Sound and music: The answer to healthy aging
By Courtney Bachar/Active Senior’s Digest
Music is an intricate part of life passage and human experience.
Music and sound therapy can have a positive effect on everyone, young and old.
Sound is the first sense a person has and is the last sense to go, says Linda Sweet, a natural health care practitioner, including care in reflexology and Reiki.
“Music can have a profound effect on us,” she says. “I love music. I love to sing. I have a piano at home. I love to dance.”
One of her passions is participating in drumming circles with the Oshawa Senior Citizens Centres (OSCC), who recently received a trillium grant, which included 43 drums for seniors. The stipulation was to go out into the community and do drum circles.
“I’ve seen amazing things as a result of drumming,” she says, adding she has studied Reiki drumming in Sedona, Arizona, where she learned of the drumming influence and the power it can have on the entire body.
“Sound is everywhere,” says Sweet.
Music therapy can be used in facilities such as retirement residences and for people in palliative care. She adds that even though hospitals in Canada don’t use music yet, music can be found in some waiting rooms.
“Sound affects us emotionally,” she explains, adding everyone has music memories from youth and that songs and music can bring up the past and bring positive memories.
“Music can be soothing. Some sounds that usually help include running streams, birds chirping, wind, and rain, which can help us to relax and revitalize us.”
People are constantly bombarded with sound.
“We listen with our whole body not just our ears,” she says, adding people need to better learn how to become aware of sound.
Sweet has seen people with Parkinson’s disease and stiff movements who can dance and become alive when they listen to music they’ve listened to from when they were younger.
In addition to her health care work, Sweet also participates in and speaks at sound therapy workshops, where she encourages people to use their voices.
“Making sounds relieves stress,” she explains. “Sighing and groaning can help to relieve tension.”
Music therapy is for everyone, not just seniors, Sweet adds.
“We need to make good music and sound choices. As we get older, maybe some of us lose our ability to communicate, maybe especially in long-term care. People may think they don’t matter, but when they’re put in a group where they can drum or sing, they can become alive and remember how they used to be,” she says. “We need to be more aware of sound and music. We need to use music and sound as much as possible. People would heal better, and get better, faster.”