Saturday, June 1, 2013

Healing with music

40% of the ancient metal horns which survive in the world are Irish! The island of Ireland is particularly noted for its great collection of ancient musical instruments. Spanning more than 3000 years from the Late Stone Age through to the Early Medieval Period (4200BC – 1000AD), they reflect the evolvement of many changes in Irish culture. Great feats of bronze casting and sheet metal work were achieved to produce fine practical instruments of musical and visual excellence.

The exceptionally large numbers of Irish metal horns which survive clearly indicates the importance which was placed on music in ancient Ireland. Yet, similar finds in lesser numbers in Britain and Western Europe also place ancient Ireland in an important International context. The earliest Irish legends contain many references to instruments and music being played in a variety of situations.

Ancient Ireland had Music therapy! Legend tells us of a young prince Fraoch who was severely wounded by a bite from giant Eel (possibly the progenitor of the Loch Ness monster). The wounded Fraoch was stretchered into a chamber led by seven trumpeters playing a special magic healing music that was so powerful that 30 of Queen Medb`s courtiers died upon hearing it.

The website of Music Therapy Ireland states - "the 20th century discipline began after World War I and World War II, when community musicians, both amateur and professional, went to hospitals around the country to play for the thousands of veterans suffering from both physical and emotional trauma from the wars. The patients’ notable physical and emotional responses to music led the doctors and nurses to request the hiring of musicians by the hospitals. It was soon evident that the hospital musicians needed some prior training before entering the facility and so the demand grew for a college curriculum."

Horns produce of sound on a variety of frequencies including inaudible ultrasound. Modern science tells us that there are three primary benefits to ultrasound as a medical treatment. The first is the speeding up of the healing process from the increase in blood flow in the treated area. The second is the decrease in pain from the reduction of swelling and edema. The third is the gentle massage of muscles tendons and/ or ligaments in the treated area because no strain is added and any scar tissue is softened. These three benefits are achieved by two main effects of therapeutic ultrasound. The two types of effects are: thermal and non thermal effects. Thermal effects are due to the absorption of the sound waves. Non thermal effects are from cavitation, microstreaming and acoustic streaming

Conditions which ultrasound may be used for treatment include the follow examples: Ligament Sprains, Muscle Strains, Tendonitis, Joint Inflammation, Plantar fasciitis, Metatarsalgia, Facet Irritation, Impingement syndrome, Bursitis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Osteoarthritis, and Scar Tissue Adhesion.

You can hear the ancient horns of Ireland on the Ancient Music Ireland (Ceol Ársa na hÉireann) website performed by Simon O'Dwyer and Maria Cullen O'Dwyer, who are based in Connemara in the West of Ireland. (Look for the video at the bottom of the page.) Spiritual healing may still come from musicians but these-days medical healing is best left to physicians! Enjoy.