Music is known to make people feel joy and elation.
It is also a common tool for relaxation, and may even be used as a distraction from painful stimuli or stressful situations. In this sense, you can improve your health and wellness with music.
Because music has widespread effects, neuroscientists and neurobiologists have studied its more specific benefits to a person’s health.
Research indicates that music boosts a person’s emotions by stimulating portions of the brain to release dopamine in the bloodstream, making people feel happy and excited. In fact, most centers of the brain are stimulated when listening to music, suggesting that music has more widespread effects than we may realize. Here we examine why music is the key to good health.
Music relieves stress and anxiety.
Research shows that slow music with a low pitch (and without lyrics) can help calm a person down during stressful situations. Music decreases the body’s biological markers of stress — respiratory rate, heart rate, systolic blood pressure, and hormone cortisol levels.
In fact, one research even postulates that music has a more powerful effect than oral anti-anxiety medications.
So, how does this work? When you listen to music that you associate with happy thoughts and memories, the part of your brain that regulates breathing and primitive emotions (the hypothalamus) is stimulated to decrease respiratory and heart rates, and even lower blood pressure.
Music eases pain.
Music is considered therapeutic for pain, be it acute or chronic pain.
In fact, the use of music therapy for cancer and chronic pain management is slowly gaining ground.
In general, music can help decrease the sensation of pain, thus reducing the need for oral or intravenous pain medication. Music may not eliminate the pain altogether, but it helps distract the patient.
Dopamine and endorphins also play a role in counteracting pain perception.
Music can prevent diseases.
Stress contributes to more than 60% of diseases. As music helps relieve stress and anxiety, it follows that music can prevent diseases.
When the body undergoes painful or stressful situations frequently, the immune system weakens, which then makes us at risk for various illnesses.
Research has showed that after listening to 30 minutes of relaxing music, the levels of IgA antibodies (the immune system’s first line of defense) increased.
Another study discovered that apart from decreasing cortisol levels in the bloodstream, listening to soothing music also reduces blood levels of interleukin-6, a protein that contributes to diabetes and heart diseases.
Music aids in memory performance.
It has been found that classical music such as Mozart’s simultaneously engages both left and right sides of the brain, making it useful in learning and information retention.
Furthermore, singing or playing an instrument helps the brain process information. This is why music therapy is also starting to gain momentum in treating patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
In this day and age, there are numerous gadgets and tools that allow us to enjoy our music anywhere – even in the environment that causes most of the negative symptoms.
These gadgets include the latest speakers and music players, such as a backpack with speakers so you can listen to your music anywhere you go.
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