Sound Therapy: Wellness Through Listening
Music can slow us down, perk us up or allow long periods of time to pass. It can tire us, or give us great inspiration.
The noise of appliances, computers, and televisions fill our home with sounds that tire our bodies. Sound can easily become invisible to our consciousness and just a backdrop for other activities. When we turn off our ears, we may not notice all the sonic clutter in the world around us.
When we begin to really listen and choose how we use sound and music, we can bring balance and harmony to mind and body.
Listening is our bridge from the outer world to the inner world. Listening is a form of seeing, hearing, and feeling. We listen through our skin, our eyes, our noses, as well as our ears. Although ears are designed for balancing and hearing the world around us, it is the balancing and focusing of all the senses together that allow us to receive codes and patterns that are transformed into awareness, memory and knowledge.
Music creates multiple levels of listening. A single piece of music can bring movement to the body, emotions to the heart and memories to our consciousness. Learning to listen to music in creative ways provides means for health improvement in the body, enhanced communication and expression.
The rhythmic and tonal origins of music predate language. The rhythms of walking, the pulses of our hearts, the utterances of pain, joy and delight —all these natural patterns, coupled with the natural sounds around us create the language of expression. Intuitively, we understand the language of sound, whether it is a distressed or joyous tone.
Dr. Alfred Tomatis pioneered the medical and acoustical study of listening. He found that when one cannot focalize and organize auditory information emotionally and physically, one is often out of balance. To have the balanced diet of sound, it is important to incorporate silence, stimulating and restful types of music into every day activities.
As an ear-nose-throat specialist, Tomatis observed the function of the ear far beyond the normal tenets of hearing. He noticed how music, especially selected pieces by Mozart, transmits an organized energy to the brain that keeps us consciously aware and stimulated. The ear integrates information from sound and motor movements to enable the development of balance and language. It establishes balance and equilibrium throughout the body. It is a discriminating organ that allows us to hear what we want to hear and often block out what we do not wish to hear. Also, the ear gives us the information necessary for spatial awareness.
Hearing is vastly different from listening. Hearing is a passive sensation while listening allows us to perceive, focus, and name auditory information. As we move from hearing toward listening, our awareness is stimulated and we begin to focus on specific information. Memories and the ability to concentrate and respond to the world linguistically as well as musically depend on the ability to listen. This ability begins four and one-half months after conception, when the fetus is aware of rhythms, pulses, and sounds, as well as higher frequencies of the mother’s voice and some outer world sounds. The sounds we hear in the early months of life create the basis of language, expression and communication.
Taking time each day to observe your sound diet can bring a shift in your energy, reduce your stress level and enhance you creativity.
Three tips for sound nutrition1. Notice the sounds in your home and office. Beware of unwanted roars, buzzes and beeps. Often a room will have sonic hot spots caused by air conditioners, computers or televisions. Slightly changing the position and inserting foam pad may greatly reduce the sound pollution. Young children are more sensitive to sounds than we are and need safe sonic space.
2. Silence is important for the brain, body andÂ spirit. Resting the ears is as important as resting the body. Do you truly have any quiet times during the day? With all the sounds of the automobile, office and home, find your own quiet space for ten minutes in the afternoon and evening. Then bring music to your ears to help you make a transition into work or play.
3. Enjoy a balanced musical diet. Use music selectively as you work and relax. Having music or the radio on at all times clutters the mind and makes the ear a weak listener. Use a half-hour of Mozart or popular styles in the mid afternoon as a stimulant. Use slower, lower music in the evening for relaxation and mealtime. Create fifteen minutes a day for focused musical listening, allowing your body, mind and spirit to be fully fed with harmonic inspiration.
Source: by Don Campbell
Additional Information: Don Campbell is author of eighteen books including The Harmony of Health and The Mozart Effect. As a classical musician, he has explored the powers of music in many cultures to see how the arts can be used more effectively to improve health and well being