How Does Chinese Medicine Use Music for Its Healing Process?

The Chinese have a lot of interesting traditions, practices, and beliefs. Even in the field of medicine. In the old days, for instance, China used a lot of herbs in healing common ailments. In addition to this, the Chinese also used a lot of music in facilitating the healing process. In other words, music was used (and is still used) as a form of therapy. Evidence of this is found in a medical document written over 2000 years ago. According to The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine, music is part of a five-element theory that is essential to traditional Chinese medicine. Today, the Chinese continue to use music in the healing process, more so now because of the many stresses that make life more complicated.

The Five Elements


The five elements of nature – Earth, fire, water, mood, and metal – are said to have corresponding seasons, color, internal organ, and musical notes, among others. The Chinese use their classical music that has five sounds or notes, namely jiao, gong, zhi, yu, and shang. All these tunes were played using a gong, drum, zither, and flute. According to traditional Chinese medicine, our internal organs, and the five-element correspondences establish a relationship that can lead to healing or the healing process.

Here are the corresponding relationships of the organs and the elements:
Jiao note – wood element, for the liver
Gong note – Earth element, good for strengthening the spleen
Zhi note – fire element, for the heart (nourishes it and keeps the blood flowing)
Yu note – water element, helps protect and nourish the kidney
Shang note – metal element, nourishes and protects the lungs

According to some studies and research, using this five-element musical therapy of the Chinese, student suffering from depression who were exposed to the said therapy experienced a drop in depression levels after listening to music for a certain period.

The Chinese, and everyone who believes in music therapy, know that music can have a significant effect on a person’s brain circulation, stress hormones, and brain waves. Thus, it can help reduce stress levels. At the same time, it is also used to lower blood pressure, slow down (regularize) heart rate, improve the immune system, and lower the breathing rate.

Music is also used by the Chinese to create a mutual and positive interaction between the five elements and Yin Yang.

What normally happen is when a person listens to the five notes, the goal is to pay attention and determine if any of his organs is not functioning properly. While music cannot fully or completely heal a person, it can project positive effects into him. His overall feeling is good, and this vibrates all throughout his system.

Of course, some people do not believe that simply playing ancient Chinese music can heal ailments, but many agree that music can help improve one’s mental health.


So, generally, music therapy is good for stimulating brain waves thereby resulting to a calm and meditative state. Music therapy is also good for the heart as it improves breathing and heart rate, as well as initiating a decrease in blood pressure levels. Finally, music therapy is good for mental health.

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