From ancient times through today, music has been used to help with mental, physical and emotional conditions. By simply playing a favorite song, a mood can be lifted and improved, and research indicates that the positive effects of music on the brain can help with neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s, Autism or Alzheimer’s. As music therapists continue to research and prove the benefits of music on the overall health and wellness of people, the instruments used have begun to show individual benefits that can be used tailored to each person’s unique health and wellness needs.
Didgeridoo: With its low vibration that can be heard and felt, the Didgeridoo is thought to increase relaxation, reduce stress and anxiety and provide an overall feeling of wellness for those listening to its song. Additionally, those who play the Didgeridoo can also reap the benefits of circular breathing, a technique that increases oxygen within the body, helping an unlimited number of body systems heal and remain healthy.
Djembe: As one of the best-known hand drums in world music, the healing qualities of the Djembe run the spectrum from reducing anxiety and stress to helping process trauma and encouraging fine and gross motor activity. Djembe and other hand drums also serve as methods to encourage communication for those with language disabilities.
Gong: Drawing from its rich tapestry of tones, the gong is well known for its healing properties and connection to kundalini energy. The Gong not only relieves stress, but can stimulate the immune nervous systems and is especially noted for its ability to help people feel more balanced and centered overall.
Kalimba: The Kalimba has been noted for its ability to calm and soothe, as well as help those with arthritis or other physical injuries in the hands. A simple instrument that evolved from gourds that produces light vibrations with its whimsical tones, the Kalimba has been used with pregnant mothers and those with hearing impairments.
No matter the instrument, the mood-enhancing benefits of music have far-reaching benefits for health and wellness. From its roots in ancient Egypt, Greece and India through modern times, sound, rhythm and music have been established as a way to ease tension and anxiety, as well as provide other mental and physical benefits. Whether hand percussion and drums or a favorite song or hot rhythm, music reaches into the lives of everyone, touching the heart, mind and soul.