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Improve Your Health With Music

By Paul Rothbart

Life has its essentials such as food, water, and shelter. You also need a source of income. Then there are the things that may not seem essential but can enhance quality of life and even boost health. This would include the arts. Entertainment can improve mood and mental health, which can also aid physical health. Perhaps the most enjoyable of art forms, music is ubiquitous. People listen at home, at work, and in their cars while in transit. It seems that everyone's life has a soundtrack based on personal preference. Music is far more than a pleasant distraction or enjoyable background sound. Science has found that music is quite beneficial to your health.

The Effect of Music on Stress

Stress is omnipresent and left unchecked, it can be very harmful to physical as well as mental health. Although eliminating stress completely from your life is not realistic, it can be managed. Music has been shown to help alleviate stress, even in people recovering from illness or injury. 40 cataract patients with an average age of 74 were part of a study conducted in New York. All of them went through the normal procedures of care before, during, and after surgery. Half of the patients were given headphones through which to listen to their preferred music during each part of the treatment. Pre-surgery, all participants showed similar blood pressure rates. But during the recovery phase, the group that listened to music demonstrated significantly lower blood pressure and lower levels of stress. 

The Effect of Music on Physical Performance of the Brain

Music is produced with waves, just as with any other type of sound. The waves are focused by the outer ear, then converted to signals and sent to the brain. MRI studies have located areas of the brain that process music. There are several areas in the right temporal lobe that perceive pitch, harmony, and timbre. Rhythm is processed in the cerebellum and the frontal lobes are the reward center that brings the joy that comes from listening to music. A properly functioning brain is able to perform all of these tasks, but research has found that in people who consistently listen to music, the brain functions better.

The Effect of Music on Cognitive Function

It is common for musicians to have excellent math abilities. Studies conducted at the University of California, Irvine discovered what is known as the "Mozart Effect." Student participants were divided into three groups. They were administered IQ tests after a 10-minute wait. One group waited in silence while a second listened to a relaxation tape, and the third to a Mozart piano sonata. The music group consistently posted higher scores. Researchers speculate that music is like exercise to the brain, improving the firing of neurons and increasing processing speed.

There are very few people who don't like music. That's a very good thing. Music can be uplifting and entertaining and also can improve mood, cognitive function, and reduce stress. All of this adds up to better health. So listen to your favorite genre every day and reap the benefits.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Amarillo, Tex.

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