Friday, May 7, 2021

Fascinating – how Classical Music Has a Therapeutic Effect on the Human Body

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Nspirement Staff
Nspirement (or Inspirement) is the act of becoming motivated, encouraged, and enthused to the point of making a significant difference or change. Our aim is to offer articles that will inspire, uplift, and educate our readers, as well as insights into all things China and China’s impact on the world today.

The music that you listen to has an effect on your health. Positive sounds from soft music have healing powers to harmonize the body and mind.

An American woman, Edith Zook at 83 years old, suffered from an irregular heartbeat that caused her to faint suddenly. On January 15, 2006, Zook underwent cardiac surgery in Urbana, Illinois. During the surgery, a harpist played Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major using this classical music for adjuvant treatment. Zook’s doctor, Abraham Kocheril, had discovered that the music from the vibration frequency of the harp can effectively adjust the rhythm of the heartbeat. Sure enough, Zook’s heart rate dropped and became regular.

Some patients who do not respond to all kinds of different stimulation are found to respond to music. This is because the sensitivity of the body’s nerves toward music and pain are the same, hence, doctors use music to alleviate the pain of childbirth and dental treatment and also eliminate the symptoms of cancer and the side effects of cancer treatment.

Studies have confirmed that music therapy can help to improve the heart rhythm of premature babies, improve their diet and sleep, as well as help patients with strokes and brain damage restore their language abilities. (Image: Epoch Times)

All these are in line with the Chinese ancients’ understanding of music. The ancients realized that traditional music has the power to purify the soul, adjust the body and mind, as well as maintain health and cure sickness.

The original Chinese character “药” (which means medicine) was actually the Chinese character “草” (meaning grass) added to the top of the Chinese character “乐” (meaning music) symbolizing that music can heal like grass, which is the medicine.

Chinese music uses the 5-tone musical system — the palace, merchant, horn, levy, and feather — which are equivalent to do-re-me-sol-la of Western music. These correspond to the five internal organs of the human body — the spleen, lung, liver, heart, and kidneys. These, in turn, correspond to the “five emotions” — thinking, sadness, anger, joy, and fear.

The five-tone musical system can adjust the five internal organs through the five emotions. For example, the merchant tone clears the lungs; listening to the merchant tone helps to prevent colds and improve respiratory health. At the same time, the lungs control sadness and any sorrow will injure the lungs. So listening to music composed around the merchant tone will improve one’s mood, which is very beneficial.

When talking specifically about Chinese classical music, positive effects have been observed in people who practice it or listen to it. (Image: IQRemix from Canada via flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)
When talking specifically about Chinese classical music, positive effects have been observed in people who practice it or listen to it. (Image: IQRemix from Canada via flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)

However, not all music is good for your health. Modern music — such as heavy metal music, hip hop, and punk music — are found not to be helpful to human health. Russian medical scientist Vladimir N Anisimov surveyed 8,775 musicians in 2014 and found that rock musicians have the shortest lifespan, with men and women averaging 43.6 years and 37.6 years respectively. On the other hand, among the five occupations with life spans up to 90 years old, four of them were taken up by classical musicians — namely, harpists, composers, violinists, and cellists.

Research at the University of California at Berkeley also confirmed that people who engaged in or listened to heavy metal and hip hop music have the shortest life span among their American counterparts.

Translated by Chua BC and edited by Helen

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