Prof. Dr. med. Rosch / Prof. Dr. med. Koeditz • Music & Brain Medical Perspective
This leads us to the third main point:
3. The brain systems for activating and controlling the muscles
His patient Frances D. suffered from Parkinson’s Disease. The common drugs did not help, but Dr. Sacks found an extraordinarily effective treatment method for Mrs. D.’s symptoms: music.
“Dr. Sacks describes how one could see Mrs. D. sunk down in herself, spastic, jerky babbling along – like a kind of a human bomb. And in the next minute, when music started to play (moderate, quiet, nice, flowing music it had to be, rhythmically staccato “BUM-BUM-music” was not allowed) one could witness a complete disappearing of all these obstructive-explosive symptoms and their removal by light and flowing movements with which Mrs D. – suddenly freed from all her automatisms – smilingly conducted the music or rose up and danced to it.”
The investigations with children born with severe hearing impairments (17, 18) state, that these children show significantly disturbed motor skills, particularly in the co-ordination of their movements and in fine motorics. This shows that not only the motoric information of our muscles but also the acoustic information of the ear is read by the system of balance and is even necessary for its full unfoldment.
This is supported by the experience that we have a desire to move according to music. In all cultures of the world people dance to music; dancing and music necessarily belong together. Prof. Tomatis documents in his studies (28) the close interconnection between ear, acoustic information, posture and movement. For him the “posture profile“ sits in the ear and according to his investigations every muscle in the organism is connected to the system of balance – not only those muscles that help us move.
As the poor development of fine motorics in children born with hearing problems indicates, it could particularly be the fine musical movements in the melody of speaking and music, and their complex co-ordination, which perhaps create in the brain very subtle motoric impulses, and which – even if they are not transformed into movement – leave behind a fine stimulation of the motoric system. How else can the poor motoric development of hearing impaired children be explained? Obviously acoustic movements are also essential for developing fine motorics and co-ordination of movement.
And here, immediately again the question arises concerning the quality of the music. Which patterns of body movements are stimulated by musical movements: more jerky, fixed, monotone, machine like ones, or movements that are manifoldly flowing and naturally woven into each other?
Prof. Tomatis (26) describes a cybernetic regulation circle of movement: the brain gives the order for movement, the muscle performs the order and the system of balance checks the movement, and, if necessary, formulates a correction order. Into this circle of regulation music is able to interfere as we have seen in the above mentioned examples of Mr S. and Mrs D. and it is able, according to the structure of music, to strengthen harmonious motorics or to disturb it.
Let us take another example of how music effects the muscle system. The problem of a tension headache is, that this kind of headache normally generates from a very tense neck, where the muscles of this part of the body are under constant tension. This constant tension reports to the brain and is felt as pain.
Who now is the medical “reference person“ in the organism for this neck, “armour plated“ with tense muscles?
On the one hand, for sure, the system of balance, which also checks the muscles of the neck and actually should have given a correction order to relax long ago. But on the other hand there is still the world of our emotions, which acts in this case superior to the system of balance. Because if the tense neck has not, for example, come from a harmful working position, then it is mostly the tension in our world of feeling (the hectic concerns, the pressure of problems, the fear) which sit in our neck, and which, as time goes by, lead to chronic tension of the neck muscles and in consequence to a tension headache.
To both, to the system of balance as well as to the world of emotions the ear, and thus music, has the best connections.
Seen purely physiologically one can understand the activities of our feelings as a complex exchange of bioelectrochemical signals in the brain, which become active within certain nerval networks. In such a materialistic view our feelings of being at home with harmony, inner security and relaxation correspond to such special activity patterns of neurotransmitters, hormones and electrical impulses in the complex network of our brain nerves.
Many indications suggest (22), that music of natural harmonic order particularly stimulates the cerebral networks of these feelings and through a regular training and the experience of deep natural harmony, the order to “armour plate“ the neck with tense muscles is drawn back – this may explain why in tension headaches MRT-Music® shows up to 80% treatment success (23).
And as the studies show, another muscle component is added here too. Dr. Shemagonov documented in ultrasound measurements (24), how under MRT-Music® the slow spontaneous oscillations (SSO) of the brain arteries normalize, whose rhythms change under tension headache.
These oscillations in the speed of blood flow are generated by contraction and expansion of the arterial vessels and are regulated by the autonomous nervous system. Obviously MRT-Music® has access to this regulation, since the contraction rhythms harmonise under listening to this music and tension headache vanishes.
Has the auditory-vestibular system also access to the contractions of the vascular system? And why attune the rhythms of breath and heart to the rhythm of music? A detailed answer to such questions could open up new important horizons to the treatment of hypertension, rhythmical disorders of the heart and asthma.
Finally let us point out one of the most significant results with the Medical Resonance Therapy Music®, which documents the enormous power of acoustic structures on the activity of the brain. It is well known, that certain visual and acoustic impulse sequences can initiate an epileptic seizure. MRT-Music® creates the opposite effect: as Dr. Sidorenko could show, the rate of epileptic seizures reduced by 75% (!) in severely ill epileptic patients when treated with MRT-Music® (25).
According to Dr. Sidorenko probably the highly complex and naturally flowing organisation of time within MRT-Music® plays a particularly important role, which counteracts the fixed nerval rhythmic of beginning epileptic seizures.
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