AUG 2014

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Page 59 of 115

YOUR WELLNESS SPA Mind-Body Health 58 DAYSPA | AUGUST 2014 In years past, "Turn that noise down!" was a famil- iar cry from the parent of a child blasting her favorite tunes. But times have changed; these days, we're as likely to spot Mom head-banging to a heavy metal song as she maneuvers her car through rush-hour traffi c as we are to witness a sleep-deprived teenager haul himself out of bed with the help of a hip-hop beat. The ability of music to raise us—or defl ate us— seems as individual as it is powerful. And yet… the effects of music on the human mind and body have been carefully studied, and certain tendencies have emerged. For instance, did you know that the generic strains of "muzak" piped through the speaker of that store elevator have been carefully cho- sen to calm your nervous system—so, perhaps you'll be able to focus and buy more on fl oor three? And that the rock 'n' roll turned up so loud at a restaurant that it renders conversation with your dining compan- ions impossible has been found to make you order more cocktails yet leave sooner, so the table can be fi lled again with more paying customers? For your purposes as a spa owner, however, we want to zero in on the abilities of music to calm and nur- ture. The famous saying, "Music has charms to soothe a savage beast," is a line from a 1697 play called The Mourning Bride, written by William Congreve. The lesser-known lines that follow are, "To soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak. I've read that things inanimate have moved. And, as with living souls, have been in- formed, by magic numbers and persuasive sound." Music or sound, used in every culture throughout history, has the power to communicate, strengthen, unify and inspire. And yes, to comfort and to heal. Its therapeutic infl uence harkens back to the writings of Aristotle and Plato. And Hippocrates was said to have used music as part of his patients' treatments. The scientifi c study of music as therapy emerged after World War I, when musicians came to play at veterans' hospitals, and medical professionals noted the physical and emotional improvement in their patients' conditions. Today, the discipline of music therapy has certifi cation programs and is a respected modality used to treat a myriad of physical and mental conditions. Research points to limitless possibilities. SONG IN MY HEART The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA, defi nes music therapy as an "es- tablished health profession in which music is used within a therapeutic relationship to address physi- cal, emotional, cognitive and social needs of indi- viduals." A therapist might provide treatment in the form of creating, singing, moving to, and/or listen- ing to music. Such therapy was used with Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords to help her regain her speech following a near-fatal bullet wound to the brain. In fact, the AMTA cites numerous examples of peo- ple who have benefi tted from receiving this therapy: • Older adults to lessen the effects of dementia • People with asthma to reduce episodes • Hospital patients to reduce pain • Children on the autism spectrum to improve communication capabilities • Premature infants to improve sleep patterns and increase weight gain • People who have Parkinson's disease to improve motor function While there are clinical protocols for music thera- py, each session is as individual as its subject. Notes Christine Stevens, MSW, MA, MT-BC (board-certifi ed music therapist), founder of Upbeat Drum Circles ( and author of Music Medicine: The Science and Spirit of Healing Yourself with Sound (Sounds True, 2012), "Music becomes the vehicle of our self-expression. We might work with a soldier and fi nd one song that expresses his whole experience Sound Advice Exposure to certain types of music can affect us in ways that surprise even wellness professionals. By Andrea Renskoff PHOTOS COURTESY WAKE UP FESTIVAL

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