For centuries, the use of psychedelics has been paired with music. And for good reason: studies found that music is helpful in psychedelic therapy. It helps patients feel better, simplify mystical experiences, and improve memory. This all impacts the therapeutic journey.
But what is the best kind of music to listen to while taking psychedelics?
We turn to Mendel Kaelen, co-author of The hidden therapist: evidence for a central role of music in psychedelic therapy. Kaelen et. al. interviewed 19 patients undergoing psychedelic therapy. They appreciated the world music and the structuring of the playlist. Another finding: patients preferred music without English lyrics.
The authors also found that patients didn’t mind music with lyrics in a foreign language. But when the patients could understand the lyrics, they found it distracting. A playlist developed by researchers at Johns Hopkins University avoided music with English text.
But that playlist used classical music. Listeners could recognize some from movies and television. Kaelen believes this too is a mistake: the music could be distracting because of those associations.
At Nushama clinics, we have playlists to guide people through their psychedelic experience. At the beginning, patients will listen to inspirational orations. Then they will listen to instrumental music for most of the session. Finally, as they come back to normal states of consciousness, Kundalini-style music plays.
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