Music: A Full-MEPS Practice for Wellness And So Much More

We do physical things such as run, work out, swim, or get regular massage for our health. We practice Qigong, have acupuncture, meditate, or attend church for our spiritual/energetic health. Curiosity, psychotherapy, regular reading, and continuing education keep our mental health sharp. Practices such as journaling, gratitude and forgiveness support our emotional health.

practiceTogether, the mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual aspects of you – the full MEPS of you – constitute wellness. More than surviving, wellness is thriving. Used wisely, wellness practices reach into all four aspects of our being. They’re supposed to!

There’s lots of how-to in support of full-MEPS wellness, such as this article from the Chopra Institute, and some very intriguing drawings that illustrate full-MEPS interaction, even suggesting that extending our five senses to potentially become seven senses, and finding balance in MEPS are pathways to wellness.

Why we practice

Aren’t wellness practices we’ve discussed here all pathways to something we desire? Broadly, we have a desire to thrive, so we do the practices.

We also desire aspects of success, such as: passing a test, defending a dissertation; completing a complex project; guiding a team to victory; getting out of debt; raising a family. There are “best practices” for all of those desires.

To have what we desire, we must practice. Won’t happen any other way.

Combining and integrating practices

Have you noticed that the intensity of some physical practices, such as intense breath work or running a marathon, can result in “runner’s high” and touch the spiritual or energetic aspects of wellness? Meditation after yoga is a two-part full-MEPS practice. Kundalini yoga was originally conceived as a practice of channeling sexual energy.

music and dance

Integrating various practices can amplify the MEPS benefits of them.


Imagine, just for a moment, dancing without hearing dance music. While music isn’t essential to dance, the presence of sound and rhythm alongside dance changes the experience, doesn’t it? This seamless integration of music and dance is a part of the practice.

Breath Work

The same could be said for breath work accompanied by a drum track or a more rhythmic style of music, such as EDM or house. While music isn’t essential to the breath, adding it can change things in surprisingly beneficial ways. If breath work is for you, give this a try. You may need to find music with five beats to the measure to combine seamlessly with a 5-count breath process. Play around with different tempos, too.

Yoga and Meditation

We mentioned yoga plus meditation as a full-MEPS practice: yoga aligns the physical body and begins the entrainment of the heart and mind and meditation takes over when the body, mind, and heart are entrained and opens us to the numinous, the spiritual energy available to aligned beings.

A Kundalini yoga teacher named Gurmukh offers music as a part of her practice, and there are many guided meditation videos available that integrate music with the experience.

What are full-MEPS practices?

Have you noticed that, the more aspects of your being you mindfully engage with a practice, the more satisfying the results? Human beings almost naturally add music to repetitive practices such as the combinations we’ve just reviewed. The rhythm of the practice is enhanced by the music in ways that are measurable: improved endurance, memory, and self-control just to name a few. And let’s not forget the trance-like spiritual or energetic state that can accompany repetition as an effect of doing the practice.

Are there any practices that, standing alone, are full-MEPS by their very nature?

For clarity, a full-MEPS practice would simultaneously include the mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual/energetic “bodies” or aspects of being, wouldn’t it? Think for a moment: do you known any practices like that?

“Physical” can mean either controlled movement or stillness. “Mental” invites the pattern-matching co


gnitive power of the head brain into the practice. “Emotional” touches the limbic system and includes its multiplicity of affective emotions – the bodily sensations we experience before we think about them. “Spiritual” refers to the inspirational, creative, numinous, ineffable aspects of being, where words fail to convey the moment and the energy contained in it.

Music as a full-MEPS practice

While there may be others, the full-MEPS practice we have in mind for this article is called “music.” This isn’t about learning to play an instrument! Those who want to play or already can are most likely more aware of the full-MEPS potential in music, but there are many people who already listen to music with a purpose far deeper than entertainment.

Music is one of the very few practices that works on us in all four aspects of our being. For ease of use, we will approach this from the most simple to the most complex aspects of being: PMES.



The rhythm of music entrains the physical heartbeat and the breath, all without a need for us to pay conscious attention to doing so. You can test this for yourself by measuring your own heart or breathing rate while listening to music at different beats per minute; there is a high degree of observer bias in these measurements, but they will be obvious enough for you to notice.

Many people are aware of both the relaxing and the energizing power of music, which is further evidence of the physical effect of music on our systems.


Similarly, music entrains the vibratory rhythm of the head brain, evidenced by our current fascination with binaural beats, specific Hz measurements (frequency or “vibrations per second”), and cymantics, just to name a few. I


t is said that certain frequencies also embody best-practice entrainment to “love” or “healing” or “release.” While it is unclear whether an element of belief (head brain) combines with human emotion to produce measurable scientific results, t

he wellness benefits claimed for specific mono-frequency (Hz) measurements feel real.

In a more obvious example, can you recall the words to a nursery rhyme, jingle, or hymn that you learned early in life? Of course you can! Many of us learned the alphabet by singing it. The connection of music and memory is obvious in these examples, and yet, at some point along the way to adulthood, we stopped using music as a built-in kind of built-in memory palace.


We touched briefly on human emotions in relation to mono-frequency. Feelings are an undeniable way many people experience emotion feelingmusic. The core of many of our bodily emotions may not be immediately accessible to us, though, because of the filtering we were all taught at an early age, as well as practices such as anger management and emotional intelligence which have more to do with manipulation of emotions than positive, profound, safe experience of them.

Still, those bodily emotions – the Famous Five Fs: fight, flee, freeze, feed, or mate – are still happening, along with many others. Provided we could notice them in the psychologically safe, private laboratory of musical experience, we might discover deeper levels of affective intentionality along with them.


What about the spiritual or energetic aspects of our being? Music works there too, and most profoundly, to


 awaken creativity, connect us non-verbally, invite inspirational (and sometimes not-so-inspirational but necessary) “downloads.” As anyone who’s experienced it can tell you, there’s another dimension to “sound healing” beyond the physical, mental, and emotional.

How would I do that?

What could happen if, instead of adding music to some other practice, we used music purposefully by itself? How would one do that?

Let’s start with just two examples of what could happen.

  • If you had a full-MEPS practice, how many less-than-full-MEPS practices could you replace with it? The time savings alone could be worth it.

You’ve already been combining practices to get to full MEPS; this awareness alone could be significant.

  • There’s also theneuroplastic aspect of music to consider as a benefit: physiologically, our systems respond to sound and rhythm the same way regardless of whether the musical stimulus comes from our ears or our memory. This means that music you know well enough to play in your head brain, as if you were your own DJ, can have the same MEPS effect as if you actually heard it.

That’s a huge plusneuroplasticity for quiet environments, such as passing a complex exam, or noisy ones, such as relaxing on an airplane during times when music players aren’t allowed. Or riding out conflict at work or dealing with traumatic memories…all the benefits without hearing a sound! But you may need to “learn” the music well enough to hear it from memory, and fortunately we can turn to our very own neuroplasticity for that.

Now to the how-to.

The practice of using music is part of the beings that we are. Our systems respond in predictable ways to sound and rhythm. Concerts are programmed to manipulate us in pleasant ways; specific music is written to do the same. We enjoy much of the ride, and sometimes we respond in ways we don’t like when music trips our triggers.

The practice of using music includes learning to respond to music we don’t like. Why? So that when real-life stuff we don’t like comes our way, we have already learned how to experience it and transform it.

This one aspect of a music practice is so crucial to human relationships and wellness, and yet most people won’t even go there. They intentionally avoid the safe experience of unwanted physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual influences, and thereby also miss their ability to practice for that very same event when it happens in real life. “I don’t like <insert despised musical genre or artist here>” they say, as if that was a good enough excuse for not exercising a valuable skill.

Don’t the athlete and the astronaut practice for all possible eventualities? Don’t we do case studies to learn what works well and what does not? And don’t we do that practice and learning in safe, controlled environments to prepare us to respond well in as many of the potential and foreseeable real-life situations as we can? So why our we denying ourselves the practice of experiencing difficult triggers within music?

These aren’t skills taught in music school or any advanced degree program. There aren’t credentials for these skills yet, but there ought to be. The thing is, our human systems are equipped for and adapted to the music skills we’ve ignored and music, as a tool, has disappeared into movie soundtracks and digital downloads with little intrinsic value.

Mic drop

Imagine for a moment what will happen when musicians begin to connect the dots for listeners. Ancient music practices may become new again. We could use a few new practices, couldn’t we? As great as psychology is, it hasn’t been able to meet the challenges and demands of our age. As great as STEM is, without Art it’s not a full-STEAM MEPS practice.

We’ve gotten so good at living in our heads that the beautiful forest of musical potential we want to see is hidden behind frequency, vibration, binaural beats, and cymantics. As intriguing as those things are, don’t we really desire more?

Empathy and authenticity are waiting for us in a music practice. So is the ability to deal well with conflict and paradox. Meta-cognition is a given when one learns to replay music mentally. Executive function? Let’s recall the research on how young kids who learn music develop much different and more capable brains than those who don’t.

None of this means that adults are done! We have the neuroplasticity we need to rewire our head brains in ways that help make positive change. The only question is: will we? If not now, when?


Bill Protzmann launched the Musimorphic Quest in 2016 to teach full-MEPS music practices in a guided, gamified, experiential environment where participants could discover and remember their innate connection to the ancient transformative technology we now call music. In 2014, he received an Inspiring Hope award for Artistic Expression from the National Council for Behavioral Healthcare, the industry equivalent of winning an Oscar.

Picture of Bill