Studies and research reveal the fact that music has healing power, and has deep effect on our mind and body. In recent years, we have noticed growing demand for an alternate field of health care known as Music Therapy, which uses music to heal. Those who practice music therapy are finding a benefit in using Indian classical music to help cancer patients, children with Autism, and others and even hospitals are beginning to use Raga music as a tool of therapy to help pain management, ward off depression, promote movement, calm patients, ease muscle tension, and for many other benefits that music and music therapy can bring. This is not surprising to note that music affects body and mind in many powerful ways. Following are some effects of music, which help to explain the effectiveness of Indian Classical Music.
Keywords: Benefits, Music, Music Therapy, Relaxation, Stress, Weariness.
During one of the major project on music therapy in some Indian prisons (2004-2007), it was found that music with strong beat can stimulate brainwaves to resonate in sync with the beat, with faster beat bringing sharper concentration and more alert thinking, and a slower tempo promoting a calm and meditative state. Also, research has found that the change in brainwave activity levels that music can bring can also enable the brain to shift speeds more easily on its own as needed, which means that music can bring lasting benefits to your state of mind, even after you’ve stopped listening.
Breathing and Heart Rate
Those systems which are governed by the autonomic nervous system, such as breathing and heart rate can also be altered by the suitable application of music. This can mean slower breathing, slower heart rate and activation of the relaxation response, among other things. This is why music and music therapy can help counteract or prevent the damaging effects of chronic stress, greatly promoting not only relaxation, but health.
State of Mind
As we know that Indian classical music is based on “Time Theory”. I.e. a particular Raga has to be performed in a particular time of the day or night. For example, Raga Bhairavi is a morning raga and to be demonstrated in the morning time only or Raga Darbari which has to be sung or played at night time. Hence Raga music can be used to bring a more positive state of mind, helping to keep depression and anxiety at bay. This can help prevent the stress response from wreaking havoc on the body, and can help keep creativity and optimism level higher, bringing many other benefits.
Music has also been found to bring many other benefits, such as lowering blood pressure (which can also reduce the risk of stroke and other health problems over time), boost immunity, ease muscle tension and more. With so many benefits and such profound physical effects, it’s no surprise that many are seeing music as an important tool to help the body in staying (or becoming) healthy.
Everyone has stress in one’s life. Stress can range from mild to severe. If we let the stress build up without doing anything to relax, our health can be affected. If it’s constant and continue for long period of time we our putting our health in danger. Serious problems like heart related problems and diabetes could develop. Treatment of stress becomes easier, earlier one recognizes that one is experiencing stress, anxiety physical symptoms. If left untreated, patterns of behavior are more strongly established which are harder to change later down the line.
Recognizing the stress anxiety as physical symptoms can occasionally be extremely debilitating so it’s very important to be vigilant for earlier indications and to take steps to tackle them, whether this be, trying to reduce stress in one’s own life or by visiting a medical professional to seek further help.
Some points regarding stress anxiety as physical symptoms are:
If one is having more frequent headaches than one normally has, than there is distinct possibility that the cause of it may be due to stress and anxiety. One should immediately try and identify sources of stress in one’s life and try to take action to reduce the anxiety.
However, if the headaches persist over a period of time one should consider visiting a medical professional who will give advice about the best courses of action for the condition, one is experiencing. For this type of problem the recommended ragas are: Jayjaywanti, Sohini and Darbari Kanhda.
- Digestion Problems
Signs of digestion problems can take number of forms, including the repetition of food after eating, an increase in flatulence, pain associated with or changes in the way that your bowels empty, and also general stomach pain. A major trigger of irritable bowel syndrome is stress, and if you have this condition it is important to try and reduce elements of stress in your life. For this problem recommended ragas are: Marwa, Pooriya, Puria Dhanasheri.
It is important to note that there might be multitude of other reasons for experiencing these complaints and it might not be attributable to recognize stress, anxiety as physical symptoms. If you are concerned and symptoms persist you should always consult a medical professional.
- Unable to Sleep
If you are unable to sleep until hours after your bed time then you may be suffering from stress. This is perhaps amongst the most widespread symptoms of stress. it is caused by your mind being too active for you to sleep due to the worry and anxiety of the stressful situation you are experiencing or anticipating in near future. Recommended ragas are: Lalit, Hindol, Darbari.
- Weight Fluctuations
A common problem of experiencing stress is the lack of ability to control your eating habits to the same degree that you usually would. There are two main effects that stress can have on your weight. It can either cause an individual to comfort eat as a result of feeling depressed caused by stress they are experiencing. Alternatively it can cause an individual to not feel hungry or feel too nervous to digest properly and therefore avoid eating. Both of these are not good for your long term health and therefore if this is particularly affecting you then you should do what you can do to reduce stress in your life ad also visit a medical professional. Recommended ragas are: Chandrakauns, Patdeep, Kafi.
These are just some stress anxiety physical symptoms. Stay vigilant of changes in your body when you think you might be stressed and endeavor to make lifestyle changes to combat these sources.
Why and How Indian Classical Music Aids Relaxation and Stress Management
One way to combat stress is using music therapy. A music therapist views the particular needs of their client. The client and the therapist both are involved in the therapy. Raga music heightens mental functioning, promotes healing and helps you feel calm and relaxed. It is considered to be a creative art therapy. Experts propose that it is the rhythm of the Indian classical music based on some specific tales which has a calming effect on us. A therapist encourages the use of different kinds of instruments also like Sitar, Sarode, Guitar, Flute and Violin etc. One way is listening to raga that can manage the degree of your stress and relaxes tense muscles. When you feel relaxed your worries float into the background. Your energetic system if affected by tones and micro-tones of raga music. This causes a physical reaction to a certain sounds and frequencies. No one likes the same types of music. Whatever you chose to listen it should make you comfortable. Listen to your emotions. Make sure you nerves feel soothed. That way you’ll know if it is a positive type of music for your individual taste. Fast paced beats can speed up your heart rate and cause difficulty in relaxing your mind. Slow beats or rhythms will slow down your thoughts and you will naturally relax.
In addition to the many physical changes that music can bring, Indian classical music is especially helpful in relaxation and stress management because it can be used in the following ways:
Music and Physical Relaxation
Music can promote relaxation of tense muscles, enabling you to easily release some of the tension you carry from a stressful day or week. There are other ways to listen to music for reducing your stress besides going to a music therapist. Music affects the mood in the different situations. If you listen to music when you wake up in the morning, you day might run smoother. When you have a hard day at work, the thing that you probably want to do is to make supper. Put on your favorite music and cooking may seem like a breeze. Taking a walk and listening to music with nature sounds or sounds of the sea can be extremely calming. Slow tones will cause relaxation and is great to hear before the bedtime. Recommended raga for the therapeutic treatment (Vocal/ Instrumental) : Bhairavi, Ramkali, Asavari (morning time raga); Yaman Kalyan, Kalavati, Pilu (evening time).
Music as an Aid in stress relief activities: music can help you get ‘into the zone’ when practicing yoga, self hypnosis or guided imagery can help you feel energized when exercising, help dissolve the stress when you’re soaking in the tub and be a helpful part of many other stress relief activities. It can take an effective stress reliever and make it even more effective. Recommended Ragas are : Jaunpuri, Alahiya bilawal, miya ki todi.
Music and a Meditative State:
As mentioned before, music can help your brain get into a meditative state, which carries wonderful stress relief benefits with it. For those who find meditation intimidating, music can be an easier alternative. Serotonin is a chemical that transmits the nerve signals between nerve cells. If your serotonin levels are too low, you make become depressed. Depression can make the stress in your life seem a lot worse. Music may raise the level of serotonin levels and lift your depression and stress anxiety. Recommended Ragas are : Bhairivi, Kedar, Kaunsi Kanada.
Music to Promote Positive Thinking
Music especially the upbeat tunes, can take your mind off what stresses you, and help you feel more optimistic and positive. This helps release stress and can even help you keep from getting as stressed over life’s little frustrations in the future.
Music and Affirmations
The way you see the world and the type of self talk you habitually use can also have a profound effect on your stress level, which is why positive affirmations that create more positive self talk are so helpful. Music that has affirming lyrics can bring the double benefit of music and positive affirmations, helping you to surround yourself with positive energy. If you listen to music that has affirming lyrics you are feeding your brain positive thoughts. This may make music therapy for stress relief twice as successful. It will surround you with positive energy instead of negative energy. The positive energy should decrease your stress levels. Recommended songs are any Devotional songs in different languages so that subject can understand the meaning of the lyrics.
These are some of the reasons that music relaxation is among the easiest and most effective forms of relaxation available, and the great treasures of Indian classical music have healing capability and considered to be the effective stress management tool.
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