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Thursday, 27 October 2011

If music be the food of healing, play on...

It may sound obvious, but I wonder how many of us actually use music as part of our daily practice to reduce stress. Evidently 30 trials with cancer patients have shown that music can help to heal cancer patients as well as helping the patient to control pain.  I don't like to take strong painkillers, though I am forced to give in sometimes just to get some sleep or rest, as I prefer to use mind over matter and breathing techniques to control pain; and to be honest I am just so used to it I tend not to focus on it much, it is just there.  But there are times when it is good to remind myself to correct my posture and focus on releasing the pain and tension through concentrating on my breathing for a while and bringing myself back to the present moment.

I know that I don't listen to music enough these days as I gave my small music centre which I had in my 'office' to my aunt when her music centre CD stopped working. I can play the radio over the internet but I seldom think to do so.

Where I do use music is when I go to hospital for a treatment and I listen to some relaxing music, or a guided meditation while I have the treatment. That way I can take myself to some beautiful places far away from the dark, grim hole that is the chemo clinic at Southampton General Hospital; windowless and soulless. When I walk into down (ok shuffle on my Nordic poles) I also play music on my MP3 player and at times it can be really magical walking along looking at a beautiful blue sky with puffy white cotton ball clouds and listening to Vaughan Williams 'Lark Ascending'.

I have just turned on my little dock for my MP3 player to listen to some music, but it is not only music that can really lift my mood. I also have some downloads of ambient sounds of Forest and Farm sounds which can be really relaxing; listening to the birds and the sounds of trees rustling as well as farm animals. You can get them on Amazon (other downloaders are available) for about 80pence and some of them last for an hour, which is really good value. Also you can listen to a sample before you buy so you can decide whether it is your 'thing' or not. Right now I have the Ambient Farm Sounds and some music playing so it is rather like an outdoor concert!

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