Music as therapy

An image of an old cassette tape, to go with my post about music  being therapy.

This evening I had a massage. While I lay there on the table, I tried to push all thoughts from my mind, and just relax — god, I needed that so much. I am very comfortable with the beautician who gave me the massage. After all, she’s my waxing lady too and has seen the most intimate parts of me. My mind was filled with thoughts about my son, especially the past two weeks, but that only tensed my body again. First I tried to concentrate on her hands, and then I noticed the music. Soft, soothing music. Spiritual. Like therapy.

Therapy, something I might just need

I have wondered about this. Therapy. I know how I am. I push things away, and just get on with the every day things. No fuzz. Just carry on. This means I ignore my own stress; sort of don’t allow or grant myself feeling needy. But I notice the signs in my body. I haven’t booked that massage for nothing, after all. I might need to go and talk to someone, you know, just to be able to voice my own fears, my own feelings. I constantly keep in the back of my mind that I can contact the psychologist who previously helped me.

The combination of this, and my experience during the massage, made me wonder about using music as therapy. Of course, by then I had already seen Jae’s prompt, and had wondered what to write for it.

I don’t have any go-to songs

There was a time when I listened to music a lot, but it has been many, many years since I just put on a play list of my favorite songs. In fact, the last time I did something like this, was when I still had cassette tapes. Now that’s ages ago. Then I went through a period where I played my favorite CD’s over and over again, depending on my mood. With the current day where you can make an entire play list in Spotify or other music services… well, I have never hopped on that train.

Master T and I still listen to music, but only on random occasions, and where we play our favorite songs, none of those songs can serve me as some kind of music therapy.

Are there even songs that will help?

There definitely are songs that can help uplift me, but the same song will not help every time. I can listen to a rock song and one moment it makes me feel alive; makes me throw off all those negative things, but the next I am indifferent to it. A romantic ballad one moment draws tears from me, and the next… well, I feel nothing.

I think what I am trying to say is that the same song sometimes helps to uplift me, and the next time I hear it, does nothing for me. I like music, but am not always actively listening to it, and will not actively seek to listen to it because I need an uplifting.

Sometimes, however, the feelings overwhelm me.

Paint Your Wagon

I grew up with the soundtrack of the Western musical film, Paint Your Wagon. Master T knows the musical, and happens to be a fan too. One night, many many years ago, we played our favorite songs. He wanted to surprise me, and played the song ‘They call the wind Mariah’. I listened to it, thinking back of my childhood years, and the non-communication I had with my father at the time.

It was when he played Wandrin’ Star from Paint Your Wagon that I broke down. I sobbed. I couldn’t stop anymore. All the pain and sadness of my relationship with my father — it started to go bad when I fell pregnant as a teenager — came out that night. I needed to get it out, to cleanse my soul. I came to terms with the fact that my father stopped all contact with me. Accepted it.

We started talking again when my mom fell ill, and we are still talking. Not every day, and not even every week. But, we are still talking. Our bond will never be what it once was, but we are still father and daughter, and respecting each other the way it should be.

A moment of tears

She first concentrated on my back during the massage, then my neck, and then went on to massage my arms, from my shoulders to my fingers. By this time I was quite relaxed and not really thinking about what to concentrate on anymore, but just… being. The combination of her hands on my body, giving in to the pain when she touched those tender points, and the music enveloping us, definitely helped.

She moved on from one arm to the next, and it was when she gently massaged my fingers, and then rested my hand in hers, while rubbing up my arm, that a thought crossed my mind: that’s so comforting. Like her holding my hand in difficult times. Tears filled my eyes, and that’s when I realized how well the massage was working. I went there to get rid of some stress, and it worked. Some therapy, right?!

Note: I am sure this is not the kind of post Jae was looking for, but I am going to link it anyway!

© Rebel’s Notes
Image from Pixabay


Musically Ranting               Mindful Moments

22 thoughts on “Music as therapy

  1. Music and memories are so deeply entwined. We always think of my maternal grandfather when we hear that song too. He truly was born under a wandrin’ star, and was emotionally absent from my mums life for many years. But they grew closer and I had a wonderful relationsip with him for years before he died. Still, this song takes me to my memories of him, which is nice. So thank you for taking me back to him, even though your memories were a lot less happy to revisit. N xx

    1. Oh I love that you have memories to this song too. It really is a beautiful song, and the raw voice makes it an even more emotional song 🙂 xox

  2. You know I am not a stickler for the rules Marie lol. In fact I don’t have many for this meme and this post is perfect. The idea was to get you thinking of how music is a type of therapy and you have shown us all how it works for you. See the combination of the music and massage as you have mentioned works in unison. The music may not have been your focus but it drowned out all the “noise” so you could focus on the physical sensations thus relaxing. The musical gave you that release you needed as well. Now I have a new-to-me soundtrack to listen to! 😉

    1. I hope you like the soundtrack, it’s a really special one to me. And yes, the music and massage – a brilliant therapy together. Once I am out of quarantine, I want to go for another massage, just to be able to relax a bit again, and of course for the bit of TLC 🙂

  3. I know that musical Marie – and the song that made u sob I find very touching too. On the way to school when I was 5 we would stop at the sweet shop. The man who owned it was always singing Wandering Star. Then when I heard the tune on the radio I told my mum that the man from the sweet shop had made it to be on the radio. I really thought it was him…
    May xx

  4. Massage is an excellent form of self care Marie! I took a beginners class years ago (really it was for erotic massage, but tomato, tamato) and really learned a lot about how seritonin and dopamine are released through touch. It’s very healing and I can’t recommend it enough. I’m glad you got a period if release and relaxation, even if for just a short time!
    X

    1. I think in two or three weeks I am going for the same massage again. I just need the release, and the lady I go to really makes me feel at ease, which means I can really relax and just let go xox

  5. I think physical touch such as massage can be as therapeutic as a talking therapy, because like you say, when you just focus on the sensations the feelings of tension can be released. I think you really needed your massage, as your son’s situation is weighing on you mentally.

    I know myself when I’m tense my shoulders get tighter and hunched like I’m retreating away physically. This recent lockdown has really highlighted this to me, since I was working and not exercising so much. But I now realise the important part that exercise plays in both my physical and mental health. I hope you get to work through your thoughts and feelings with either Master T, a close friend or a therapist. A lot of people have found that mental health can be harmed by the way we’ve had to live this past year. We need to be with other people who lift us up and inspire us. Hugs and warm wishes to you and your family Marie. You’re strong and you will get through this murky time xox

  6. Music is very much my therapy at times, my friend! I often listen to the Piano Music station on Pandora, especially while painting. I find this very soothing. But, like you… I have a few musicals that always put me in a good mood as well. I remember when we used to ride around in my dad’s fishing boat, he often played the Urban Cowboy soundtrack…and this brings back fond memories.

      1. Yes, I am a bit of an artist. I paint with oils on canvas, and I paint ceramics. Lately though, I have been obsessed with “mandala rock art”….give that a google. It is soooooo fun!!!!

        1. Oh the mandala rock art really is so cool. Love it. I am/was a bit of an artist too. I chose to channel all my energy into writing, but still have all the paintings I made years ago. Maybe when my words dry up I will return to my paintbrushes again 😉

          1. Painting is good for the soul! While I am still teaching part-time, I have been finding lots of time during this pandemic to be creative….with my writing, my painting, pyrography (wood burning art), and now with Spring here at last…my work with plants. I hate to say this…but all this stay at home time has been very good for my artistic soul <3

          2. Oh my father was very much into pyrography and I still have one of the art pieces he made with that. The only extra time I have with the pandemic is not having to drive to and from the office. And that time I have put in my blog 🙂

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