Relax with Music
Even though the term "music therapy" and "relaxation music" is fairly new, the practice of using music to heal, calm and relax can be tracked back to antiquity. We have always used music – during meditation, celebration, during religious ceremonies, in preparation for battle, to sooth and calm newborns – music has always been a source of inspiration, as well as a means of helping to balance our body and mind.
There are a few differing schools of thought regarding how to utilise relaxation music and sound in therapy. However they are all based on the knowledge that we have gained from monitoring the effects music has on us, both physically and psychologically.
Relaxation music has been proven to help to:
- Relieve stress, apprehension and fear
- Improve mood
- Lower heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate
- Relieve depression
- Relieve sleeplessness
- Relieve muscle tension and provide relaxation
Tones and You
Music affects the body in two distinct ways: directly, as the effect of sounds upon cells and organs, and indirectly, by affecting the emotions, which in turn influence numerous bodily functions. This is especially true of relaxation music.
There is scarcely a single function of the body that cannot be affected by musical tones. The roots of the auditory nerves are more widely distributed and possess more extensive connections than those of any other nerves in the body. Investigation has shown that music affects digestion, circulation, nutrition and respiration. Our muscles, including the heart muscle, synchronise to the beat of music – without you even thinking about it! For example, in some music, and more specifically relaxation music designed for this purpose, the beat approximates the rhythm of the resting heart (60 – 70 Beats Per Minute). Listening to music of this style can actually slow a heart that is beating too fast. In other words, it can help you relax.
When your heart is beating at a slower rate and you are more relaxed, other processes happen inside your body as well. In fact your entire system starts to work just that little better. You heal quicker, you are able to concentrate better (and have better retention/recall), you breathe deeper (always a good thing), your digestive system runs more efficiently and, once again, you really do relax and unwind.
What is Relaxation Music?
So, listening to music is a good thing. But what sort of music should you listen to so that you are able to achieve the most beneficial results?
Well, simply put, any music that YOU find soothing (we’re talking soothing, not your favourite party selection). There has been much written about different musical styles and origins, and it is true that specific tempos and rhythm play a definite role – but all this is of no benefit if you simply do not enjoy the music you are listening to. In fact, it can have exactly the opposite effect that you’re hoping for. If you don’t enjoy classical, it’s okay. There are many modern composers producing work that you’ll likely enjoy.
Gentle, relaxing music (relaxation music) specifically designed for this purpose is probably best. This style of music, if properly and creatively produced, can indeed be therapeutic, as well as a completely natural way to ease tension and lower stress. In times of illness and fatigue, relaxation music is a very powerful tool that can greatly promote healing responses by complimenting both natural and conventional medicine. It is also a natural way to greatly enhance the benefits of massage, aromatherapy and other natural therapies.
The most important point, as with any exercise or relaxation technique, is actually doing it. Take some time, each day if possible, and simply sit, unwind and chill out to some music. You’ll feel the difference!