This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Lay down your weary tune, lay down
Lay down the song you strum
And rest yourself 'neath the strength of strings
No voice can hope to hum
One of Bob Dylan's most beautiful songs is "Lay Down Your Weary Tune," written by the troubadour in 1963. The narrator tells his tired companion there is respite from his burdens, if he will listen to the sounds that assuage and inspire.
A book to be released this fall by Ogden resident Alex Doman and Colorado author Don Campbell will seek to scientifically prove what Dylan once sang that sound can soothe and offer a passage to better health.
"Sound is everywhere it is as much a part of our lives as the air we breathe and the food eat," according to the authors of Healing at the Speed of Sound.
Of course, most of us don't think twice about the healthy attributes of sound.
"We may choose organic food at the supermarket and avoid inhaling others' cigarette smoke, yet we rarely pay attention to the equally positive or negative health impacts of sound, the other thing we put in our bodies," the authors wrote.
The Salt Lake Tribune recently asked the Doman and Cambell how people can use sound music, as well as silence to improve their health and lives. Here are their 10 suggestions for creating a healthy diet of "sound nutrition."
Have a plan • There is music that acts as "sonic caffeine" and music that serves as a "sonic sedative." Campbell suggests that people create a "sound track" for their day. For example, Doman said he wakes up tothe strong music of Adele. When he feels reflective, he puts on Ben Folds or Vivaldi; Willie Nelson's "Stardust" has a calming effect on him. And at dinner: Miles Davis.
The morning • If you are a heavy sleeper, try waking up to waltzes rather than an alarm clock. If you are a light sleeper, use recorded nature sounds. If you want to be relaxed, try American Indian flute music. If you are looking forward to a busy day, listen to Harry Connick Jr.
At work • Studies have shown that Bach's highly organized music increases alertness. Avoid "habituation" by varying the music every 30 minutes or so, mixing in some light piano jazz and even silence. Avoid metal and rapid hip hop, as those styles have been shown to hinder performance at the office.
Oh baby • Lullabies, classical music or folk music can stimulate or soothe the fetus of a pregnant women, but the authors claim music has been proven to reduce psychological and physiological pain. After you take baby home, play Mozart or Bach to keep imaginations active and tempers calm, the authors claim.
At school • Encourage music education in school. First-graders with developed rhythm skills perform better academically than those with lower rhythmic test scores, the authors claim. And, they say, second- and third-graders who have been taught the relationships between eighth, quarter, half and whole notes scored 100 percent higher on fractions tests than their peers who learned fractions the traditional way.
Pain reliever • Many migraine sufferers have found relief from the sonic vibration caused by the strong bass or drum beat in most rock music. Other unusual musical remedies for headache pain include: lower-range vibrations from a Tibetan singing bowl held close to the head; Bach played on a church organ; and sonic vibration of hummingbird passing close to the head. (Getting a hummingbird to do that can be tricky.)
Sing • Playing in a community orchestra or singing with a choral group elevates mood and instills a sense of shared values.
Find quiet • While integrating sound in your life is important, it can be just as important to avoid it. Silence is not just the absence of sound, but something that should be sought out throughout the day, Campbell said.
Ear care • Throw away earbuds that fit inside the ear. Replace them with high-quality headphones that are worn over the ears. In addition, turn down the volume. As general rule, use headphones for no longer than one hour at a time.
Tune in • Develop a relationship between your ears and your body so you can recognize the music that makes you feel better. If Bach aggravates you, don't feel compelled to listen to it.
P Healing at the Speed of Sound will be released in September by Hudson Street Press.
Authors • Don Campbell and Alex Doman, of Ogden.
Details • Campbell is the author of more than 20 books including the 1997 best-seller The Mozart Effect, which advanced the theory that listening to Mozart's piano concertos may increase one's IQ and improve mental function. Doman, an Ogden resident, is the founder and CEO of Advanced Brain Technologies, which provides neurological-based music therapy programs. He also is the creator and co-producer of the award-winning "Music for Babies" music collection.