Ageneral introduction to the increasingly popular technique of what music therapy is.
The benefits of music therapy in relieving stress and improving relaxation are widely accepted, as is its value in the well being of children and the elderly. Some studies have shown that music can affect the rhythm of breathing and heartbeat, and can alter blood pressure. As we enter the 21st century, we are all aware of the pressures of daily life - home, family and work combine to increase levels of tension, and finding your own personal cure for stress becomes more important. Finding time to relax, however, can be hard when you're always on the go; people today are spending more time working and less time on leisure activities, which directly impacts on their levels of stress. Music is a great antidote to the demands of life today - whether you play a favorite CD, attend concert recitals or play an instrument - the therapeutic benefits of music can calm even the most troubled mind.
Music must be as old as language: speech is basically musical, and rhythm and phrasing are even more fundamental to language than the meanings of the words themselves. The use of music as therapy therefore probably predates the appearance of any written records. It is known that the ancient Egyptians and Greeks thought highly of the curative powers of music - in Greece, Apollo was the god of both music and healing. It was also in Greece that Pythagoras formulated the rules of harmonics and used them as the basis for a school of philosophy and medicine. Similarly, musical cultures evolved in ancient civilizations such as those in China, Persia and India as well as Europe. It has long been used for self-expression and as a healing remedy, and there are numerous accounts of the healing properties of music in the Bible.
What is music therapy?
At the simplest level, music has the power to soothe and calm, and to enhance or alter moods. Media advertisers, shopping outlets, film moguls and many others exploit the power of music for one purpose or another. Hospitals are increasingly using music as a means of creating a peaceful atmosphere in which treatment can be carried out more easily and with greater success. In addition, many practitioners of music therapy use passive music - simply listening to music - in treating patients who suffer from emotional disorders such as anxiety and depression, autism and other developmental disorders. Such therapists believe that music promotes healing through the vibrational energy of different tones or pitches of sound, and that exposure to music can help to bring the tissues and organs of the body into harmony. Active music therapy, on the other hand, is mainly used in the treatment of those who have difficulty in expressing themselves and relating to other people. It may also be valuable in the care of those suffering from Alzheimer's disease. It can help the elderly and disabled to maintain healthy mind and body coordination. Consulting a Therapist
Therapy usually involves group sessions at least once a week, each session lasting an hour or longer. You will be encouraged to participate in the group in playing musical instruments or singing. It is not important if you are not musical - rhythmic shaking of a tambourine or beating a drum can be just as satisfying as playing a flute or viola. Music sessions - under the leadership of the therapist - are geared to the needs of the individual patient. Self-help
Music therapy is ideal for self-help. You can enrich your life if you can spare the time to learn a musical instrument; or listen to special therapeutic tapes or choose music from your own collection that accurately reflects your current mood or the mood you want to experience. For instance, if you want to feel confident, listen to brisk, cheerful music; if you want to feel romantic, choose something soft and melodic. However, this technique is not just to alter your mood, but also an avenue to explore and examine a specific, usually adverse, frame of mind. For instance, if you are feeling irate, it may be therapeutic to play "angry" music, which will allow you to look for the roots of your antagonism and exorcize them. You may also want to try a technique known as "toning", which involves singing at the most primitive level, using grunts and groans, and cries and sighs, as a way of venting and releasing pent-up emotions.
Accent Lighting - Accent lighting adds drama to a kitchen by creating visual interest. As part of the decorating scheme, accent lighting is used to spotlight paintings, houseplants, sculpture, and other prized possessions, or to highlight drapery or the texture of a wall.
Accent Lighting - House plants can be accented by aiming an up-light at the wall behind the plant, creating a dramatic silhouette of the plant against the wall.
Color - Think about the importance of color in your kitchen using proper lighting to bring out that dramatic color.
Dimming Systems - Today's dimming systems enable you to several things: lower light levels to conserve energy and increase bulb life, vary the mood of a kitchen, and alter the intensity of the light to suit the activity.
Down-lights - When down-lights are used in the kitchen they should be centered over the exposed countertop. This is another way of providing lighting that will eliminate someone working in their shadows on the countertop. Also, if white trims with white baffles are selected, the down-light becomes less obtrusive, blends into the ceiling a little more, and helps to prevent the ceiling looking like "Swiss cheese".
Fluorescent Lamps - When selecting fluorescent lamps for the kitchen try to select T8 lamps with a color rendering index of at least 85 and a color temperature of 3000K. This lamp is usually identified using the number, "830" or "930", somewhere in its product code.
Fluorescent Lighting - Fluorescent lighting is, without question, the coolest of all of the light sources and modern, high quality fluorescent lamps provide excellent lighting with very good color rendition.
Fluorescent Lighting - When selecting fluorescent fixtures for the kitchen try to select those that have instant start T8 electronic ballasts. This will ensure that the fluorescent lamp will turn on without flickering, that the fixture will not give off with much heat, that the ballast will not emit an annoying humming sound, and that the fixture will accommodate the new energy-efficient T8 fluorescent lamps.
General - Lighting can add depth and/or excitement to a kitchen. Let's face it, the kitchen is where you and your family will spend a lot of time so take the time to light it well so that it becomes an inviting and pleasant space to be in.
General Lighting - General lighting provides an area with overall illumination. Also known as ambient lighting, general lighting radiates a comfortable level of brightness, enabling one to see and walk about safely.
Indirect Lighting - Coves, soffits, and other concealed locations can also be used to provide very pleasant, very effective indirect lighting using T5 or T8 fluorescent strip fixtures.
Layers of Light - There are three basic types of lighting that work together to light a kitchen: general lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting. A good lighting plan combines all three types to light an area, according to function and style.
Line Voltage Halogen Lighting - Line voltage halogen lighting is often too hot to use in or under cabinets.
Low Voltage Halogen Lighting - Low-voltage halogen lighting offers a very white, crisp kind of light source that has excellent color rendering capabilities and often makes crystal and good china "sparkle".
Pendants - In general, pendants should be hung about 30" above the tabletop and be about 12" narrower that the table on all sides.
Task Lighting - Task lighting helps you perform specific tasks such a preparing food, reading, sewing, cooking, homework, hobbies, games, or balancing your checkbook.
Under Cabinet Lighting - Under cabinet lighting should be mounted closer to the cabinet front - not near the back of the cabinet. In the kitchen especially this helps to eliminate the possibility of your working in your own shadows.
Wall Grazing - Wall grazing provides dramatic illumination that reveals the texture of special materials, such as the brick and stone used in fireplaces. Wall grazing is uneven, brighter and scalloped at the top of the wall. For the most exciting effects, use PAR lamps in small aperture down-lights. Locate the down-lights no more than 12" from the wall and the same distance apart. Wall grazing also lights polished surfaces, such as marble without distracting reflections in the surface.
Wall Washing - Wall washers are special down-lights that direct light up to the top of the wall. They eliminate the shadows, sometimes called "scallops", which are characteristic of simple down-lights. Do not space wall washers more than 36" apart. For the smoothest effect, space wall washers 24" from the wall and 24" apart. Avoid locating wall washers near doors where they can glare into the eyes of people entering the room.
Xenon Lighting - Xenon lighting is long-life incandescent lighting that can be dimmed, if need be. This type of lighting can be used for cabinet, bookcase, under-cabinet, or indirect cove lighting.
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