Have you ever noticed why listening to music lightens up your mood?
Why we all (most of us) love music and can't stop tapping or grooving after listening to our favourite songs?
The answer is hidden in Chemistry of our brain and how it gets affected by various factors. A 2011 study from Valerie Salimpoor and others looked at a group of people who reliably got musical chills and asked them to make a playlist of their favourite songs of any style. These people listened to the tracks while scientists monitored their brain activity. They found that music triggers the release of a chemical called dopamine in a part of the brain called the striatum. Evolutionarily, this is a really old part of the brain associated with responses to stuff that make you feel good. This showed that listening to say Daft Punk affects the same areas of the brain as chocolate, sex, or cocaine.
Now that we know that brain actually gets affected by music, let's find how does music therapy work!
For a 2017 study published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Goldsby and colleagues asked 62 men and women to undertake a one-hour sound bath. This involved lying down and listening to sounds made by a combination of Tibetan and crystal singing bowls, gongs, didgeridoos, and other instruments. The people in the study were allowed to let their minds wander and were told it was okay if they fell asleep.
Before and after the sound meditation session, the study participants completed questionnaires designed to measure their levels of tension, anger, anxiety, depression, pain, and other aspects of physical and emotional well-being. Following the hour-long session, each of these emotions had improved significantly, but sound meditation was particularly effective at countering tension, pain, anger, and confusion.
Goldsby says sound meditation seems to work in part by switching off the body’s fight-or-flight stress responses — the same ones that are activated by loud or unpredictable noises.
“Sound healing counters the stress response by invoking the parasympathetic nervous system, which slows heart rate, reduces blood pressure, and activates healing in the body,” she explains.
On top of sound’s ability to induce relaxation and counter stress, Goldsby says there’s speculation that certain sounds — in particular, binaural beats created by playing two different sound frequencies at the same time may actually shift brain activity into beneficial brain wave states. Just as sounds oscillate at different frequencies, which are measured in hertz, so too does the brain’s electrical activity. And there’s evidence that listening to specific binaural tones may adjust the brain’s electrical activity in ways that reduce anxiety and pain while promoting memory and attention improvements.
There’s more research to suggest that certain sounds and the vibrations they create may have calming or otherwise therapeutic properties.
One 2015 study in the journal Pain Research and Management found that five weeks of low-frequency sound simulation, a combination of precisely calibrated sounds and vibrations significantly improved sleep and reduced pain in 19 people with fibromyalgia.
“When you present the ears with a completely regular pulse, you will see an increase in the number of neurons firing at that rate,” says Lee Bartel, co-author of that study and a professor emeritus at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music and Rehabilitation Sciences Institute.
Put another way, exposing the brain to certain sounds or vibratory frequencies seems to coax it toward similar states of activity.
Blisskare offers these "Singing bowls" that emit sound at frequency of 432 Hz that changes the vibrations of your mind which in turn changes the electric signals in your brain, making it emit relaxed brain waves.