Harmonizes the Brain and Heals the Heart

Music as Medicine




When two guitarists play together, more than their instruments play in time; their brainwaves match up, too, according to new research from Germany. When the German scientists analyzed electrical activity in the brains of eight pairs of guitarists as they played a short jazz-fusion melody together up to 60 times, they discovered that brain wave similarities within and between the musicians’ brains increased as they listened to the beat of a metronome while preparing to play. The brains’ synchronization then continued when they began making music.

Another U.S. study monitored the steady pulse of a recovering heart surgery patient as it charted the progress of his mending heart, while a quiet symphony filled the room. For nine days, the patient soaked up the tranquil, wordless strumming of a Brazilian guitarist. Music became his medicine, as his heart literally fell into rhythm with the tunes. Increasingly, doctors are studying and employing music as a healing tool; in measuring the brain’s response to musical notes, they are discovering music’s harmonizing route from head to heart.


Sources: msnbc.msn.com, BBC News, 2009

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