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Relaxation and the powerful effect of music

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Music as a therapy is an ancient concept.  In Ancient Greece, Apollo was the god of music and of medicine.Many indigenous peoples all over the world still use singing and chanting in their healing rituals. In modern times, Michigan State University established the first music therapy degree program in 1944 and more than 70 colleges and universities now have degree programs that are approved by the American Music Therapy Association. To be certified as a music therapists, one must have the bachelor’s degree, some specified clinical training, and one or more internships.

60-61 Family Health 25-04-2015.Music is used as part of the treatments for many ailments including dementia, depression, cancer, various chronic illnesses, pain, autism,various psychiatric disorders, rehabilitations,   etc. Parts of its effects are to distract from pain and discomfort, to facilitate relaxation and healing, and to improve attitude, social interaction, and compliance.   “Music therapists primarily help clients improve their health in several domains, such as cognitive functioning, motor skills, emotional development, social skills, and quality of life” (Wikipedia).
What about ordinary life? We considered Saul earlier.  Yes indeed, Saul was King, powerful and influential.  David was a handsome, talented, and popular subject that obviously had Divine favor.  David inadvertently kept stirring up discomfort in Saul: threat, rivalry, envy, anger, rancor, fear, bitterness, melancholy, enmity, etc. – a legion that drove Saul to try to kill David. The folly of Saul’s preoccupation with the Divine favor of David drove Saul into deeper and deeper trouble (as the prophet Isaiah would later say: “Woe to him who contends with his Maker”). Thus Saul pursued David. In today’s perspective, privileged Saul got his powerful allies in the secret services to put David under 24/7 surveillance, to chip David’s body with a GPS-linked monitoring device, to bug and put hidden cameras in every nook and corner of David’s home including his bathroom, to invade David’s phone calls, emails  and computers with spyware, to send two dozen cars to follow and spy on David daily, plus accusers, stalkers, saboteurs, and vandals around everything David did, and all David’s relatives, friends, and associates would become ready or reluctant informants and agents.  Saul’s lance would be a cell-phone electronic device that shot David with a dose of DNA damaging radiation for slow cancerous death.  David’s life became a nightmarish game of hide-and-seek.  Saul’s demon, at one time before Saul knew David well, had been pacified when David sang and played his harp but Saul sent David away when David’s life unfolded as a threat and Saul’s demon therefore became unleashed.
Many experiments have shown the positive effects of music. Perhapsthe best experiments or observations one can learn from are the ones made on one’s self.  We begin with the concept of ego or love of self and sense of self-importance.  Definitely, there are many positive and many negative qualities of ego.  If you look back to the last few hours of your life and try to remember: what have you been thinking of, what preoccupied your mind, what made you feel good, what made you feel bad, etc., you may be pleasantly or unpleasantly surprised at yourself.  Unfortunately, more often than not, our awareness and thoughts are absorbed by negativities.  In fact, we may safely assume that Saul was a regular guy afterall.  Then we continue the experiment by watching a Youtubevideo or listening to a music CD or download of our favorite song(s); perhaps “Happy” by Pharell, “Gangnam Style” by Psy, “Aye” by Davido, Mavins Record’s “Dorobucci” or your favorite hymn(s). (Yes, music by 2-Face, Whizkid,9ice, P-Square, Olamide, D’banj, et al., may all be used).  After enjoying the music, examine your mind again and determine the effect of music on your mind.
Ego is always very powerful and very active, and sometimes dangerously so.   Music is one of those influences that are powerful enough to pacify and temper the ego.  It is a pleasant distraction or a mental speed-breaker that we should keep along our path of everyday journey.  Many ordinary people are not hospitalized by illnesses but we all do have other battles – in our minds and spirits.  Anger, hatred, restlessness, conceit, fanaticism, rivalry, vengeance, envy, obsession, fear, rancor, bitterness, greed, covetousness, lust, enmity, etc., – we have so many little demons that can affect us.  Music was good for Saul, music is good for all.
Dr. ‘Bola John is a biomedical scientist based in Nigeria and in the USA.   For any comments or questions on this column, please email bolajohnwritings@yahoo.com or call 08160944635
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