Take 2 CDs and Call the Doc in the Morning: A Musical Cure for Insomnia

Dr. Andrew Weil’s Music for Self-Healing
Relax & De-Stress
Music selected and designed by Joshua Leeds
Sounds True

Anders Rogg & Audun Myskja
Videre (Moving On–Music to reflect and unwind by)
Kirkelig Kulturverksted

By Patty-Lynne Herlevi

Ever since I discovered the work of Dr. Masaru Emoto with the effects of music on water crystals, my eyes awakened to the consciousness and intention hidden in everyday music. I have read several books on the subject of the healing powers of music, mainly from a sound healer’s point of view. I have read about various shamanic traditions around the world that employed the power of music and words as a healing practice. I have explored Finnish rune songs, Native American peyote songs as well as, the music of European classical composers and beyond.I am not surprised that medical doctors and scientists are jumping on board the healing music train, although I still use my powers of discernment. I wouldn’t like to see the power of music turned into a pharmaceutical product or to see science ignore the sacred and spiritual aspect found in some musical traditions. But on the other hand, medical science’s discover of the healing power of prayer, meditation and music has gone a long way in healing those who suffer from painful medical conditions, mental and emotional anguish. The next step is healing non-human creatures with music.

Dr. Andrew Weil, who you have probably seen featured on PBS or seen his books around, has jumped on the heal-with-music bandwagon. As a rule I do not take the advice of medical doctors who look unhealthy, I think the doctor is onto something with the CDs he has released on the Sounds True label. Relax and de-Stress features the Apollo Chamber Ensemble performing psychoacoustically arranged music by such great composers as Debussy, Chopin, Mozart (of course), Bach and others. This is not a relaxation tape of the old days with all that synthesizer and colorless drone. Remember those recordings? This is not muzak.

I actually was given one of those muzak recordings as a gift once because I suffer from insomnia. And the music was so horrid that I stressed out and nearly tossed the CD against a wall. That simply isn’t the case with Relax & De-Stress, which has helped me to fall into a deep sleep several times now. Not only that, the music performed on piano, oboe, English horn and cello pleasures the ears. The music was selected and designed by Joshua Leeds, a proponent of the sound healing field. He provides a lengthy description of the arrangement of music which descends from 80 bpm, Bach’s Aria Lento to 50 bpm, Dvorak’s The New World Symphony.

If you don’t mind reading the liner notes while you soak in this gorgeous music, you will glean sound healing terminology, biographies of the producers and other information. However, I suggest reading the liner notes before you immerse yourself in this relaxing experience. Listen to this CD before bedtime and enjoy a good night’s rest.

Other suggestions that help with insomnia. Drink a glass of water an hour before going to bed to keep your body hydrated and if you suffer from low blood sugar, eat a little protein before going to bed, such as a few crackers with cheese or peanut butter or a handful of almonds. And do not balance your checkbook or try to solve any problems before going to sleep. And don’t read a suspense novel such as The Da Vinci Code because then you’ll just experience disturbing dreams and insomnia.

Anders Rogg and Audun Myskja of Norway have delivered an intriguing double CD, Videre of healing songs that entertain my mind, soothe my body and let my soul rest for a bit. Now, I have an extremely short attention span. For those of you who know astrology would know that someone with a mutable T-Cross and a Grand Trine in the water element is not the type of person that can sit still for long. Yet, I have found myself sitting through both CDs a couple of times now and the subtle music took the restless edge off of me. Is this healing? I think so.

So why are these CDs different than the usual new age healing music? First of all, the music here is extremely sophisticated and arranged in such a way that one German music site called the recording “Ambient Symphony and sound poetry.” And this journalist was not being arty because that is exactly what you have here, a true healing art. The music is similar to what you would find on the German label ECM, elegant ambient musical arrangements with a variety of European and traditional instruments ranging from piano, tuba, the Armenian duduk, harp, strings sans the violin, Tibetan bells, celeste, an Indian santoor, percussion, a wordless choir, tin whistles and low whistles, mandola and accordion. Trygve Seim brings in saxophones and on the second disc and all of the instruments are arranged in intriguing ways.

Second, you will find many of the elements of sound healing such as harmonics, vocals coming from the heart chakra, Tibetan bells, harp and warm tones in a major key. The sounds are so quiet and subtle that you really must concentrate and not allow your mind to wander off in meadows of daydreams. Also this slow and moody music married sounds from my environment, the crackling of the heater, buzz of the refrigerator, the neighbor attempting to start the reluctant engine on her car, an airplane flying overhead, rain dropping onto the roof, and the ticking of a clock reminding us that all sounds musical and mundane are part of a grand symphony of our lives. And well, focusing on sounds in general depending on our perspective can be meditative and relaxing.

Finally, this recording was carefully thought out to bring healing to its listeners. The packaging features soothing green, the color of the heart chakra and violet, the color of the crown chakra as well as a white background which to me represents a clean slate and a new beginning which is what some healing is all about. Both discs feature different instrumental arrangements. Disc 1 represents ambient chamber music with harp, strings, piano, celeste and accordion. Beethoven’s Arietta appears twice on the disc, on the second track in which it features strings and piano and on the final track which features celeste and strings. In fact, the piano tracks on this disc are reflective of Beethoven’s nocturnes and sonatas.

Disc 2 could be called more adventurous and the composer moves away from the chamber arrangement and plays around with different timbre while never leaving the ambient atmosphere. This CD features 13 tracks and it’s fun for the mind to guess what sounds its hearing at any given time. In 2001, Anders Rogg released, The Sound Of Light in Norway where to date has sold 10,000 copies and has had a healing effect on various ailments including, insomnia, distress, muscles and joint pain, seasickness and tinnitus (ringing of the ears). Videre has the potential to do more as far as healing goes because all the instruments are acoustic. It’s my belief that acoustic instruments possess a higher vibration than synthesizers and other electronic instruments.

We may not know what music is, but we know something about what music can do. For indigenous people, music has always been part of their curing rituals. In recent decades in our own culture, music is enjoying a renaissance as medical therapy.” (liner notes)

And if you find the music on these two recordings relaxing then stretch your imagination a bit further and play this music for your pets. They too, deserve a good, deep sleep.

For more information about healing music, visit Cranky Crow Whole Music.

I am currently seeking a reputable publisher and agent for my book, Whole Music which explores the healing power of traditional, classical and other types of music.

Buy Relax & De-Stress and Videre.

Author: World Music Central News Department

World music news from the editors at World Music Central