Music therapy has been addressing learning disabilities and behavioral health problems for quite some time. The prominence of music as a cure to ailments like ADHD and ADD is not followed in the mainstream or presented by media because the pharmaceutical companies would like you to think that Ritalin, Adderall, or other commonly prescribed pharmaceutical drugs are the only way to calm the behaviors and thoughts associated with ADD/ADHD. The good news is that there are other ways to heal these ailments, and they are very effective.
The premise of most sound healing is that the prefrontal lobes of the brain, the place which is most often affected in sufferers of ADHD and ADD, can be positively affected and even changed over time. The neurobiology of this disease is evident in fMRI images, and it is easy to see what is happening in an ADHD brain as compared to a ‘normal’ brain. When people suffer from ADHD or ADD, they cannot carry out tasks that are normally associated to the executive functions of the frontal lobes of the brain. Thee include:
• Problem solving
• Sound discrimination
It is nearly impossible for someone who suffers from ADHD to focus on anything with enough intensity and duration to get even simple tasks done. Larger goals and more complex tasks which require multiple levels of planning would be akin to walking in the Amazonian jungles with no compass and no shoes. You are bound to get lost. Sound therapies aim at re-directing the neural activity of the brain, particularly, in the pre-frontal lobes where executive functioning primarily occurs, so that more calm and focus can ensue. Interestingly, it has also been suggested that the right pre-frontal lobe is often smaller in children who suffer from ADHD, and this is the very area of the brain that long term meditators have the most activity. Through practice, meditating monks have built up not only their executive functioning but also the place where most ‘happy’ emotions are experienced. So instead of dissatisfaction, distraction and lack of focus, they experience hyper-awareness and elevated mood.
Sound therapy can actually train the mind of those who have ADHD or ADD so that their brain wave patterns look more like that of master monks instead of someone with a learning and behavior challenge. The neural pathways are strengthened and integration of the left and right hemisphere becomes more balanced. When one becomes more ‘whole-brained’ in their thinking, their lives improve in numerous ways, with added focus and feelings of adequacy being notable changes.
There are many brain wave entrainment products on the market, but Dr. Jane Ma'ati Smith C.Hyp. Msc.D. has a special collection of sound therapy tools which very effectively addresses the re-shaping of the prefrontal lobes. As a long term yoga teacher, meditator and the mother of a son who has suffered from ADHD and ADD his entire life and I highly recommend her recordings. If you are hesitant to put your child on yet another drug, and have struggled with focus in school and complaints from teachers and coaches, then you owe it to yourself and your child to try this alternative. It might just benefit you enough that you decide to improve your own focus and brain-resilience with some sound healing of your own.
Christina Sarich is the owner of Yoga For the New World