Monday, September 13, 2010

Trance music and getting high

I have had a pseudo-love-affair with trance music for almost a decade, since I would go to clubs and raves, and, instead of taking drugs, would stand by the biggest speakers and feel the music pulsing around through my blood stream.  I used to tell J that trance music made me high, and he was like, "yeah, right, that's a trick," and didn't really believe me.  And then one time we were driving home from Ikea, and because of the furniture we had bought, I had to sit in the back seat with my head crammed against the back panel where the speaker happened to be situated.  He put on Airwave, and I proceeded to become stoned.  When we got home, I was totally out of it and rolled out of the back seat on to the ground when he opened the door, and then proceeded to burst into a fit of giggles.  So he started to believe me that trance music had an actual physical effect on me.

I've been getting headaches lately, supposedly a common symptom of second-trimester pregnancy I'm told, and I can't take my normal pain reliever, ibuprophen.  Last night I was seriously feeling the pain, and I decided to try out Tiesto as a pain-reliever.  I pumped up the speakers until they were about to burst, turned off all the lights, and Tiesto proceeded to take me away to a land of purple rivers and green skies and chocolate elephants.  It was awesome.  After my headache dissipated I decided to check out whether there is any truth to the idea that trance music makes you high.

And I'm apparently not the only person wondering this.  Tons of people write into Yahoo Questions and similar places asking why they feel high after listening to trance music.  Some answers include things like:
The repetition is inducing a trance-like state. Some cultures use repetitive music for religious ceremonies to help the participants get into trance or dream-like states in order to communicate with 'the gods'. You might be experiencing something like that. At least you're doing it without Ecstasy.

But the best answer I saw referenced a 2004 study that showed that trance music does similar stuff to your brain as REM sleep.  So you're more creative and meditative when listening to it.  I'm still trying to get my hands on a copy of the study, but here's a summary.

Also in the summary:

Altered States
The altered states experienced while listening to trance music are different from the usual waking states and usually involve brief, dreamlike feelings of exhilaration, coupled with a loss of the sense of self.

So it's not just me.  And I'm not just dreaming it.  And it's not, as one friend suggested, flashbacks.  I've never taken mind-bending drugs, so it can't be flashbacks for me.  So I'm going to seriously enjoy the one drug I can take as much as I want, and will probably help Baby T, and be good for me, too.  It's called ATB, and you don't need a dealer.  It's free on youtube...