(Natural News) They say that “music calms the savage beast,” but now researchers want to know whether music has substantial healing properties as well, according to the UK’s Daily Mail.
The National Institutes of Health will assemble a team of musicians, neuroscientists, and psychologists to conduct a major new study on the effect music has on the brain, as well as any other healing properties it may have.
In recent years traditional healthcare providers have increasingly used music as a way to treat patients, primarily to help calm them and decrease their stress levels. However, researchers believe that different types of music can have additional positive health effects on the body and brain.
Researchers have analyzed and examined the brains of rappers and that has given them some insights into creativity. Other research has indicated that a human’s musical experiences affect a unique and complex combination of various areas of the brain.
For example, music can at times remain in the brains of victims suffering from stroke or other neurological disorders, scientists say, even when the ability to speak and remember things are negatively affected.
Now, however, doctors are attempting to discover whether music holds additional healing powers beyond just offering patients comfort. So, the National Institutes of Health wants to bring together musicians, music therapists, neuroscientists and other mental experts to see if they can discover how the brain and body react to various forms of music, if at all.
“The brain is able to compensate for other deficits sometimes by using music to communicate,” said NIH Director Dr. Frances Collins, a geneticist and an ace guitar player.
Turning musical ability into beneficial health therapies, it “would be a really good thing to know which parts of the brain are still intact to be called into action,” Collins continued. “To know the circuits well enough to know the backup plan.”
As noted, however, researchers are not going at this without any prior data. (Related: Music therapy is on the rise.)
They already know that musical therapy programs have provided at least some benefits to patients and are now common in places like MedStar Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C., the Daily Mail reported.
At that institution, a violinist plays an uptempo beat as dancers rhythmically move through hospital corridors and hallways and into a chemotherapy unit, while patients there look up in a surprised manner.
Meanwhile, a cellist plays an Irish folk tune for an intensive care patient in a ward upstairs.
“It takes them away for just a few minutes to some other place where they don’t have to think about what’s going on,” cellist Martha Vance said after playing music for a patient who is isolated to prevent the spread of infection.
In July 2009, Natural News reported that heart surgery patients had music piped into their rooms as they recovered, as part of musical healing therapy. “Very restful, very soothing,” said surgery patient Victor Fabry, 68, two years after his open heart procedure. “The mind influences your recovery. Anything that quiets your anxiety is powerful.”
In 2015 a British mother said that she cured her daughter’s night terrors by playing music that was specially formulated to induce calming brain waves.
“My husband and I were on our knees waking up to 20 times every single night,” said Laura Mulligan of Manchester, noting that her daughter would awaken screaming each night for the previous three years. “When our second daughter Annie was born last year, we had to move each night between the two children, without any possibility of having sleep ourselves.”
A friend suggested she try “Alphamusic” from Australian pianist John Levine, which is designed to “heal people through the power of music” by triggering calming brain waves.
“The results outdid our expectations,” Mulligan noted.
The only thing missing now, say NIH scientists, is rigorous, peer-reviewed research that will substantiate continuing theories about the healing power of music.
Read more about natural treatments at MindBodyScience.news.
J.D. Heyes is editor of The National Sentinel and a senior writer for Natural News and News Target.