Music Therapy for Companion Animals: Ancient Practice with New Implications
Jul 03, 2014 01:42AM
By Mary Oquendo
Australian Aborigines and Native Americans used sound to heal from within in their sacred ceremonies. The Tibetans still use bells, chimes, bowls and chanting during their spiritual meditations and practices. The priests of ancient Egypt used vowel sounds to balance chakras, the major energy centers located along the axis of their bodies (animals have eight energy chakras).
Music therapy has modern applications as well. Today it is used in hospitals for pain management, labor and delivery, neonatal care, pediatrics, oncology, physical rehabilitation, psychotherapy and other conditions. Increasingly there is application of music therapy where animals are concerned because animals are very sensitive creatures, in tune with their surroundings and their bodies. Music therapy can be used to change their reaction to an environment from stressful to calm, as well as target health concerns. Zoos have utilized music therapy to calm agitated animals and dairy farms to increase milk output.
What is music therapy?
For humans, music therapy is defined as “an interpersonal process in which the therapist uses music and all of its facets-physical, emotional, mental, social, aesthetic, and spiritual-to help clients to improve or maintain their health,” according to Temple University’s Boyer College of Music and Dance. Energetically, music therapy is based on the premise that everything in life has a corresponding musical note or vibrational level. A black hole in the heart of the Perseus galaxy cluster was recorded at 57 octaves below middle C in the note of B flat. A healthy heart vibrates at F. The earth itself “hums” at 7.8 Hz, which by the way is the vibration of the alpha waves of our brains.
Sound therapy, vibrational therapy, music therapy and entrainment all are based on the concept that the right music can heal the body, mind and soul. “Sound therapy, whether through the use of sound tools, singing bowls, or voice helps lift the issues out of tissues,” says Tree McKenna Cinque, crystal master and sound practitioner.
Animal Sensitivity to Music
While humans hear in the 200 to 20,000 Hz range, animals’ hearing is far more sensitive at up to 200,000 Hz. Playing high-energy music can stress a pet, resulting in behavioral issues, while lower energy music can calm an anxious pet. In addition, it is now understood that particular health concerns can be mitigated by choosing the corresponding musical note associated with the problem.
“Animals and pets are tuned into vibration and sound much more so than humans. Animals have the capacity to hear more octaves and tones than humans and are profoundly affected by sound,” explains Jennifer Zulli, an artist, musician, sound healer and founder of Newtown’s SOUND Center for Arts & Mindfulness. “Their emotional state or well-being can be manipulated or entrained with music – whether it’s from your iPod, your voice or a tuning fork. They seek to be in a state of natural balance like us. We all can thrive harmoniously together when our intentions are continuously created from a place of love. What better way to express our love to our pets than one of the most spiritual art forms ... music.”
Incorporating music into your pet’s life
The two easiest mediums to add are music and singing bowls. Singing bowls are made from either metal or crystal and vibrate when played to a particular frequency or musical note. Most common singing bowls are found in 11 different notes, which correspond to the chakras of body. For example, playing a bowl that resonates at C would help with any concerns connected to the root chakra.
Playing calming music throughout the day, such as harp, easy listening or classical, will reduce stimuli which can, in turn, lower stress levels and improve behavioral issues. Music such as Steven Halpern’s “Chakra Suite,” uses musical notes to balance chakras that are out of alignment, closed or overly open. Animals with healthy, balanced chakras are more effective at self-healing when they are faced with a health issue.
Adding music therapy to your pet’s environment is easy and can be an effective component of your pets’ overall health maintenance plan.
Owner and stylist of Pawsitively Pretty Mobile Grooming Salon in Danbury, Mary Oquendo ACM, RM, is one of only 13 Certified Master Pet Tech Instructors worldwide. She is a Reiki master and certified crystal healer. For more information, visit HandsAndPawsReiki.com. See ad, page 56.