Panning Music For Neurodivergence
Recently I have been doing a bit of research into music therapy for neurodivergent folx. Something that caught my attention was a type of music called panning music. Anybody that has listened to it knows how powerful it can be for us! So I thought to myself what is panning music for neurodivergence? What does it to do our brains and bodies?
By the way, if you are reading this article looking for neurodivergent music therapy, check out the ND music therapy I offer called the safe and sound protocol here!
Very basically, panning music is music that is designed to move from one ear to the other in your headphones. You can either program your headphones to do this or the music may be mixed in a way that it moves from side to side.
Music that is mixed to pan from side to side is called 8D audio. The effect that 8D audio has on your brain is that it tricks your brain into thinking it’s in a bigger space that it actually is. You feel like the musicians playing the music are moving around you while you stay still. It sounds pretty cool!
This type of panning music is a specific type of music that is often used in music therapy. Music therapy is a wonderful intervention that can help us all manage our mental health in ways we never thought possible. It’s really given us some fantastic ways to help people!
But don’t take my word for it. Give some of this video a listen! You will need headphones to get the full effect.
Why Panning Music Is Good For Neurodivergence
So why would panning music be good for neurodivergence? There are a myriad of reasons for this. Your neurodivergent brain is structured differently than a neurotypical brain, which means that different interventions other than simply behavioral therapy are warranted.
Panning music is good for neurodivergence because it stimulates the entire brain. This is something we neurodivergent folx may struggle with. With the 8D audio effect and the panning, it is highly stimulating and holds our attention very nicely.
We receive a full body experience, which allows us to fully be engaged with the music. Due to structural differences in our brains, being fully engaged in something that is under-stimulating is a struggle for us neurodivergent folx.
What panning music does is allow us to focus all of our psychological resources on one thing and be more present. This is another thing we struggle with. It allows us to feel more relaxed, focused, and recharged.
In a sense, panning music operates like one of my favorite therapies, EMDR. The basic tenant of EMDR is that it uses what’s called bilateral stimulation to stimulate the left and right sides of the brain. This has been shown to have many psychological benefits for us.
Panning music can also be used with neurodivergent folx therapeutically, as well. The following are instances in therapy of how 8D audio and panning music can be used with neurodivergent folx.
What Can Panning Music Help Neurodivergence With
Panning Music For Anxiety And Depression
As I mentioned earlier, panning music can help anxious neurodivergent folx feel less anxious. The panning from left to right promotes relaxation just like in EMDR, especially if it’s smooth and slowly moving left to right.
Slow bilateral stimulation, whether it is audio, touch, or eye movements can promote relaxation in our brains.
This shifts us from a fight/flight/freeze state to a restorative and relaxing state.
We can often get full body tingles from this type of stimulation. Any positive body sensation we can receive is going to help relax our bodies and dampen the effects of an anxious mind.
Panning Music Can Help With OCD
Just like with anxious folx, those of us with OCD can also benefit from panning music in similar ways. Not being able to perform your ritualistic practices may increase anxiety and depression throughout the day. Unfortunately, in a neurotypical world it can be difficult to be in an ideal environment for you to feel safe.
8D audio and panning music can help soothe this anxiety in the moment. You can use panning music to create a buffer for that need to practice safety rituals This way you can get yourself to a safer place so that you can practice your rituals for safety if need be.
Panning Music For Sensory Processing
Those of us with sensory processing differences can also benefit from panning music. Like mentioned before, panning music stimulates the entire neurodivergent brain. This allows for our mind and body to be more on the same page.
A regular practice of listening to panning music throughout the day may help satisfy that sensory deficit your brain needs for functioning.
Panning Music For Emotional Release
Maybe your neurodivergent brain likes to hold on to emotions in the body. Using panning music, you can allow your neurodivergent brain to release certain emotions through a guided meditation accompanied by the music.
I use the full body tingling sensation that I get as a symbol of releasing stored emotions, which is a nice practice that keeps me grounded throughout my day. I recommend you give this one a try!
Panning Music For High Brain Engagement
When higher levels of brain engagement are warranted, panning music may be the answer. If you struggle with under-stimulation, panning music may be what you need to get on track.
Whether we find an activity daunting or have a negative thought about your abilities to do something, focus may be a problem for you. Using panning music, you can stimulate your entire neurodivergent brain and bring it to focus.
That honing in on your senses can pull you back into the room to help you out with whatever task you have in front of you.
Panning Music Promotes Neuroplasticity
Generally speaking, when you are relaxed and engaged your brain is highly plastic. This means you can learn much better following a session of listening to panning music.
Your brain flexibility will improve along with working memory, ability to process information, and emotional processing. Neurodivergent brains really benefit from all this!
Neurotypical and neurodivergent folx alike can benefit from panning music. Not only can it help us with the above factors, but it can unlock our brains in ways we never may have thought possible!
Panning music can help neurodivergent folx experience the full range of emotions as well as abilities of thought. It’s really incredible what music can do for your brain in general. 8D audio and panning music for neurodivergent folx is a great way for you to connect your mind and body.
So the benefits are incredible! Be sure to check out some panning music for yourself and see what it may do for you!
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8 thoughts on “Panning Music For Neurodivergence — Music Therapy For Neurodiversity”
I’d never heard of panning music or 8D audio before – how cool!
It’s been a game changer for me lately, for sure!
How do you find panning music or 8D to curate a playlist?
Great question! These playlists are all pre-made on youtube, so I didn’t make them necessarily. But there’s lots of wonderful pre-made playlists and individual songs that are 8D/panning that you can make into a playlist through youtube or spotify. Happy listening!
How much time a day do you recommend listening to experience the effects?
Hi there Taylor! Great question. It depends on the effects you’re looking for and what panning music does for you. The bodily sensations I explained in the article can take effect immediately upon listening to the music, depending on your sensory profile. If you’re looking for a more calming effect, this takes a little more time and is often better with consistent, predictable listening sessions. If you have more direct questions regarding this, feel free to reach out again and happy listening! –Antonio
Some panning songs elicit a strong emotional response from me. I find tears streaming down my face, but I’m not crying. Why does that happen?
Another really great question! It’s funny you mention this, I actually have the same reaction sometimes. For me what I’ve found is that it depends on how intense the panning is. I don’t know if this is exactly what’s happening, but keep in mind that our vestibular sense “machinery” is located in our ears. This is a sense we have that keeps us in balance. Maybe what’s happening to us can be like a minor form of disorienting us, which can make all sorts of bodily functions happen involuntarily.
There’s also muscles in our ears that help process auditory information and send it to our brain for decoding. What can happen, depending on your brain’s interpretations from past experiences, is perhaps your brain is registering the music as a type of sound associated with whichever emotions it elicits. Check out the safe and sound protocol on my website, which is also linked to this page, for some more information on how that may work! I hope this helps!