Doctors and alternative therapists have long believed that music has the power to heal. In fact, Harvard Health suggests that music therapy is helpful for improving management and treatment of a number of ailments – both physical and psychological, as people are looking to more natural and non-invasive therapies.
Harvard cites a 2011 analysis of several studies suggests that music therapy enhances people’s physical, psychological, cognitive, and emotional functioning during physical rehabilitation programs.
Enter Jymmin, a gym session with a difference, and a new form of exercise that promises to extend your pain threshold through music and movement. Developed by researchers at the esteemed Max Planck Institute in Germany, Jymmin uses regular gym equipment that have inbuilt tuners that produce music with each flex and release of your muscles. It allows your body to become the instrument through your workout. The experience is quite literally a cross between going to the gym and jamming.
The Jymmin website relates this unique music infused workout back to times when humans used sound to increase their capacity to do physical, repetitive work. We can remember watching movies where men rowed longships over ancient seas to the steady beat of a drum, or prisoners building American railways with the assistance of a tune. It seems that human beings have always used music to increase our ability to do hard labour.
So what is it about music that allows us to go beyond our normal limits?
Music exerts considerable influence on the brain. The coherent and pleasant sound waves calm the limbic system, the part of the brain responsible for our moods and our control of the nervous system. The experience of rhythm and tempo in a physical feedback loop release endorphins. The flow on effect is an increase of our pain threshold empowering workouts that last longer. Music shifts the focus of our brain from pain to pleasure. The more enjoyable the music (or attuned to our individual tastes), the more we are able to overcome our pain, or the feeling in our body.
One of the strongest benefits of using music to mediate pain is that it is free of side effects. Dizziness, shortness of breath or addiction are a real danger presented by opioids and prescription painkillers that we often rely on to get through the day. As long as you are Jymmin under the guidance of a doctor, physiotherapist or trainer, there should be no unusual side effects.
For anyone suffering back pain or long term chronic pain disorders, Jymmin is an opportunity to get beyond the physical limitations. While working out will still feel like exercise you should be able to increase your usual capacity for endurance and strength, and more importantly, have fun.
Gyms already understand the power of music. That is why our trainers turn up the volume whenever we arrive for a workout. The use of music enhances the experience, and decreases boredom. It provides people with a stronger reason to keep up exercising. When we are told that we should exercise for our health by the doctor or a family member we can only maintain motivation for a few days or weeks. Music can make working out an experience to enjoy returning to again, with passion.
So, what can I do to take advantage of the power of music, today?
In everyday life we use music as a distraction or for enjoyment. We find the right music to set the tone for a dinner party or provide the atmosphere for intense focus or studying. It has the power to take us out of the moment and calm ravaged nerves. Music, especially creating music, changes our mood. Music can be used by each of us to help bring our mind into a desired emotional state. So by playing music regularly, and often, throughout your day, you can experiment with which music style suits you best for your recovery.