This is part eleven of my blog posts where I describe music therapy interactions I've had that are indicative of why music is so healing, meaningful, enriching and sometimes life changing!
This post describes a music therapy session with another hospice patient, an elderly man who, when I first met him, was actively dying. At a nursing facility where I was seeing other patients our hospice social worker and RN mentioned to this man's family that, if they desired, the music therapist could visit for comfort care. More specifically, music therapy to act as a positive diversion from anxiety as the man was in/out of anxious/fretful consciousness. As mentioned, a family member, his niece was present.
After playing soft, slow religious music that the niece requested, I decided to try something that I have never done before. During the soft music the niece was standing over the head of the bed caressing and thoughtfully massaging her uncle's head and neck. I told her that I would stand next to her (with her at the head of the bed) and softly sing Amazing Grace, a song she knew. I said “as I sing, you sing (or hum) softly with me as you massage your uncle...” The idea is that as the niece sang or hummed, vibrations generated from her voice and chest cavity will be felt by her uncle through her arms down to her finger tips, not to mention him being able to feel and sense the spirit of the song, her love and energy, etc. She welcomed this. Her uncle was further comforted and the niece was very engaged and pleased with being able to personally comfort her dying uncle with song.
Lets now look specifically at music and sound's vibrational aspect...
--- First of all, the smallest part of our universe, atoms, are made up of VIBRATING electrons.
--- Scientists know that our earth, vibrating on it's axis, produces an overtone or sound frequency which is (actually) 7.49 hz. The following description below is from: http://www.lunarplanner.com/Harmonics/planetary-harmonics.html
“The 7.8 Hz. Schumann fundamental frequency is quite close to Earth's 7.5 Hz. circumference harmonic (calculated using the speed of light at Earth's surface)...” So vibrations from our earth are acting upon as at all times.
--- As rhythm consists of organized vibrations, know that our hearts beat rhythmically, we breath, walk and talk rhythmically...
--- And one of the oldest forms of music, Toning, which is thousands of years old, and even precedes sacred music, relies on the vibrational aspects of vocal production (not singing as we know it) to benefit individuals and groups. All cultures, except our western culture have used Toning for healing, grieving, praying, wellness, etc. SeeMT Toning 1, 2, 3 in Resource Center at the bottom left of my home pgfor a description of Toning.
So, "Why live music??"... To take advantage of the vibrational aspects of music and sound. Also, because we don't have to be a talented singer (as described above) individuals can vocalize or utilize vibrational sounds for health and wellness benefits personally and/or for others, i.e. Toning. To do what I did above??? Lets say you have an ill loved one... put on their favorite music, and as you massage them sing or hum softly with the music. The vibratory effects from your vocalizations will affect them! It's wonderful!!! You will both benefit.
As a reminder the main thrust of the music therapy/childbirth lecture is to support moms (and dads) as they put together their own music listening playlists or CDs to support rhythmic breathing, act as a positive diversion from pain and stress, etc., to be used during labor and delivery.
Also, I'm looking forward to recording my second music album this year. This is music for child development, autism and special needs. As a reminder, one song, “High 5,” from David's Basics in Education (music album #1) is still a free download for a limited time.
In upcoming posts I will continue with other music therapy/health and wellness related blog posts.
My prescription this week??? Go to the Toning info described above and “give it a whirl!” (MTToning 1, 2, 3 in Resource Center at the bottom left of my home pg) At the very least it relieves head, neck and shoulder tension and is a wonderful, pro-active way to meditate, pray and to take care of yourself. Hmmmmmm................
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