Music is all around us. People have music for nearly every occasion. We have music we listen to when we are sad, we have music we listen to when we want to relax, and even music when we want to celebrate or inspire. The effects of music on our psyches can be seen all around us. However, did you know that the effects of music are much farther reaching? Music is now making a strong influence in health care. Doctors are taking note of the powerful effects of music and are starting to incorporate it into various types of therapy and treatment options for their patients.
Psychologists, medical doctors and clinical scientists have been researching the effects of music on the brain, health and overall wellness for years. For as long as humans have existed, the impacts of music have been known to create a good mood and overall sense of well-being. Did you know, though, that music has been shown to reduce stress and calm nerves?
Doctors are finding that patients suffering from a variety of disorders, including epilepsy, tumors, severe depression and even Parkinson’s disease are able to experience better health outcomes after listening to music which reduces the stress of treatment. So why is this?
Scientists believe that music can actually help decrease pain, lower blood pressure and help patients recover more quickly. Most research has been linked to the brain’s outer cortex, which influences functions such as abstract thought, consciousness and our memory. Now, researchers are moving their studies into the inner parts of the brain—analyzing how music can impact our deepest brain centers that are responsible for the control of movement and bodily functioning.
Listening to very melodic tunes has been known to decrease activity within individual neurons within the brain. This is why extremely melodic music is typically found in places of deep relaxation and often in doctor’s offices where the stress of the patient needs to be reduced.
In addition to relaxation, music can help alter a person’s mood. For instance, those with depression may want to listen to more upbeat music, as it has shown signs of helping lift mood and lessen the symptoms associated with depression. Have you ever found yourself down until you hear your favorite upbeat song on the radio? This effect has been studied countless times by researchers which is why music therapy for those with severe depression is becoming more and more common.
How about using music to boost your energy levels? There is a reason that people fill their iPods and other mp3 players with upbeat, fast music to enjoy during the workouts. This time of music—where the beat is very predictable and rapid—helps alter the brain and stimulate the body into a state more conducive to physical activity.
Although music alone won’t cure you of your ailments, you may want to think about how music can influence your mood and help improve your well-being each day. Next time you head out for a jog, for example, you may want to consider creating a playlist to fit your mood. Or, the next time you are sad or down in the dumps, consider playing an upbeat tune. Use music to help you relax each day.
The effects of stress on the body are profound so try to use music to help you unwind each day. Listen to soothing, melodic melodies next time you find yourself overwhelmed. You may be surprised at how well it works. Take deep breaths and listen to soothing jazz. Think about arranging your playlists to anticipate the various moods you may find yourself in. Are you interested in learning more about the effects of music on our health by pursing an online psychology degree?