Can you drum your way to better health? Sing your way to serenity? Tune up your immunity with a tuning fork? Science takes a surprising look at the restorative powers of chant, rhythm and music.
As you read this, a black hole about 2.5 billion years old is humming the deepest musical note ever created: a B-flat that’s a million billion times deeper than your ear can hear; This stellar cantata comes from vibrating gasses in a galaxy known as the Perseus cluster, 250 million light-years away. At the same time; a yeast cell in a research laboratory is emitting high-pitched clicks: Jim Gimzewski, professor of chemistry at the University of Cattforilia at Los Angeles, is using an atomic force microscope and computer imaging to record the motion of cell membranes, which can then be listened to. Gimezewski calls the process. sonocytology, and believes it may one day allow scientists to distinguish healthy from unhealthy cells.
From stars to cells, dolphins to crickets, birds and bees to human beings, the universe is alive with melody, sending and receiving waves of sound. Scientists now realize that something so omnipresent and so fundamental has a powerful influence on everything we think and feel.
This dawning awareness had turned into a grassroots movement of sound healing, a kind of “tuning in and tuning up.” On Yahoo!, for instance, there are some 80 groups devoted to music therapy and 90 groups dedicated to drum circles. In 2002, the first International Sound Symposium was held in San Jose, bringing together experts in fields such as “overtone chanting” and “psycho-acoustics.” Sound healing CDs have been produced by specialists like Andrew Weil, M.D., founder of the Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, and Mitchell Gaynor, M.D., founder and president of Gaynor Integrative Oncology in New York City.
Over the past few decades, music therapy has secured a legitimate place in the healing arts, and the practice continues to grow. More than 70 colleges and universities have degree programs approved by the American Music Therapy Association, and over 3,800 music therapists in the U.S. are board-certified.
Excerpts from Sound healing by Neimark, Jill, Natural Health Mar.2004, Vol. 34 Issue 3