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Chinese Medicine Music Therapy

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Empowering, energizing, relaxing, cathartic, rejuvenating, romantic: human beings have been touched by the emotional chords of music for thousands of years. The doctors in ancient China have formulated a systematic way of integrating musical notes into the art of healing.

The Nei Jing or Yellow Emperor’s classic of medicine was the first document to refer to music as a form of therapy about 2500 years ago. A component of the five-element theory, Chinese music therapy is also an important branch of traditional Chinese medicine. The elements of wood, metal, fire, water and earth can be found in nature. Every one of these elements has their own corresponding elements, such as musical note, color, internal organ, season of the year, etc. The five sounds or notes of Classical Chinese music are — jiao, shi, gong, zhang, and yu. They are played on classical Chinese musical instruments such as the flute, gong, drum and zither. The relationship between the five-element correspondences (that include the musical notes) and the internal organs is used in Chinese medicine to attain a number of healing objectives.

Based on this principle, the “jiao” sound (that corresponds to the Western musical notation of E) is connected to the wood element, affects the liver and is the sound of spring. This note facilitates the smooth flow of Liver Qi, which helps alleviate depression. The “shi” note (that corresponds to the Western musical notation of G) is associated with the fire element, affects the heart and is the sound of summer. This sound reinforces blood circulation and nourishes the Heart. The “gong” note (that corresponds to the Western musical notation of C) is associated with the earth element, reinforces the Spleen and is the sound of late summer. The “zhang” note (that corresponds to the Western musical notation of D) is affiliated with the metal element, nourishes and protects Lung yin and is the sound of autumn. The “yu” note (that corresponds to the Western musical notation of A) belongs to the water element, reduces lung fire, protects Kidney essence, helps nourishes Kidney yin and is the sound of winter.

Three clinical trials were recently conducted in China to test the healing efficacy of classical Chinese five-element music. In March 2014, a Taiwanese study was conducted and published in the International Journal of Nursing Practice in order to assess the impacts of Chinese five-element music therapy on nursing students who were experiencing depression. The number of students who participated were 21 and all were suffering from depression. They were randomly divided into a control group and a “music group” that use the five-element musical therapy. The two groups performed their routine lifestyles. Researchers used the Depression Mood Self-Report Inventory for Adolescence to measure their progress. Also measured were the two groups’ salivary cortisol levels. Over time, based on salivary cortisol levels and on pre- and post-treatment test scores,the researchers discovered that in the music group, there was a meaningful decrease in levels of depression.

The second research observed the impacts of five-element music therapy on seniors suffering from SAD or seasonal affective disorder. In a nursing home in Beijing, 50 elderly patients were randomly and equally divided into a control group and a musical therapy group. Each week, for one to two hours, over an eight-week period, the music group listened to five-element music. Researchers utilized the HAMD or Hamilton depression scale and the SDS or self-rating depression scale to evaluate the patients before and after therapy.

Between both groups before the therapy, no meaningful disparity in the HAMD and SDS scores was found. Eight weeks after, the HAMD and SDS scores of the music therapy group were meaningfully less, than in that of the control group.

A third study was conducted that was designed to assess the impacts of the five-element music therapy on the quality of life of patients with advanced cancer. The patients were randomly divided into three groups: the group that received no music therapy; the group that was treated with Western-music therapy; and the group treated with five-element music therapy. For three weeks, five days a week, taking minutes a day, both the Western-music and five-element groups listened to their respective music. Researchers used the KPS or Karnofsky Performance Score and the HQLIR or Hospice Quality of Life Index-Revised to evaluate the patients before and after therapy.

Results revealed that meaningful differences in the KPS and HQOLI-R scores post therapy between the five-element music group and the two other groups. It was concluded that that five-element music therapy could can replace the KPS and the quality of life of patients suffering from advanced cancer.

Researchers believe that music can influence stress hormones, brain circulation and brain waves. Musical therapy appears to be quite good in lessening the physiological impacts of stress: it can strengthen the immune system, lower breathing rate, reduce blood pressure and slow heart rate. This therapy can also expand the mind. A 1997 study indicated that the part of the brain responsible for analyzing the pitch of a musical note can be enlarged by 25% via experience and practice of music.

The researchers aforementioned don’t specifically provide evidence that the “zhang” sound nourishes the lungs are the “shi” sound calms the Heart. However, they definitely provide scientific validation to the wise Chinese physicians who developed a type of music therapy over 2500 years ago!

Eastern Healing Solutions, LLC
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Overland Park, KS 66210
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http://www.overlandparkacupuncturist.com

Written by Valerie

April 23rd, 2019 at 12:36 pm

Posted in Acupuncture

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