I just ran across an article published in Scotland on Sunday titled “Doctor Beat”. The author Janet Christie highlights some of the current research findings uncovering the therapeutic power of music. Included within is a spotlight on the music research conducted by my friend and colleague Vera Brandes at the Paracelsus Private Medical University in Salzburg, Austria. Her study demonstrated clinically significant improvements in heart-rate variability after patients followed a specific music program 2 x 30 minutes a day for five weeks. Heart-rate variability is an indicator of autonomic nervous system function.
Coincidently the article also highlights the story of young Ethan, a boy diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome who benefited from listening to our very own The Listening Program® method for 2 X15 minutes a day for eighteen months at his primary school in Midlothian, Scotland. His mother, Wendy Brooks shares ”The music helped with his concentration and social skills, which is a huge thing when you’ve got Asperger’s. He used to get frustrated and upset really quickly but he became a lot calmer and it became easier to get through to him. He’s a maths whizz, so that became more focused too, because he can concentrate better. Before the program, he just wasn’t listening,” she says. “It has had a very powerful effect because he hasn’t been as difficult to deal with and his conversational skills are very good now. You’d never know how he was at three years old.”
While the article focuses on varied examples of the healing effects of music including music therapy, interestingly it concludes with a list of music that is reported to inflict pain and distress by military and law enforcement agencies. I would have never considered the theme of Sesame Street as torture, however I can see repeated exposure to the Bee Gees “Staying Alive” as being a detriment to my cognitive and emotional state.