Music and Meditation
The powerful benefits of meditation are well understood. Researchers study the impact of meditation, but only recently is knowledge of meditation music unfolding! Music’s frequencies and rhythms combine with energy, such as our brain. Our brain and body respond to meditation music by slowing down and giving the body more power to repair itself.
Brain function physically changes in response to music. Meditation music forces the brain to relax. The brain then signals the body to follow suit. Cardiologist Herbert Benson, M.D. Head of the Behavioral Medicine Department and Mind/Body Medical Institute, said, "Major physiological systems change when the mind has a focus (such as sound or music.) Metabolism decreases, the heart rate slows, respiratory rate decreases, and distinctive brain waves form."
Slowing the brainwaves down with meditation music changes the physical body. A group of Japanese researchers reported that "Mediation music played before anesthesia increased alpha waves, indicating deeper relaxation, and marked decreases in plasma levels of the stress hormones cortisol. Music boosted the immune system, reducing recovery time."
Even without meditating, listening to meditation music has multiple benefits. "Slowing of brain waves pushes the brain to reorganize itself at higher, more complex levels of functioning" (predicted by Prigogine, 1977 Nobel Prize Winner).
Listening to and creating music provides various positive effects on mood and mental health. Meditation music also increases the efficiency of your brain processing.
Listening to meditation music increases communication between the right and left halves of the brain. Each time the brain reorganizes, there are improvements in learning ability, creativity, mental clarity, intelligence, intuition, and mental and emotional health. Another benefit of slower brain waves is that you can combine information that previously seemed unrelated.
In summary, meditation music sharpens mental acuity and assist in relaxation. Memory and learning can be enhanced. The term "Mozart effect" was coined after a study showed that college students performed better on math problems when listening to classical music. "Mozart has a liberating, curative, even healing power," said Dr. Alfred Tomatis. Music impacts us in unsuspecting places. For example, “Music of Mozart and Vivaldi causes fetus' heart rates to stabilize, whereas rock music drove fetuses to distraction and they kicked violently."
Here are some ideas to use meditation music and sounds to improve your consciousness and life.
• Listen to music with a slow rhythm, one that has a tempo similar to the relaxing sounds of ocean waves, to allow your body to slow down and heal vital functions.
• Allow music with a repeating or cyclical pattern to organize your body rhythms.
• Focus on breathing in sync with slower-paced meditation music. Let the meditation music deepen and slow your breath, making your breathing regularly paced.
• Concentrate on the silence between the notes in meditation music, amplifying relaxation.
• When “going gets tough," listen to music that you are familiar with - such as a childhood favorite or favorite oldies. Familiarity often breeds calmness.
• Listen to sounds of nature, such as ocean waves or the calming sounds from a deep forest.
Slow-paced meditation music creates steady patterns for your heart, pulse, and breathing to copy.
Meditation music has a relaxing and soothing harmony to improve your emotional state of well-being. Meditation music creates feelings of calmness, tension, excitement, or romance. Lullabies have long been famous for soothing babies to sleep. Music can express emotion non-verbally.
Classical music’s benefits extend to the body and mind as well. Classical music reduces stress and tension. Below are some compositions similar to meditative music.
· Satie – Gymnopédie No.1. ...
· Holst – Venus the Bringer of Peace (The Planets)
· Chopin – Nocturne No.2, Op.9. ...
· Ravel – Piano Concerto in G major (2nd movement) ...
· Beethoven – Moonlight Sonata (first movement)
Your brain can slow down with meditative music, or it can match binaural beats, which can be added to meditation music. Meditation music with binaural beats is the fast track method to achieve deep meditation. The left side of our brain processes logical and analytic information. The right side of our brain is in use when we are creative. Typically people use either their left or right brain, depending on the task they are doing. Each half of the brain receives a different sound (perhaps from a headphone) via each ear. The brain can only hear one of the two tones at one time. The subtracting of the two frequencies creates a pulsing sound, and then it “hypnotizes” the brain. The brain waves match the frequency of the combined tone.
Both halves of the brain work together to subtract the smaller frequency from the larger one. The listener hears the difference between those frequencies. The sound is not that pleasing, but now you have both brain hemispheres up and running and working in a supportive way together.
The percentage of brain cells that a person is using has just increased. The listener is functioning with both hemispheres operating – whole-brain functioning. Princeton Biofeedback researcher, Dr. Fehmi, said that the binaural beats get your whole brain to work, not just one of its hemispheres, so your intelligence improves. You also become less self-conscious and more intuitive. You don’t feel separate from others or feel narrowly focused; your awareness widens. Another researcher, Hiew, says the binaural beats create a relaxed, meditative, and creative mental state (like the impact of meditation music). Binaural beats also aid sleep.
"Different pitches induce different brain waves. Brain waves are categorized from fast to slow speeds, called beta, alpha, theta, and delta brain waves. Different frequencies of the binaural beats create selected states of consciousness.
Why do you care what specific brain waves operate in your brain? “Different brain wave frequencies trigger the production of different brain chemicals. For example, alpha frequencies boost serotonin that eases pain, while catecholamines, produced by theta frequencies, are vital for memory and learning,” wrote Dr. Patterson. “The brain’s internal communication system, its language if you like, is based on frequency,” she continued. Meditation music has a similar impact on you.
Dr. Giampapa, of the Longevity Institute International, wrote that alpha, delta, and theta brain waves "dramatically affect the production of three most important hormones in relationship to increased longevity and well-being: cortisol, DHEA, and melatonin." DHEA increases one's resistance to disease. DHEA buffers against cortisol that we produce in response to stress. Cortisol increases the body's aging process. Meditation music also slows down brain waves.
In a before-and-after-study of people using headphones and listening to sounds that create specific brain waves, there was a 68 percent increase of DHEA in three days. DHEA increases one’s resistance to disease!
A study in the New England Journal of Medicine tells us, “An increase of DHEA in blood levels corresponded with a 48% reduction in mortality due to cardiovascular disease and a 36% reduction in mortality for any reason.” DHEA helps us live longer.
“Cortisol levels in the blood lowered 46%, with positive changes in 68% of the people.” (Cortisol speeds up the body’s aging mechanisms.) Keeping cortisol levels low helps us remain youthful. It’s hard to imagine all of the benefits that we enjoy from meditation music.
Theta brain frequencies are present when the body produces melatonin, which helps us sleep. Theta brain waves increase melatonin levels, on average 98%.” As people age, they fail to get enough sleep. The problem with getting less sleep is that the body needs sleep to regenerate and rebuild. Melatonin helps the body restore and rebuild.
Binaural beats are a fast track way to slow down your brain waves. Listening to soft meditation music is another way to produce the same impact. No headphones are required, and it is pleasurable. Meditation music slows down your brain wave, proving a multitude of benefits.
 “Research Behind Acoustic Brain Entrainment,” Pg. 11. www.neuroacoustic.org  “Research Behind Acoustic Brain Entrainment,” Pg. 12. www.neuroacoustic.org  “Research Behind Acoustic Brain Entrainment,” Pg. 12. www.neuroacoustic.org  Tomas Verny, Tame, David. The Secret Life of Music.  "Dr. Lester Fehmi, director of the Princeton Biofeedback Research Institute, Fehmi, Lester and Fritz, George. "Open Focus: The Attention Foundation of Health and Well Being," Somatics, Spring 1980, "The Scientific Research Behind Acoustic Brainwave Entrainment," Pgs. 4, 5, www.neuroacoustic.org  Hiew, 1995 and Foster, 1990, “Acoustic Brainwave Entrainment with Binaural Beats,” Pg. 3, www.neuroacoustic.org  There is a correlation between sound waves that entrain your brain waves and brain waves activities, but not everyone's brain waves match the sounds in the same way.  Dr. Margaret Patterson in collaboration with biochemist Dr. Ifor Capel at the Marie Curie Cancer Memorial Foundation Research Dept. in Surrey, England. “Research Behind Acoustic Brain Entrainment,” Pg. 8. www.neuroacoustic.org  Dr. Vincent Giampapa, MD., of Longevity Institute International and vice president of the American Society of Anti Aging Medicine. “Research Behind Acoustic Brain Entrainment,” Pg. 10, 11. www.neuroacoustic.org  “Research Behind Acoustic Brain Entrainment,” Pg. 11. www.neuroacoustic.org  “Research Behind Acoustic Brain Entrainment,” Pg. 11. www.neuroacoustic.org  “Research Behind Acoustic Brain Entrainment,” Pg. 11. www.neuroacoustic.org  “Research Behind Acoustic Brain Entrainment,” Pg. 11. www.neuroacoustic.org