancer. (David Cortez and Stephen J Elledge 2000).

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Related Article : Raga Therapy - Healing Secrets in Indian Raga Music


Dr T V Sairam, A serving bureaucrat and a writer, is from F/48B, Hari Nagar New Delhi 110064. For any doubts you can contact him at - tvsairam @ gmail. com