Here’s How Music Can Be a Form of Medicine

By Artika Casini

Can sound heal? These Delaware experts explain how music can recalibrate the body, refine motor skills, improve sleep and more.

Sometimes we can’t find the words for the things we want to say, and sometimes we don’t need to. Music—with its innate power to shift our mood, release endorphins, lower heart rate, improve sleep and even decrease blood pressure—is its own form of medicine.

Audrey Hausig, a music therapist with the Music School of Delaware, uses its restorative power to help people heal. That can mean steadying a person’s gait and refining their motor skills through a song’s rhythm. But it can also offer distraction during a painful medical procedure, or provide a way for children, especially those on the autism spectrum, to express themselves. “Music is another way to connect and communicate,” she says. “We’re naturally musical beings, even when we don’t know it.”

Consider the difference between waves crashing on the beach and the blare of heavy traffic, says John McElderry, a musician and sound therapist in Rockland. “Our ears receive vibrations, which our brains then process, altering our own energy in return,” he explains. 

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To recalibrate the body, McElderry employs tuning forks—and a symphony of mysticism, science and psychotherapy—to find coherence in the invisible, often distorted energy we emit. “Frequency is a universal language,” says McElderry, who offers sessions out of his home studio. “There’s a benefit to understanding how our electromagnetic fields work and how to make them stronger.”

Published as “The Sound of Healing” in the Spring/Summer 2020 issue of 302Health magazine.

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