Socrates once said, “when the soul hears music, it drops its’ best guard.” That, for me, is one of the best descriptions of the power that music has. How many times, in the midst of worry or grief, has a song lifted you out of that dark place and left you in another better place, a place with more light and air?

Very recently in the news there was a story of how the healing power of music helped wounded US Army soldiers. MusiCorps is a music rehabilitation program for severely wounded soldiers who are recovering at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. They match the injured troops with professional musicians, who then help the wounded soldiers play music and recover their lives.

A friend of mine told me about her uncle who has been living in a nursing home for 10 years. Like some people his age, he is suffering from dementia. He forgets things easily and has lost many of his mental abilities. He lives in his own world, often unresponsive to other people. But the nurses discovered that if they let him listen to his favorite music from the past, he is instantly transformed with life energy, and suddenly able to have conversations with the people around him. Music breathes life into his body and mind. It truly is an amazing example of the healing power of music.

Another discovery that really caught my attention is the healing power of Indian ragas! There is a true story of the then King of Mongolia, Gengis Khan, who was suffering from insomnia and had trouble sleeping at night. The best doctors in the world could not heal him. Medicines worked for a day or two but none of them could cure his condition. A sage from India, Pundit Omkarnath, came to his land. People laughed at his abilities to heal the king as he was not even a doctor. Pundit Omkarnath was a musician and he practiced Hindustani music. He came to the court the court of Gengis Khan and started singing some very old ‘ragas’. People were mesmerized by the music. They had never heard anything so enchanting. From that day onwards, Gengis Khan slept happily every night.

Music has been used for hundreds of years to treat illnesses and restore harmony between the mind and body.  So it’s doesn’t surprise me at all to hear these inspiring stories!

The best part is that it is very easy to incorporate healing music into our day to day lives. I listen to a wonderful ten minute relaxation track every morning and night, as a form of meditation. I find that it puts me in a really peaceful and happy mood in the morning, which can be difficult to accomplish without effort! I also find it helps me relax my over-active mind at night so I sleep well.  Above all else, it’s so much fun!