There are four basic, essential principles to using music in healing and sound therapy. These four principles are: brainwave entrainment, intention, sympathetic resonance and pure tone. While these terms may sound complicated, they are very simplistic in nature. Each is necessary in the music healing process, although they function independently of each other.
Not much is known yet about brainwave entrainment, which is alternatively known as brainwave synchronization. Because very few studies have been performed regarding the phenomenon, it is usually associated with parapsychology and pseudoscience, and is not given much credit within the scientific community. However, it has been proved that this phenomenon does exist and is a plausible alternative to modern medicine.
The easy explanation of brainwave synchronization is that the brain constantly sends out many different brainwave "pulses" of varied states simultaneously, instead of one at a time. One singular brainwave state with become dominant, contributing to your current state of mind. With brainwave synchronization utilizing binaural beats, one can actually influence the brain as well as your current mental state.
H.W. Dove, a German Scientist, discovered binaural beats in 1839 when he presented two different frequencies of sound to each ear. The brain then detects the difference between the two frequencies of sound and produces a third, new signal, a binaural beat which is equal to the difference between the two frequencies. For example, if you played a sound frequency of 85Hz in your left ear, and 90Hz in your right ear, the brain would create it's very own frequency signal of 5Hz to make up the difference of the two presented frequencies. Using this method, one can actually induce the brainwave state that they desire.
As both the left and right hemispheres of the brain start to resonate to a binaural beat in synchronization, you now have brainwave entrainment, which research has indicated contributes to extreme creativity, pronounced clarity and inspiration. EEG patterns recorded from different test groups comprised of highly successful individuals also displayed an extraordinarily high level of brainwave entrainment.
Intention is the next essential part of music healing therapy, which is most easily explained as the motivation behind the sound being played. If you think of this in terms of a lullaby sung to a child, which is intended to soothe and relax, versus a heavy metal song intended to vent anger and frustration, you can see how very influential intention is. Having the intention to heal, soothe, and repair can carry from a singer's voice or musician's instrument to the person or persons receiving the sound.
Sympathetic Resonance can be best described as a harmonic phenomenon where one sound will cause a "sympathetic" response or reaction. This can be achieved in many ways, for example when a loud sound will cause windowpanes to rattle, or when a C tuning fork is is struck, a different C tuning fork nearby will also begin to vibrate. When applied to music healing therapy, there must be a resonance between the musician and the listener.
Pure tone is also very important in this process and is a single-frequency tone with no harmonic content (no overtone). You may be most familiar with pure tone if you have ever had a hearing test, and they played pure tones into headphones. Obviously when applied to music healing, harmonic content will most likely be added, but pure tone allows our bodies to heal. When our bodies receive a pure tone our muscles will relax and tension will be released.
These are the four basic building blocks of healing with music. Many other aspects are very important as well but these essential parts of not only sound, but sound and music in healing therapy, must be present in order for healing and relaxation to take place.
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