Music March (March 2011)

Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.

-Plato

Music has a certain power over the body. Anyone who has heard live music is acutely aware of this as a fact. It has the power to bind people together. It has the power to facilitate altered states of awareness. Even if you are not a music aficionado it is likely you have at some point gotten into your car or come home and put on music meant to amplify or change your mood. Whether it is an athlete using a particular song to get ready for a race or mother turning on a lullaby to sooth her child, we recognize that beats, rhythms, and words have the ability affect our emotional and even physical bodies. 

A study at Penn State in 2003 showed that listening to music improved the mood of graduate students creating more positive emotions or intensifying already positive emotions (WebMD). Research on music has investigated its many beneficial properties for brain circuitry including returning lost memories, helping to heal Parkinson’s Disease, increasing spatial reasoning, repairing brain damage, and boosting immunity (Cracked.com). According to one Scottish researcher, “classical music from the baroque period causes the heartbeat and pulse rate to relax to the beat of the music. As the body becomes relaxed and alert, the mind is able to concentrate more easily... Music affects the amplitude and frequency of brain waves… music also affects breathing rate & electrical resistance of the skin”(O’Donnell). Essentially, music has a measurable chemical effect on the body. It is a reality that music changes our mood and even the way our brains process, sort, and retain information. 

    Listening to pleasurable music releases dopamine that makes certain parts of the brain function better (cracked.com). Massage also instigates the release of dopamine and serotonin. New research is studying binaural beats which create auditory brainstem responses. While these beats are out of the range of human hearing frequency, they are perceived in the brain and can be used to synchronize brain waves and help with stress relief and meditation. Imagine the effect on the body when you combine specific rhythms and beats with the flowing stress relief and physical benefits of massage. 

Whether you enjoy deep sports work done to heavy bass rhythms or gentle Swedish with Enya in the background, music creates a body- brain connection that amplifies the power of massage.

To celebrate Music in March: Bring in your own music to share this month and you will receive $5 off your massage or yoga session. 

Sources: (write me or comment if you want more info)

The economist: http://www.economist.com/node/12795510

Cracked.com: http://www.cracked.com/article_18405_7-insane-ways-music-affects-body-according-to-science.html

http://web-us.com/thescience.htm

http://cerebromente.org.br/n15/mente/musica.html