Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of our soul.   Plato

Music is another one of those simple sources of healing power in our lives.  We have all experienced the healing effects of music; and anecdotal evidence of its healing effects abound.  We often hear sayings such as: “Music is the universal language,” and “Music soothes the savage beast.”  Sometimes the “savage beast” is inside of us in the form of anxiety, depression, or physical illness.

Scientists have done extensive research on the effect of music on both the emotions and the body, finding that music does indeed have measurable healing effects on both the mind and the body.  There is evidence that music may act via the parasympathetic nervous system which regulates bodily functions over which we have no control.  The parasympathetic nervous system effects both our bodily functions and our emotions.  Music also reaches numerous brain systems that control both emotion and physical functioning.  Research shows significant reduction in stress levels, increased relaxation, reduction in pain, and improvements in the results when music is used in conjunction with other medical interventions, such as physical therapy, surgery, and medication.

The types of music which have consistently shown the most significant healing effects have been classical (most often Mozart and Beethoven), as well as easy listening, both instrumental and vocal.  However, individuals relate to different types of music, so it ends up being a very personal choice.

There are also obvious spiritual benefits to music.  Many people report feeling closer to God and even hearing the voice of God in music.  Aldous Huxley (not exactly My guru) is quoted as saying that “Next to silence, music is the closest experience of God.”

Music is a simple effective treatment for the mind, body and soul.

Christopher Knippers, Ph.D.                                                   June 13, 2017


One thought on “The Healing Power of Music

  1. This quote is one of the inspirations behind my play ARK 5: “Information is not knowledge. Knowledge is not wisdom. Wisdom is not truth. Truth is not beauty. Beauty is not love. Love is not music.” — Frank Zappa, “Joe’s Garage”


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