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Valentina Carlile Osteopata
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  • Writer's pictureValentina Carlile DO

Osteopathy and music: elements of music therapy

Osteopathy and music: elements of music therapy

Let's talk for a moment about our brain and how various parts such as the cortex and, underneath, the limbic system, actually process musical activity.

It is the occipital lobe of our cortices that actually produces associated images for us when we close our eyes, and listen to music. And these images can be for example places on the ocean, or on a mountain.

Our frontal lobe instead analyzes that music, providing us with information and data that tell us what that piece of music is, who could play it, and what key it is in.

However, when we are directly involved in playing, it is the parietal lobe that perceives our hands on the strings and sets them.

Of course, the auditory cortex is located in the temporal lobe, and this is where we process sound. So obviously the temporal lobe is a very active part.

But beneath the cortex there is the limbic system, and this is the seat of our emotions, our memories and the automatic reactions we have and which help us breathe and give rhythm to the heart.

These are functions that occur in a very primitive part of the brain, but which are automatically activated with a piece of music that is very dear to us and very significant to us. (A. Philip 2009).

You have probably heard of chemical neuromediators, serotonin and dopamine.

These are 'pleasant' chemicals that are released when we listen to music we love.

Research has found that the pleasure centers, the reward centers of the brain, are activated when we engage in music, whether listening, singing, playing, composing or even talking about it.

When we listen to music, the autonomic nervous system regulates our internal organs and helps us survive.

The parasympathetic nervous system is part of this autonomic nervous system and relaxes us deeply. It allows us to recover, to rest.

And if you have ever listened to a piece of music that is familiar and comforting to you and associated it with wonderful places and/or fantastic people, then know that it is your parasympathetic system that has allowed you to do this, as you listen, relax and enjoy .

On the one hand, therefore, there is the parasympathetic, which creates connections for us.

On the other, the sympathetic system.

The latter is the part that deals with the fight, flight or freeze response.

And this is our mechanism for dealing with stress, and the chronic stress that comes from being in a state of threat is what causes failures like hypertension or gastrointestinal disorders.

But music not only relaxes us, it can also bring us to a state of homeostasis.

When we are busy with music, the pain signals are not as strong.

They come through the source of that pain, that insult to our body, and then they are processed in the brain.

But if in the meantime the brain is experiencing or playing music, these elements inhibit the pain signal in its descent, offering a physical response to it.

In this way, music actually dulls the pain.

So you see that it is through the whole brain and the integration of our body that we are able to stay healthy.

Music, of course, cannot cure a disease and cannot repair damaged tissue, but it can help us deal with any pain or suffering, and this can ultimately make us healthier (R.Jackson 2016).

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