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A Brief History of Sound Healing

"A Brief History of Sound Healing" by Chaz Rodgers“

Songs express who we are and how we feel, they bring us closer to others, they keep us company when we are alone. They articulate our beliefs and values, and they bear witness to our lives. Songs weave tales of our joys and sorrows, they reveal our innermost secrets, and they express our hopes and disappointments, our fears and triumphs. They are our musical diaries, our life stories. They are the sounds of our personal development”. – Dr. Kenneth Bruscia, Music Therapy educator and writerFor thousands of years, cultures across the globe have used music to communicate, connect, and grow.  Over the course of a lifetime music teaches us; lullabies soothe us and help us learn language as children, spiritual songs and chants allow us to explore the realms of belief and community that would be otherwise inaccessible.  Music is woven into the fabric of almost every individual’s life, it permeates our senses and allows us to feel whole again.  Through the gift of music one can share stories and emotions which can only be expressed through song, and can feel the joy and fulfillment which comes from creating something beautiful.

Ancient Sound Healing

Throughout history sounds and music have been used to bring people together, and closer to their true selves.  Around 400 B.C, the Greek philosopher Pythagoras became the first person to prescribe music as treatment in medicine.  Pythagoras was known as the “Father of Music,” among other things.  He believed that music and sound with certain frequencies could be used to heal and purify the mind, body, and soul.  He applied principles of vibration and harmony to almost all aspects of life, including interpersonal relationships, government, art, nature, and the cosmos.The ancient Chinese meditative healing practice of Qigong has existed for almost 4000 years.  This practice involves movement, breathing, and energy work to heal and cleanse the mind and body.  The addition of the “six healing sounds” came to be around 500 A.D. and allows the practitioner to heal and support their internal organs through breathing and specific sounds.  These sounds were eventually combined with movement and are often involved in Qigong practice today.Another ancient form of sound healing comes in the form of singing bowls.  These metal bowls have been found from up to 5000 years ago.  They are thought to have originated in Mesopotamia, although they are most commonly associated with their use in Tibetan culture.  Singing bowls have been used as tools for energy and chakra alignment and healing, relaxation, meditation, and yoga.  In the Himalayas, singing bowls were made from the “seven sacred metals” to be used by monks, although eventually they began to make them with fewer metals so they could sing better.  Today singing bowls can be found all over the world and are often used in sound therapy to reduce stress and facilitate healing.

Music Therapy Today

Music therapy was first formally mentioned in a medical context in the late 1700’s, and over the following centuries transformed into the vast and beautiful treatment that it is today.  Research has repeatedly shown the value that music therapy has in medicine and healing. In its many forms, music therapy has been shown to help reduce anxiety, physical pain, and asthmatic episodes among many other ailments.  Patients with speech problems after traumatic brain injuries have been able to regain some of their ability to speak with the help of music therapy. Just listening to music has been shown to lessen the negative effects of cancer treatment as well as improve the lives and some symptoms of people suffering from dementia.  Studies show that this therapy can greatly help with addiction recovery and can aid in preventing relapses.  Research in neurobiology shows that music activates the parts of the brain which influence attention and decision making, areas which are often negatively affected by addiction.  Enhancing these functions by way of music therapy can also greatly improve the problem-solving abilities and behaviors which are so important for a successful recovery.

REID Foundation + Music Therapy

Through our individual lifetimes, and throughout the ancient histories of cultures around the globe, music has been a common thread which strengthens our bonds and heals our wounds.  Music therapy is an invaluable tool in addiction recovery and should be more readily offered alongside traditional treatments and therapies to positive recovery outcomes and experiences for afflicted individuals.  The REID Foundation recognizes the importance of offering alternative therapies to people in recovery, and the astonishing research on music therapy along with its rich history are ample enough evidence to show its validity.  Our aim is to improve the lives of people suffering from addiction and to offer opportunities for fulfillment through the gift of music.Did you enjoy reading "A Brief History of Sound Healing"? If you or someone you know is in recovery and interested in learning how to play an instrument for FREE, click the link below:Learn How To Play An Instrument In RecoveryReaching Everyone In Distress Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit organization located in Columbus, Ohio dedicated to adding a sense of belonging to distressed lives across the world.

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