Music makes us move, and it moves us. Arguably the most accessible form of art, music has a reach and scope that is nearly unimaginable. Music has the ability to lift us up, bring us down, make us sing, or make us cry. Can it also heal us?
Dr. Alexandra Lamont, Senior Lecturer in Music Psychology at Keele University, wrote that babies can remember music even from before birth. Her 2001 study with Child of Our Time demonstrated that babies up to 15 months old seemed to prefer listening to music that they had heard while in the womb.
We use music to soothe our children. It is used as a tool to teach the alphabet, the days of the week, and more. Of course, some music can teach our children things we’d rather them not know. I’m looking at you, Miley.
A Sound Prescription?
According to the American Psychological Association, there are experiments underway to determine how music can be used to improve our physical health. In Amy Novotney’s article “Music As Medicine,” she writes that in addition to music’s known soothing effects and uses in stress reduction, it may also be an effective tool to treat some physical ailments.
Using music to promote mental well-being is not a new idea. Using music, sometimes called vibroacoustic therapy, to treat medical conditions is a novel approach to sometimes confounding illnesses. Dr. Robert Roeshman, D.O., is a proponent of Vibroacoustic Harp Therapy (VAHT). He states that VAHT can decrease symptoms in some chronic conditions including migraines, fibromyalgia, and arthritis.
Magic in Music
Music for me has always been a very visceral experience. When I’m watching a live performance, I come alive. I feel the music, I sing along (provided no one can hear me), I dance. Alternately, music can take me back in time; a certain song can evoke memories long forgotten.
Music surrounds us. From the lullaby of our mother’s voice before birth, to the mournful music at our end, we are inundated with melodies. Stores play music to encourage us to shop. Music is played at sporting events to enliven the crowd. Musical scores in movies underline the action and emphasize the emotion behind the scenes.
There is power in music. If we can use that power for our health and overall wellness, to make us not only feel but heal…well, that seems magical to me.