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October 2012

In This Issue: 

   News Item

Music Affects the Mind-Body-Spirit at a DNA level

One of the more remarkable facts that I have come across in the field of music medicine and music healing, is the long-term effect that music has on our DNA.  Of course, everything in the world is vibration, including music, our bodies and every part of our bodies, including our DNA.  One of the experts who spoke at the 1995 Sound Healing Symposium in New Hampshire, spoke about the belief that people in various parts of the world have been exposed for so many centuries and eons to the native music of that region, that even if they move elsewhere on the planet, their children and future progeny, respond to the music of their ancestors.  Now that's pretty wild, but it does make sense to me. 

Considering that music is make up of melody, harmonies and rhythms, combined in unique but recognizable ways in different parts of the world, we can speculate pretty accurately where a given piece of music might have originated.  Even in our own country, the average person, with no particular musical training, can recognize many different styles and genres of music.  The theory is that, for example, even if you didn't know where your recent ancestors came from, you might have a strong affinity or attraction for certain kinds of music that you never heard before.

In their fascinating article, "Music and Metamusic:  a Universal Bridge,"  Barbara Bullard and Matthew Joyce look at the other side of the music and DNA issue:  using carefully chosen healing music in order to soothe a comfort people who are ill and in pain.

Music in Our Genes

Larry Dossey, M.D. reaches a similar conclusion in his excellent article, “The Body as Music.” In it Dossey eloquently addresses an even deeper level of music when he states: “Why are we moved by music? One reason may be that the body itself is intrinsically musical, right down to the DNA that makes up our genes.”

The idea that DNA and music might be connected originates with the work of Dr. Susumu Ohno, a geneticist at the Beckman Institute of the City of Hope Hospital in Duarte, California. Dr. Ohno has notated more than fifteen songs based on the DNA of a variety of living organisms.

He finds that the more evolved an organism, the more complicated the music. The DNA of a single-cell protozoan, for example, translates into a simple four-note repetition. But music transcribed from human DNA––such as the body’s receptor site for insulin––is much more complex.
“Listeners knowledgeable about classical music hear similarities between these DNA-based compositions and the music of Bach, Brahms, Chopin, and other great composers,” writes Dr. Ohno. “DNA melodies are majestic and inspiring. Many persons hearing them for the first time are moved to tears. They cannot believe that their bodies, which they believed to be mere collections of chemicals, contain such uplifting, inspiring harmonies––that they are musical.”

Not only can one make music starting with DNA, it is also possible to reverse the process. In other words, you take a piece of music and assign nucleotides to the notes. The end result resembles a strand of DNA. Ohno tried this with a Chopin piece and the final result resembled a cancer gene!
Now if music affects us down to the level of DNA, I believe each of our organs is singing its own song. We are healthy when our organs are singing in harmony. We feel sick when they are singing out of tune. From my own experiences it is clear that listening to music helps the body stay in tune. (For more information,)

So, all of this to say tht music affects us so much more powerfully than most of us realize.  Pay attention to your sonic environment and consciously choose the music and sounds that you know make you feel good.  Many people love wind chimes on their porch, but I know many who can't bear them.  Some people can't stand to hear a dog barking at all, and others can easily hear that sound and assume the dog is communicating an important message.  Our bodies and minds react instantaneously to music and sounds.  Pay attention and choose wisely.

   Healing Music Blog

Good Info About Music Therapy

The ability to appreciate and respond to music is an inborn quality in human beings. This ability usually remains unimpaired by handicap, injury or illness, and is not dependent on music training. For people who find verbal communication an inadequate form of self expression, music therapy offers a safe, secure space for the release of feelings. Furthermore, music therapy involves a relationship between the therapist and client in which music becomes a way of promoting change and growth.

What is music therapy?

Read More ...

    Surgery and Music Blog

Combating the Side-Effects of Anesthesia

No one wants to have surgery. No one wants to be in the hospital, but sometime you really don’t have a choice. If you are in an automobile accident and seriously hurt, going to a hospital and having surgery might save your life when nothing else would. If you’re told you need to have a colonoscopy for diagnostic purposes or if your appendix is inflamed and in danger of bursting, you’ll want to be in a hospital. But there is a very simple procedure that can greatly reduce the pain, anxiety and side-effects of surgery and anesthesia. That intervention is music.

Read More ...

    Brain and Music Blog


The Duet of Brain and Music

Zip-a-dee doo dah, Zip-a-dee-ay …”  –A. Wrubel, R. Gilbert

“Do-wah diddy-diddy dum diddy-do …”  – The Moffats

“Super-cali-fragilistic-expialidocious …”  – The Sherman Brothers

“What an odd thing it is to see an entire species–billions of people–playing with, listening to, meaningless tonal patterns, occupied and preoccupied for much of their time by what they call ‘music.”  – Oliver Sacks, Musicophilia

“Music is playing inside my head, Over and over and over again, My friend, there’s no end to the music …” 
– Carole King

How does the brain process the music that it has never heard before, and that is close to meaningless, outside of its original context?

Read More ...

    Alice H. Cash

For nearly two decades, I've been helping people use the music that they already love to heal their lives and increase their wellness quotient!  I am one of the world's only clinical musicologists and hold  a Masters degree in piano performance, a Ph.D. in musicology and a Master of Social Work in clinical social work.  I am also a licensed clinical social worker. I work with people and diagnoses of all kinds, enabling them to find healing, acceptance and hope.

I love performing, researching, and teaching and have put them all together in a career called "Music Medicine." 

See you next month!!

 Alice Cash        





Dr. Alice H Cash





"Using Music in the Hospital"

Dr. Alice H. Cash is often asked to share her
Grand Rounds Presentation with hospitals' doctors and staff.  Learn what is currently happening around the world and the results they are having.




"It was the easiest of all hand surgeries! I was listening to music, then a slight lull of nothing and then back to the music. Wonderfully comfortable. The best surgical experience yet. I am honored to know, worked with and utilized Dr. Cash's magnificent creation. I do hope the medical field understands the import of her invention!"

Sheryl S.
Louisville, KY








Dr. Cash will come and speak or play a recital for YOUR association, conference, university or church

Just visit our speaker information page and then let's talk!


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