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Music Medicine

Music has been incorporated into medical practice since before the ancient Greeks. However, though practitioners have been convinced of music's health benefits for thousands of years, there had been little peer-reviewed research to back them up, but recent studies are changing all that.

A number of new studies to support music's influence on the pituitary and adrenal glands, the sympathetic nervous system and the immune system. Music also reduces levels of cortisol in the blood. Other studies showed that surgical patients required less sedation and post-operative pain medication. These results support the experiences of practitioners, who have long used music to help heal.

Researcher Isaac Eliaz says, "As an integrative physician and traditional Chinese medicine practitioner, the healing power of music has always been an important part of my practice and family life. Harmony and tempo help synchronize the rhythms of the natural world with the music of the heart--each person's individual energetic pattern, expressed in their pulse.

"These results only confirm what I have observed for many years in my practice. Music produces quantifiable healing. For example, my daughter Amity, a professional musician, regularly plays her songs for chronically ill patients who express how uplifting her music is. These performances do more than encourage good feelings, they help the body heal on a molecular level.

"Modern science has just begun to scratch the surface of music and sound in terms of healing potential. However, traditional medical systems from around the world have long revered the beneficial vibrations of music, harmony and rhythm for health and vitality. The effects are instant and tangible, but they are also powerful and long lasting."

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