Find Out How Your Music & Your Health Entwine

 

From the beginning notes to a song that we instantly recognize, or the familiar lyrics, all of us react to deeply rooted, favorite songs and favorite music. And sometimes, just like that, the music ignites our mood, and we spring forward, or it opens up the past and we dip into distant memories. Now this power of music is being linked to health benefits.

Beyond triggering moods, up or down, music is being explored by doctors and scientists to see how much music can do to help overall health. Here are a few examples.

Music can help patients with chronic disease

This was put into action some time ago at the University of California Irvine, where doctors were treating children with cancer. A couple of these doctors also played instruments, and it was found to have lasting effects on the patients. Soon the physicians were playing for the patients in their rooms, and discovering how much soothing power and support the music could provide to help in a very difficult situation. Music worked magic where it was desperately needed.

Turn up the volume and watch your workout shift into high gear

This is one that most of us have road tested several times and it always works. I can be on the treadmill walking through my usual routine, but when a favorite song like, “Don’t Stop Believing” comes surging through, my smile comes on and my pace accelerates. Suddenly life is good and the workout is fine. According to researchers music is responsible for boosting mood, endurance and tolerance, helping to keep my workout on target.

Music may reach people with memory loss and depression in a way words cannot

I have watched this happen several times. A lady that I knew was advancing into dementia and her family and friends often had difficulty getting through to her. But then her husband played a favorite song that they both loved. Her face lit up and she sat and sang the whole song. She also talked about where they had danced to the music. Researchers suggest this use of music helps patients reconnect with their past because the part of the brain that processes music is next to the area that handles memory.

I have also seen this connection in people enduring the double handicap of age and depression. One man in his 90's was quite depressed as his vision faded, and his ability to get around became more limited. But when he heard the fiddle music of his youth a smile would shine through and his foot would begin to tap. Music reached him and brightened the moment when nothing else did.

Think about what music can do for you and your family

The research on music’s health powers is continuing and, in my opinion, it is well worth exploring. Think about what music does for your day, or how it can weave the best mood at home for your family. Then keep thinking of all the other possibilities.

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