How can music support the treatment of diseases?

Generally the clinical effects of meditation and musical therapy are well verified when treating chronic and psychosomatic diseases, and so is their application along with rehabilitation measures. Furthermore, the way our organism and especially our nervous system works suggests the sensibility of this method of treatment.

Neurophysiological Background

As regards our nervous system we differentiate between two principal components: the arbitrary or somatic component, which for example allows us to regulate movements deliberately, and the unconscious vegetative system, which is not subject to our conscious decision-making and regulates the functions of our intestines and sleep, and is closely connected to our system of feeling and perception.

An important interface in our brain is the limbic system, which has access to any information of our perceptive systems. This system is involved in the emotional assessment of information and modulates arbitrary actions. The triggering of movements is assessed as an active procedure by our awareness, the creation of feelings rather as a receptive and passive procedure, the vegetative procedures as something inaccessible, unconscious.

Breathing, Phonation, physical Movement

Nevertheless, human nature offers connecting points allowing access to any systems and information. These connecting points above all are made possible by the three phenomenons of breathing, the production of voice, and rhythmic repetitive movement.

The autonomic or vegetative nervous system usually regulates our smooth musculature, breathing, however, above all depends on our striated muscles incited by arbitrary nerves. Most of the time breathing depends on arbitrary vegetative regulation.

Nevertheless, we can deliberately influence our breathing, can decide to breathe faster or slower, deeper or shallower. On the contrary we cannot control our heart or intestine in the same way. By breathing we can send stimulating or soothing impulses to our nervous system. This explains the importance of breathing for meditation.

Why humming?

We are capable to give shape to our voice so as to communicate with ourselves or the exterior world. The basic unit of shaping our voice is sound, it not just transporting meaning but also inducing particular feelings in the sense of “toning“. Tones are in resonance with special tissues, special areas of the body, and special corresponding emotions.

By aid of tones we do not only exchange important information but tones also trigger emotions within our self or other humans. Depending on their characteristics emotions exert a supportive or obstructive influence on our physical functions. This means that our voice not only allows us to communicate with other humans, but also with our own organism. Our voice is not only a vent for strong or locked up emotions, but also a harmonizing instrument for inner processes of our body. This illustrates the importance of humming during meditation.

Moving rhythmically and repetitively is no longer subject to a specific aim, but helpful to set free jammed and locked-up feelings in order to stimulate and harmonize vegetative processes. This illustrates the importance of shaking and moving during meditation.

Our hearing is our best-developed sense. Even in darkness it is present and can nearly perceive the vibration of molecules. It serves our orientation, perceiving of danger, and transport of massages.

Music, singing, dancing and breathing probably are the oldest therapeutic tools of mankind. In the end any transport of information is based on resonance.

These aspects and principles are collectively realized by ART.